The United Nations celebrated its 70th anniversary this past week on October 24, 2015. Celebrations took place around the world, from the Great Pyramids in Egypt, to the Great Wall of China, to New York City’s Central Park. The event in Central Park featured a new art installation named “Enlightened Universe.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, joined by other senior UN officials, unveiled the art piece created by Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón.
The interactive sculpture features a large sphere surrounded by 70 metal human figures – each representing one year of the UN’s history. The sphere in the middle has a diameter of 6,371 millimeters, representing the Earth, which has an average radius of 6,371 kilometers. The colorful, diverse figures are all holding hands in solidarity, which Ban Ki-moon described as depicting a more inclusive world – “a world where we have shared values and a shared responsibility to protect our planet.” Gabarrón’s artwork certainly achieves its goal of depicting significant human values defended by the UN, including solidarity, equality, shared responsibility, and culture. In the words of Ban Ki-moon, the masterpiece “depicts the great hope that all of us have invested in the UN”.
The crowd was small but intimate (about 40 people in attendance), and hearing the Secretary General, President of the General Assembly, President of the Security Council, and President of the Economic and Social Council speak just 10 feet from me made me feel honored to be working with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at such an important and impactful organization. And I even got to take home a piece of the commemorative “UN blue” ribbon!
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