For information only - not an official document.
19 December 2000

UN Posters Depict Timeless Values, Common Desire to Make World Better Place, Says Secretary-General, at Opening of Headquarters Exhibition

Following are the remarks of Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the opening of the exhibition "For a Better World: Posters from the United Nations", in New York on 18 December:

What a wonderful and fascinating exhibition! I walked through it on my way here. From peacekeeping to human rights and efforts to combat racism and intolerance, from disarmament to sustainable development and concerns for the environment, this collection of posters produced by the United Nations highlights all the most important undertakings for the Organization over the last half-century.

And it does so in a very engaging and eye-catching way. Over the years, artists and designers -- some of them very well known -- have lent their talent to the campaigns launched by the United Nations to raise awareness about causes that we all share.

What is fascinating about most of these posters is that they address issues and global concerns in a universal way, in universal terms -- terms that are intelligible to all people, whatever their culture or their language. Whether recent or half a century old, they depict ideas and values that are timeless, and convey a common desire, cutting across all borders, to make our world a better place.

Posters usually have a very short life in the public eye. Once the event or milestone they commemorate has passed, they are often discarded. But that ephemeral character enhances their value as a testimony of a particular moment in time. Besides, many are works of art in their own right, which the passage of time helps us to better appreciate. So I am delighted that a representative selection of the best posters produced by the United Nations system has been preserved, and is now shown to the public.

We all owe a big thank you to the organizers -- the Department of Public Information, the United States Fund for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), David Rockefeller and Mrs. Nelson Rockefeller, who unfortunately is not here with us this afternoon, and to Ed Marks, Ambassador Reed, and the United Nations Association of New York -- for making this exhibition such a success, and for bringing us all here.

Thank you to all of you, and thank you David for being with us.

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