Tuesday, August 13, 2013

United Nations Tour, Switzerland

The United Nations was established to maintain international peace and to promote cooperation in solving economic, social and humanitarian problems.  It was formed in 1945, after WWII, to replace the League of Nations.

When it was founded there were 51 member countries.  Now there are 193.

The UN has six official languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese.

The UN Headquarters is in New York City.  The second largest office is in Geneva, followed by Nairobi and Vienna.

While the NYC office is home to the General Assembly and the Security Council, the Geneva office focuses more on diplomatic affairs.

It was really interesting to be able to check out the three main conference rooms.

In 2008, Spain commissioned Miquel Barceló to redo the 16,000 square foot ceiling in one of the Palace of Nations' conference rooms.  The multicolored stalactites are really pretty.  However, the timing probably wasn't the best.  The ceiling cost $23 million; right before the global financial crisis.  Ouch!

Geneva is also home to several UN agencies including the International Labor Organization, International Telecommunication Union, World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Meteorological Organization.

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