25 October 2005

Restoration of Chagall Peace Window Marks 60th Anniversary of United Nations, Centenary of Birth of Dag Hammarskjöld

Remarks by Deputy Secretary-General at Dedication Ceremony

NEW YORK, 24 October (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of remarks this evening by Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette at Headquarters on the occasion of the dedication ceremony of the Chagall Peace Window:

This dedication ceremony today commemorating the restoration of the Chagall Peace Window, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Maecenas World Patrimony Foundation, comes at an important time in the history of the United Nations.  We are commemorating both the United Nations' sixtieth anniversary today and also marking the centenary of the birth of Dag Hammarskjöld, whose memory is immortalized in this stained glass window before us.

Dag Hammarskjöld's career and untimely death symbolize the essence of the highest qualities an international civil servant can possess:  dedication to peace, commitment to mediation, and willingness to jeopardize one's own safety for the greater good.  Despite his many professional demands, he lived life in a tranquil manner that expressed his love of culture and of meditation.

How fitting, therefore, that the UN Staff and the artist Marc Chagall honoured Dag Hammarskjöld's memory by dedicating this Peace Window on the third anniversary of his death.  A Russian-born French painter with a career that spanned many continents, Chagall created art that represented the joining together of cultures in peace, love and harmony.  The predominant colour of the window is blue, as Chagall felt that this shade would inspire meditation.

Its placement next to the entrance of the Meditation Room, which had been envisioned and created by Dag Hammarskjöld, enhances this connection.

In the upper right corner are shown defenders of peace and martyrs who died in the cause of peace.  As one of Dag Hammarskjöld's favourite works of music was Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Chagall also incorporated a few notes from its last movement into the window.

We are standing here because of the vision of the Maecenas World Patrimony Foundation, an organization created for the express purpose of conserving and refurbishing the various works of art which Member States have donated to the United Nations offices around the world.

We are grateful for the commitment of the Maecenas World Patrimony Foundation to the cause of restoring the United Nations' precious artwork and look forward to a fruitful relationship with them in the future.

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