September 21st is the International Day of Peace. It was declared as such by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, and has been a symbol of ongoing efforts to create true, lasting, world peace ever since.
Paris and I had the opportunity to help out with an event discussing the United Nations’ goal of “Peace and Sustainable Development” this past Friday. It was quite an experience – we both wound up tweeting a lot, which you can see here, and overall we enjoyed the experience.
While a lot of it was panel discussions, which aren’t exactly my photographic forte, the event was held in the Vienna International Center. It’s not super easy to get in there – the security is pretty tight, considering that it’s one of the UN’s three world headquarters. I figured I’d take advantage of being allowed in and snap a few pictures of the grounds.
Once you get out of the security building, you’re greeted with the sight of a fountain, surrounded by flags, and the buildings of the complex rising around it.
The event was held in Building C, the main entrance to most of the complex, in a room that made me feel really official – if you looked in the back, you could see the translator booths above the main level, and every seat had a little earphone thing that could be switched to whichever of the seven languages you’d like.1 Very fancy.
And, of course, the whole place was the sort of architecture I love – skybridges abound, and half the buildings were just suspended above the ground on massive pillars.
A key part of the event was the ringing of the Peace Bell by three WWII survivors – a Slovenian concentration camp survivor, a woman who, as a girl, lived through the Blitz of London, and the third, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
We all had the opportunity to ring the Peace Bell after they did, actually, which I couldn’t say no to. I mean, look at it:
We’ll end with what I’m referring to in my head as the “Action Shot” – Paris got this picture, and I find it oddly entertaining.
- Translation was only provided from Japanese and Slovenian to English, but the system was set up to allow for translation to all six of the UN languages, plus German. ↩