Is it possible for 7.8 billion people to get along? If peace on earth seems unattainable, perhaps we should not strive for perfection. Instead, we should build practical solutions to the problems that keep us separated. United Nations Day shines a global light on those aspirations each October 24.
The date became official in 1947, two years after the UN brought 51 countries to the same table for its first Assembly. The goal then was to prevent the devastation that so many suffered through two world wars. Today, 193 member nations work together to fulfill that mission.
The organization’s purpose hasn’t changed, but it has evolved its tactics for conquering war with peace. Currently, more than 91 million people in 83 countries receive food and assistance through its World Food Program. Every year, the UN helps vaccinate 45% of the world’s children.
For more than 70 years, the organization has provided aid to people whose lives have been upended by conflict. The UN has committed avoidable mistakes and endured its share of fair criticism. For those who want to keep score, successes far outnumber failures. That’s something to remember as we salute its massive efforts.
Around the world, people from nations large and small join hands today. Some do it shoulder to shoulder. Others do it virtually. Events highlighting UN Day range from discussions on global sustainability at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters to concerts at the General Assembly Hall in New York.
The United Nations’ preamble lays out its mission: prevent future wars; reaffirm the rights of every individual; establish justice for all; and promote social progress that lifts standards of living worldwide.
By building on these concepts together, we may well attain the unattainable: peace on earth. Think about how that will shape future generations and their celebrations of United Nations Day.