24 October 2005
60th Anniversary of the United Nations and UN Day Commemorated in Vienna
VIENNA, 24 October (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations in Vienna today commemorated United Nations Day, observed annually on 24 October, in an event held at the Vienna International Centre (VIC).
Organized by the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, the event brought together UN staff members, Austrian officials, diplomats, representatives of the Austrian military, members of civil society and the media.
In her opening address, Nasra Hassan, Director UNIS Vienna, pointed out that this year, UN Day had a special significance, as 2005 marks the 60th anniversary of the United Nations, and the host country Austria celebrates 50 years of its membership of the United Nations.
The programme began with the screening of a 20-minute excerpt of En Route to Baghdad, a documentary on Sergio Vieira de Mello, the late Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Iraq, who was among the 22 UN staff members killed in a terrorist attack on the UN in Baghdad in 2003. In his remarks, Ambassador Celso Marcos Vieira de Souza, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations (Vienna) referred to the document "60 Ways the UN Makes a Difference", released by the Department of Public Information to mark the 60th anniversary of the United Nations. He said the accomplishments highlighted in the document served not only as a testimony of the past achievements of the UN, but also serve as an inspiration to the Organization's future undertakings.
The film was also screened earlier this year at the Dag Hammarskjöld library at the UN headquarters in New York. In his message to that event, Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised Mr. Vieira de Mello's diplomatic skills, his courage and compassion - characteristics, he said, were needed now more than ever in today's international community.
The director of the documentary, Brazilian journalist Simone Duarte, has been awarded the UN Correspondents Association silver medal for reporting humanitarian and development affairs. Before becoming an independent director, Ms. Duarte was the News Bureau Chief for Brazilian TV Globo's desk in New York.
The screening was followed by a book launch of Peacekeeping Forces Today and Tomorrow, a publication based on the proceedings of the Blue Helmet Forum Austria 2005, which met earlier this year in Reichenau, Austria. General Guenther G. Greindl, President, Austrian Blue Helmet Association, presented the book, stating that the need for cooperation between civilians and the military was now more intense than ever. The event had brought together senior individuals from the field of peacekeeping and high-ranking officials from the Austrian Ministry of Defence to discuss peace support operations. The book is an interesting aggregation of their views. Since 1960, more than 56,000 Austrians have taken part in international peace and humanitarian operations. This number includes 54,000 soldiers, 1,600 police officers and more than 500 civilians. The editor of the book, Colonel Alfred C. Lugert, was also present at the commemoration ceremony.
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