Press Releases

    20 December 2004

    UN Receives 2004 International Documentary Association Award for Extensive Media Archives

    NEW YORK, 17 December (UN Headquarters) -- The United Nations Department of Public Information/News and Media Division has received the 2004 International Documentary Association’s (IDA’s) Preservation & Scholarship Award, for its extensive archives, which include hundreds of hours of Security Council, General Assembly and other meetings, as well as news footage documenting the 59-year history of the Organization and its initiatives.

    The prestigious award -- the highest honour bestowed by the IDA -- is presented annually to an individual or organization that has made unique and important contributions to preserving significant documentaries as a heritage for future generations, or for educating the public and industry about the role non-fiction filmmaking plays in society.

    “This award comes to us at a critical and challenging time in the Organization’s history”, said Ahmad Fawzi, the Director of the Department of Public Information’s News and Media Division, accepting the award at a ceremony on Friday in Los Angeles, California.

    “As we approach our sixtieth birthday, we are grappling with questions about the relevance and effectiveness of the international system we all created, questions of when to go to war and how to build peace, questions of collective security while we continue our humanitarian mission of fighting hunger, poverty, disease and environmental degradation”, he said.

    In part, the citation, by Rick Utley, Vice-President of PRO-TEK, Media Preservation Services, reads:  “Since it was founded in 1945, the United Nations has made a unique contribution to documenting and preserving the stories of our times on both still and moving images.  Those images have informed countless millions of people around the world.  The UN has also preserved those images, and the stories they tell as a resource for news organizations and filmmakers... and for posterity”.

    Mr. Fawzi paid tribute to all those who had catalogued and secured footage and sound elements covering the United Nations’ work at Headquarters and overseas.  “They have carefully preserved this material and maintained its accessibility under somewhat constrained physical and financial circumstances”, he said.

    The News and Media Division chief also pledged that the United Nations “will persevere in preserving and documenting the past, present and future of this global organization that is truly relevant to our time”.

    Hundreds of hours of footage shot by United Nations producers have been transferred to a digital format for preservation, and to off-site storage as a security measure.

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