The Secretary-General Remarks at United Nations Day Concert

Happy United Nations Day to you all!

Today, we celebrate the 74th anniversary of our unique Organization and its founding document, the United Nations Charter.

General Assembly Hall, Thursday, 24 October 2019  

Excellencies, colleagues, distinguished guests, friends of the United Nations, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Happy United Nations Day to you all!

Today, we celebrate the 74th anniversary of our unique Organization and its founding document, the United Nations Charter. 

I thank the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar for bringing to United Nations its national orchestra and the wonderful women and men who will perform for us today.

This Concert is a traditional highlight of United Nations Day. It is an opportunity to remind ourselves, through music and art, of our shared humanity and the values we hold in common.

At a time when inequality, discrimination and dehumanization are growing around the world, celebrating our diversity and recognizing how much we share with our fellow women and men is more important than ever.

The theme of today’s concert, “Building Prosperity for All through Culture, Education, Gender Equality, Sports and Sustainability,” reminds us that we have little more than a decade ahead of us to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

In this hall last month, I warned world leaders that we are off track to achieve the SDGs by 2030, and urged stronger, more ambitious action.

Gender equality is an important goal in itself, but it is also a catalyst to achieve all the goals. The meaningful participation of women makes peace agreements stronger and development programmes more effective – but we still see structural discrimination everywhere, including in the arts.

Representation matters, so I am delighted to see that women are leading today’s performance.

The composer of today’s music, Dana Al Fardan, the pianist Hala Al-Emadi, the vocalist Aisha and the conductor Eímear Noone are pioneers and role models.

I am always fascinated by art and culture that crosses barriers to bring people together. That is surely one of the highest achievements of any artist. I look forward very much to this afternoon’s programme. 

Before we appreciate the music, I would like to thank Her Excellency, Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of Qatar, the players of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and all involved in today’s concert and the very important participation of the Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs.  

Finally, today we are also looking ahead to next year, when we will celebrate our 75th anniversary. We will be holding a global dialogue about the United Nations of the future, aiming to stimulate discussion from classrooms to boardrooms. I urge all of you to contribute.

Today and every day, let’s celebrate our United Nations and work together to realize our shared vision of peace, sustainable development, and human rights and dignity for all on a healthy planet.

Speech by
Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General
UN entities involved in this initiative
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization