United Nations Day 24 October

Photo by Jason Leung

“The United Nations is like a spade; it is not self-operating. It is what we make of it, for purposes that we can find in common with our neighbours in the world.”

Adlai Stevenson.

The United Nations was created in the time of the second World War and built on the success and failures of the League of Nations that was formed following the Treaty of Versailles.

Australia was one of the 51 founding members of the United Nations in 1945. Dr. HV Evatt was elected the third President of the General Assembly in 1948, the only Australian to have held the position. The UN has many functions and roles in our world today. The UN homepage (https://www.un.org) has a wealth of information and carries the proud history of nations working together.

You might ask what has the UN ever done for us?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child are key documents of the UN. Media reports often show the ‘Blue Hats’ of UN peacekeepers. The Anzac Portal (https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au) has a summary of Australia’s peace operations including defence personal, police and civilians in UN mission and multinational peace operations. The four pillars of the UN are: Peace and Security, Human Rights, Rule of Law, and Development.

The UN Day School Program (https://www.unaansw.org.au/un-day-schools-program/) was launched in 2021. It is easy to find a way for your school, or yourself to celebrate UN Day. The Australian Curriculum includes the history and work of the UN across Learning Areas. Australia is currently the 11th largest contributor to the UN.

The Australian Mission to the UN is in New York (https://unny.mission.gov.au). You can access the latest news and statements from our representatives to the UN from this site.

Both the League of Nations, and the United Nations were founded after the horror of two World Wars. While war, territorial and trade disputes consume media reporting, the work of the UN often takes place in regions and countries with greater and more complex need.

So often we get lost in the worries of life in our workplace, home, and community. The adage ‘Think Global, act local’ is gently used and too often misplaced when it comes the United Nations.

The United Nations is so much more than we see on TV.

Have you ever thought about celebrating United Nations Day?