UN Wants to Wash the World Blue for Its Birthday

No lengthy speeches, no tedious sessions but concerts, art displays and buildings around the world are to light up in UN blue from New Zealand to New York on Saturday, October 24.

The worldwide spectacular, unusual for the United Nations, includes 200 iconic monuments, buildings, landscapes, and museums. The first event is a concert sponsored by South Korea at UN headquarters on Friday evening when UN headquarters will start the blue wash for its 70th anniversary.

Among the blue-colored sites are: Australia's Sydney Opera House to the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, from the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro to the Empire State Building in New York. And South Africa's Table Mountain, Russia's Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, Edinburgh Castle and Westminster Hall in the Britain, Japan's Sky Tree Tower, Baalbek in Lebanon and the Alhambra in Spain, among many others. (See a full list covering all continents.)

Cristina Gallach, the undersecretary-general for the Department of Public Information, said she had distributed a short film to cinemas around New York with residents saying "The UN is New York" and "New York is the UN."

Central Park's Rumsey Playfield is the venue for a sculpture (see below) by Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón in honor of the occasion, entitled Enlightened Universe with 70 life-sized figures representing 70 years of the organization. They are designed to join global citizens in solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and shared responsibility.

The self-promotion by the United Nations, despite its many snags in keeping the peace, began in earnest with the global development goals in early September. Here too, beginning with a visit by Pope Francis, there was so much hoopla at the United Nations and around New York that even the Clinton Global Initiative received less coverage.