This year the United Nations turns 70 : happy birthday to the UN! So they organised an open day (une journée portes ouvertes) at the Palais des Nations to celebrate on the 24th October. There were lots of exhibitions and tours and shows and things. So, I couldn’t miss out on the chance to go and see what was on!
Now, I’m assuming you know about the UN, but a bit of history just in case – the UN was officially created on 24th October 1945. This was after WWII, and after the League of Nations had failed. The Palais des Nations itself was actually built in 1936 for the League of Nations, and it was given to the UN in 1946 to be their HQ in Geneva. Today, it houses the United Nations Office (source).
For the UN Open Day, they quite literally a ouvert les portes (opened the doors). They opened up all the buildings to the public and you could have a look at them and take tours.
They also had quite a few shows on during the day, which were mostly music-themed. I actually met up with a couple of friends and we went to see the ballet! It’s been too long since I’ve been to see the ballet – it made me think of my childhood and my ballet lessons… I digress. But the ballet was awesome! It was the Geneva Grand Théâtre Ballet, and they did the show which they’re currently touring with. It was modern ballet, and it was really impressive – the acrobatics, the aerial tricks, the dancers’ grace… And it was even in the Salle des Assemblés, which people don’t get to see most of the time!
Like I said earlier, there were lots of exhibitions on too. There was a big one with stands and representatives from most (not all, unfortunately) of the UN’s member states. I had a look around that one, and then two art exhibitions that were called ‘Camp Art – couleurs pour la planète’ (colours for the planet) and ‘Art China’.
And finally, the ONU commissioned a piece of art to celebrate the occasion, which turned out to be a sculpture called ‘Rebirth’ by Michelangelo Pistoletto. The sculpture was made up of 193 stones which represented all of the member states of the UN. So they officially unveiled it on the open day and even better – you could climb on the stones and sit on them! I’m still a child really…
But that was my day at the UN. It was really fun and really interesting. And now I have my first sticker on my cello case!