The United Nations welcomed more than 9,000 people to the Open Day event in Geneva on Saturday, 15 September. Visitors strolled through the sun-filled grounds of Ariana Park and the Palais des Nations to enjoy concerts, films, exhibits, children’s activities, and stands sponsored by United Nations organizations and countries’ Permanent Missions to Geneva.
The event attracted several high profile guests and panel speakers from ambassadors and heads of United Nations agencies and organizations to notable writers and politicians. The event was hosted by United Nations Office at Geneva’s Director-General Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The Swiss Permanent Representative to the United Nations at Geneva, Dante Martinelli, and Swiss State Councillor Pierre Maudet were speakers at the event. Former Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister and former President of the Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey and Brazilian author Paulo Coelho were interviewed live at the event for the TV show “Pardonnez-moi” with Swiss television anchor Darius Rochebin.
Many visitors stopped by the UN Human Rights Office at the Office’s stand where they had the chance to meet staff members and to pick up posters, leaflets, and general information about human rights and the work of the Office. They lined up to make a wish for human rights, based on the articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by expressing their personal wishes on oversized boards that were displayed at the stand.
The Office organized a puppet show on human rights and disabilities and presented a selection of videos produced by the Office in the Open Day cinema room as well as a computer game (in Spanish) on human rights.
For those visiting the United Nations in Geneva for the first time, it was a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse inside the Palais des Nations and take in the view of Lake Geneva and the UN grounds. Young families took part in several interactive activities such as arts and crafts and live performances. Photography exhibits and musical performances to entice people of all ages were also made available.
19 September 2012