UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being. 24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948.
To mark this year’s United Nations Day, UNIC Canberra, with the support of the ACT Government, held a flag raising ceremony in Canberra’s Albert Hall. The celebration focused on the theme of Small Island Developing States in the lead up to the 2014 International Year, with a focus on the small islands of the Pacific region.
The Director delivered the Secretary-General’s message at the event, which also included speeches by the ACT Deputy Chief Minister, and the High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea. The event concluded with the raising of the UN flag by a ceremonial flag party comprising representatives of the Australian Federal Police. The event also featured cultural performances by groups representing the Pacific Island community. The event was attended by over 150 representatives of government, the diplomatic corps, NGOs, business and civil society, as well as over 75 students and teachers from local primary and secondary schools.
Throughout the day, almost 100 UN flags were flying proudly throughout Canberra city.
Federal institutions also joined the UN Day celebration by lighting their buildings up in blue throughout the week. Among these were the National Library, the National Film and Sound Archive, the Museum of Australian Democracy and the National Science and Technology Centre (Questacon). In addition, numerous diplomatic missions lit up in blue to join in on the celebrations for the United Nations’ birthday.