» UNESCO’s #Unite4Heritage Campaign is a permanent exhibit at UN Headquarters
29.06.2017 - ODG

UNESCO’s #Unite4Heritage Campaign is a permanent exhibit at UN Headquarters

© MillennumArt/Joel Sheakoski

From 28 June, the almost two million visitors that will have come through the UN Headquarters in the next two years will have the chance to experience and interact with UNESCO’s #Unite4Heritage campaign and gain exposure to the Organization’s major areas of work. On this day, UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova and partners Salon Films of Hong Kong and MillenniumArt of San Francisco inaugurated an interactive information booth at the Visitors’ Centre of the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

In the short ceremony to unveil the installation, the Director-General emphasized the importance of communicating UNESCO’s strong message. “This is about building peace in young minds, in protecting our cultural heritage, in advancing education, creativity and scientific innovation.” She described the #Unite4Heritage campaign as “a response to extremists, to empower young people with skills and understanding of why identities and heritage matter. At the end of the day, this is about values, about human rights and dignity.”

Mr Maher Nasser, Acting UN Under Secretary-General for Public Information underscored that the UN receives 1 million visitors every year, of which about 250,000 take the UN tours – roughly 900 to 1,000 people a day. From now on, each UN tour guide will direct visitors to the UNESCO Information booth at the end of their tour. Mr Nasser emphasized the importance of exposing people to the way UNESCO works on the so-called “soft areas” of the UN work, drawing a parallel with the “hard” ones of peace and security dealt with by the UN Security Council.  “Culture and education is what gives us our identities,” he stated, this is the way to “‘build peace in the minds of men and women.’”

Dr Helen Chan, representing Salon Films, a long-time UNESCO partner that sponsored the installation of the booth, highlighted how partnerships with the private sector can enable successful collaborations such as this one. After presenting how the information kiosks work, Ms Mia Hanak, Executive Director of MillenniumArt, who conceptualized and executed the booth, guided participants in using it.

The booth is composed of two kiosks: a video kiosk screens videos and infographics about UNESCO’s major areas of activities and programs, and a photo kiosk that promotes UNESCO’s #Unite4Heritage campaign. The photo kiosk allows users to take photographs superimposed onto World Heritage Sites as backgrounds, which are sent to the user’s email for further sharing on social media.

The event was attended by a number of UN Ambassadors, NGO and civil society representatives, as well as media, UN staff and visitors. All had the chance to discover and use this interactive addition to the UN Headquarters’ experience.

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