United Nations Malaysia Marks 63rd Anniversary with A Focus on Peace

Oct 24, 2008

24 October 2008, Kuala Lumpur – The United Nations Country Team joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia, the diplomatic missions, government agencies, academic institutions, civil society and the media in observing the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the organisation in an event which centred around the voices of young Malaysians carrying the message of peace and unity in Kuala Lumpur today.

As the UN Day was observed in over 190 counties around the world, a Peace Tree, carrying the pledges of Malaysians from all walks of life to make peace a priority and to uphold the universal values of peace, human rights, freedom and justice in their own capacities, was dedicated in the simple ceremony. Hundreds of people living in Malaysia sent in their personal expressions of peace to the UN leading up to the event, which will be displayed at the Wisma UN building for a year.

In his Welcome Address, Mr. Youssouf Oomar, Acting UN Resident Coordinator, said, “ For the past few weeks, we have heard the voices from all communities on what peace means to them. Today, we are sending a powerful and enduring message that peace remains a top priority for Malaysians, just as it remains the United Nations’ highest calling. ”

A key feature of the commemorative event was the opening performance by 15 year old singer/songwriter Jes Ebrahim Izaidin of the Tree Theatre Group, who take centre stage with his composition, titled, “Ke Mananya Pergi Keamanan?” In his song, the harrowing cries of youth are heard, urging world leaders to consider carefully the far reaching impacts of war and the chaos and destruction that it leaves in its wake.

Volunteering their efforts to this year’s event were the students by students from the Help University College with their poetry recital of the “Peace Poem.” Authored by primary and secondary school children from 38 participating countries, the poem imagines a world where peace survives not only because of the absence of war, but lives in the way people see and treat each other.

Also joining this year’s celebrations were the children from Pusat Jagaan Nur Salam, an activity center and 'safehouse' that provides a safe, healthy and loving environment for children from the Chow Kit area in Kuala Lumpur, who ended the day’s festivities by hanging their own Peace Pledges for a world free from violence and conflict to the Peace Tree.

“This year’s event has been made more significant because of the strong engagement of our youth. As leaders of tomorrow, young people have a responsibility to be active agents for change and to promote a culture of peace.

“This Day offers an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come in our efforts to give peace a more secure foundation,” Mr. Oomar said.

He added that over the last 63 years, the role of the UN had evolved beyond the realm of peacekeeping and conflict resolution, where the organisation and its agencies were now involved in a vast array of work to improve people’s lives and livelihoods in the developing world.

“24 October also allows us to focus the country’s attention on the crucial relationship between peace and development, which are inexorably linked,” he said.

In his video message screened at the event, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke of the role of the United Nations in advancing the international development agenda. 

“This is a crucial year in the life of our United Nations. We have just passed the midpoint in the struggle to reach the Millennium Development Goals -- our common vision for building a better world in the 21st century.

“We can see more clearly than ever that the threats of the 21st century spare no one.  Climate change, the spread of disease and deadly weapons, and the scourge of terrorism all cross borders.

‘Let us keep building on the success of the high-level MDG event in September as a way forward. There is no time to lose. On this UN Day, I call on all partners and leaders to do their part and keep the promise,” Mr. Ban said.

The UN was formally established on 24 October 1945 after a majority of its founding members ratified a treaty setting up the world body.  The anniversary of that event has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948.  It has traditionally been marked throughout the world by meetings, discussions and exhibits on the achievements and goals of the organisation.

The functions of the UN, as set forth in its Charter, are to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends.

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