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UN CHRONICLE E-ALERT: The United Nations at 60: Past and Present HA-7-11-05
This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations, which officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, also celebrated as UN Day, in the aftermath of a devastating war, to help stabilize international relations and solve international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems. The 60th anniversary was commemorated at UN Headquarters in New York with wreath laying for fallen colleagues and ringing of the Harmony Bell, as well as with appeals to rise to new challenges that lie ahead.                                                  

Please see the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the occasion of UN Day: Today, as we celebrate 60 years of our United Nations, we must recognize that the world today is very different from that of our founders. The United Nations must reflect this new age, and respond to its challenges -- including, first and foremost, the knowledge that hundreds of millions of people are left defenseless against hunger, disease and environmental degradation, even though the world has the means to rescue them.                
Below are related UN Chronicle articles and features on the UN Charter and the United Nations, as well as links to other relevant UN sites.            
THE UNITED NATIONS AT 60: PAST AND PRESENT                                  
From Seeds to System - The United Nations Charter By Lawrence S. Finkelstein (Issue 3, 2005) The Charter of the United Nations was adopted on 26 June 1945 during the United Nations Conference on International Organization, convened in San Francisco, and came into force on 24 October 1945 when enough ratifications had been received. War in
Europe ended halfway through the Conference.                                                
A United Nations-San Francisco Reunion for the New Millennium (Issue 3, 2005) By Mishana Hosseinioun.
Sixty years ago, the Charter of the United Nations was signed in
San Francisco, marking the birth of a fledgling international body. The United Nations has since left and moved to New York City, with offices around the world, leaving San Francisco with a plaza bearing the famed Organization’s initials to show the city’s instrumental role in its conception.                                                

An Opportunity to Reflect on the UN Charter (Issue 3, 2005) By Paritosh Srivastava. As stated in the UN Charter, it is “we the peoples” who start new ideas and new waves: the true test of the Charter’s success would be if we sow the seeds for the abolition of war and see its demise.                   
United Nations Milestones (Issue 3, 2005) A timeline of UN events.           
Nobel Peace Prize 2001 - United Nations and Kofi Annan  (Issue 3, 2003) By Nuchhi R. Currier. It was time to consider historical continuities, the ideals of the unity of mankind and the promotion of justice and humanity as envisaged by Alfred Nobel. The culmination of this scrutiny was the recognition of the United Nations and Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the Nobel Peace Laureates for the first year of the new century                     

From the Secretary-General: ‘How would Hammarskjöld have handled this?’ (Issue 4, 2001) The overriding purpose of this community was to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and to do this it had to follow certain key principles.These were: First, “equal political rights” - which encompassed both the “sovereign equality” of all Member States, in Article 2 of the Charter, and “respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”, in Article 1.Second, “equal economic opportunities” - spelt out in Article 55 as the promotion of “higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development”, as well as “solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems”. Third, “justice” - by which he meant that the international community must be “based on law ... with a judicial procedure through which law and justice could be made to apply”. And finally, the prohibition of the use of armed force, “save in the common interest”.                    
A Strong, Transnational Coalition:  Prevent Undemocratic Regimes From Acquiring Arms (Issue 2, 2000) By Oscar Arias Sánchez. The United Nations has done outstanding work promoting peace, democracy and development. It has been a tireless advocate for human rights, decolonization and international understanding.                                                    

Reinforcing a Humanitarian Mandate (Issue 2, 2000) By Agon Demjaha. There is an urgent need for UN reform. However, the expectations about such a reform need to be realistic, and one could say that UN reform should concentrate more on easing the political obstacles for collective action rather than in improving its existing mechanisms.          
Putting People First: A Fundamental Shift in Mindset and Paradigm (Issue 2, 2000) By Chris Landsberg. In the final analysis, the Secretary-General and the Secretariat should continue to try, as they have done so steadfastly, to unite the world around a new set of post-cold-war norms, values and principles: that of humanitarianism.                     

'Oblivious to Barbarism of the Most Horrific Sort' The Charter: Does It Fit? (Issue 2, 1999) By Michael J. Glennon. Year by year, it became more and more clear that the Charter contains a fundamental flaw: it is oblivious to barbarism of the most horrific sort, so long as that barbarism remains purely internal.                    
60th Anniversary of the United Nations (Main Website) Today as we celebrate sixty years or our United Nations, we must recognize that the world today is very different from that of our founders.  The United Nations must reflect this new age, and respond to its challenges                                            
60 Ways the United Nations Makes a Difference 
the United Nations is much more than a peacekeeper and forum for conflict resolution. Often without attracting attention, the United Nations and its family of agencies are engaged in a vast array of work that seeks to improve people’s lives around the world.                     
UN Day Events                               
UN Day Dedication Ceremony of Peace Window by Marc Chagall on UN Day  [ Archived Video - 44 minutes ]            
Sixty Years: A Pictorial History of the UN                

These stories and more can be found at UN Chronicle Online at  The UN Chronicle print edition is published by the United Nations Department of Public Information in English and French, and co-published in Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish. It is not an official record; the views expressed in individual articles do not necessarily imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.                                                                
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Please pass this UN Chronicle E-Alert on to anyone whom you think it might interest. For queries, call Belal Hassan at [212] 963-5115.