The French and German Mission to the United Nation jointly organized a special event in commemoration of 100th anniversary of the start of the seminal catastrophe of the 20th century – the World War One. Mr. Launsky-Tieffenthal, the master of ceremonies, brought the audience’s attention to the 25 member states that co-hosted the event. They span from five continents, which serves to remind the audience that the global effect that the World War I left to people around the world. The global nature of the conflict is also reflected by the letters and diaries of those in the war, which were read during the event. The letters read are not only letters of the soldiers of the belligerent nations in Europe, but also those of the Red Cross nurses and colonial expeditionary forces drafted into the conflict.
The Secretary-General commented that “the First World War was supposed to have been the war to end all wars”, yet “the battlefields of the Somme, Gallipoli, Passchendaele, Ypres and Verdun form just part of the human roll-call of carnage and unconscionable casualties etched into our collective memory”. He also said with regret that despite of the lessons learnt, military option is still chosen by some as a means to resolve problems. The Secretary-General also took the opportunity to remind the audience of the nature of the settlement followed by the war, and said that it is a particular apt time to reflect the way to ensure peace in the world as the UN steps into its 70th anniversary next years.
Three pieces of war-inspired music were played by the ORPHEUS Chamber Orchestra. The pieces, which are composed by Samuel Barber, Maurice Ravel, and Ludwig van Beethoven respectively, reflect the different moods of the grief of war and anxiety for peace and fraternity among all.
Meeting Title: Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Beginning of World War I
Speakers: H.E. Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Interns from the Permanent Missions of France and Germany; and an Intern from the Department of Public Information
Location: Economic and Social Chamber, United Nations Headquarters
Date: 8th July 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Harrison Chung
Edited By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan