Art, Books, Current Events, Travel

United Nations Day: 5 Books For You

United Nations Day is celebrated on October 24 every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

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Our UN Visit: A Quick Review

We visited the UN Headquarters in New York last summer, and came away feeling enriched, inspired, awed, and encouraged. We came away with a strong glimmer of hope for, well, united nations across the world. While there are facts and daily happenings that blast you in the face with all that is wrong with the world, as we walked through the halls of the UN, we also felt that we can right those wrongs, one step at a time. We just need to stand united in the efforts to do so.

The UN Tour Itself

If you are ever visiting New York (when things are back to normal), then I definitely recommend the UN tour. Note that the UN HQ is temporarily closed to the public and these regular tours are not offered at this time. However, they are offering virtual tours instead and you can check out the link for more details. It does sound interesting and the guides (as I mention later in the post) are truly knowledgeable.

The regular tour is a paid one hour long guided tour, and totally worth every second and every penny spent on it! You can take the tour in one of six languages (all six are official languages of the UN) and then are free to explore by yourselves.

Our guide was very knowledgeable and open to questions from us (and my DH and I certainly had many questions!) She gave us lots of interesting facts as well as information on each area we visited as part of the tour; including the General Assembly and Security Council Chamber, among others. And I know I have notes I have written down right after this tour somewhere. I will need to find that if I plan to write a more detailed post any day!

Other Points to Note

You should buy the tickets in advance of your trip and give yourself an hour before your selected time to complete all check in procedures, including security clearances across the street (and you need a valid photo ID as well). You can find all the details on the UN website.

The bookshop(which also has gift items, but all I saw was the books!) and the post-office are also worth a stop. I was thrilled to see books I had read and reviewed earlier here at the UN bookshop!

The artwork in the UN is beautiful too. I fell in love with the woodcuts by Brazilian artist Otavio Roth that depict the 30 rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These are part of the permanent exhibition at the UN. (One of the books below has those woodcuts included as the illustrations)

5 Facts About the United Nations

Here are 5 random facts about the UN (the organization itself as well as its headquarters)

  • The United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) is an international territory belonging to the 193 Member States of the UN.
  • One of the things the tour guide mentioned stayed with me. The annual peacekeeping budget for the UN is insignificant (less than 0.5%) compared to global military spending. This was truly saddening (and also slightly scary) to hear and read in this quote there,”The world is over armed and peace is underfunded.”
  • The longest speech ever given at the UN was by V.K. Krishna Menon and was almost eight hours long.
  • In addition to the HQ in New York, the UN also has three regional headquarters: in Geneva (Switzerland), in Vienna (Austria), and in Nairobi (Kenya).
  • The United Nations is the only non-state entity in the world entitled to issue its own postage. And the post-office in the UN was one of my favorite stops there.

5 Books About the UN

We Are All Born Free

We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures
Amnesty International (for 6 – 9 years; and up too)
This book celebrates each declaration of the UN Human Rights with an illustration by an internationally-renowned artist or illustrator.

Frieda Makes A Difference

Frieda Makes A Difference: The Sustainable Development Goals and How You Too Can Change the World
United Nations (6 – 8 years; and up too!)
This book illustrates how we can work together to make the world a better place, with the Sustainable Development Goals in mind.

The United Nations (How Do They Help?)

The United Nations (Community Connections: How Do They Help?)
Katie Marsico (7 – 9 years)
How do the various UN organizations help the communities they work with? This book answers the many ways that the UN helps communities around the world

The United Nations: A Very Short Introduction

The United Nations: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Jussi M. Hanhimäki
This book is part of the Oxford VSI Series and is exactly what it says – an introduction to the United Nations; and the very short is only when compared to bigger books. This has lots of information for anyone wanting to learn more about the UN in a, well, very short time!

The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations

The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations
Paul Kennedy
Excerpt from description: The Parliament of Man is the first definitive history of the United Nations, from one of America’s greatest living historians.Distinguished scholar Paul Kennedy, author of the bestselling The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, gives us a thorough and timely account that explains the UN’s roots and functions while also casting an objective eye on its effectiveness and its prospects for success in meeting the challenges that lie ahead

Also, check out this wonderful resource at the UN website for books to read about the SDGs.

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United Nations Day: 5 Books For You

And then the end of this post

Dear Reader: What are some facts about the UN that you found interesting – do share? Also, do you have any books you can recommend? The more the books, the better – your suggestions are always welcome!

17 thoughts on “United Nations Day: 5 Books For You

  1. These are interesting facts. Woah! I am not sure if I can listen to an eight-hour speech but now, I am curious about what she spoke about. Thank you for sharing this. Love your book suggestions. Will grab a copy or two.

  2. What a unique book list. Thank you for sharing these! It is nice to think about reading some books that have some very useful information. Great knowledge to have.

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