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College Quarterly
Spring 1995 - Volume 2 Number 3
The Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations
by Mireille Hutchison

The United Nations means different things to different people. The UN means global peace,disaster relief, environmental protection, disarmament, helping those in need, social and economic development, democracy, cultural development, education, human rights.

As the United Nations celebrates its 50th Anniversary, Canadians have a right to feel proud of the role their country has played on the international scene.

The 50th Anniversary offers an opportunity to recognize the genuine achievements of the United Nations over the past 50 years, but, more importantly, it provides a chance for reforming the UN and for obtaining the international support necessary to help the organization address a host of global and regional challenges as we approach the third millennium. This, in essence, is the reason for the formation of the Canadian Committee for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations. From this foundation, the specific goals of the Anniversary in Canada are to:

  • offer substantive input from Canada into the process of reform of the United Nations;
  • develop public awareness of, and support for, Canadian positions on issues such as peacekeeping, human rights and the environment at the UN;
  • provide education and information about the United Nations and its related organizations to Canadians;
  • profile the work of the United Nations and its importance to Canada and Canadians;
  • support educational projects on the UN through donations and revenues generated through UN/50 events.

Five basic program areas have been formalized by the creation of Satellite Committees, one of which, namely “Education and Public Awareness,” may be of special interest to college educators. In this context, we would like to share with you some ideas for activities and events which may be pertinent.

The Committee is inviting Canadians to participate in the current debate on UN reform, and to voice their concerns and opinions. The Canadian Committee for the 50th Anniversary has developed 52 recommendations for the direction the UN may wish to take in the future. One of the major recommendations is to expand the permanent membership of the UN Security Council to include developing nations, to better reflect the global reality.

Particular suggestions you may wish to consider include:

  • hold an educational event around the role of the UN in the international youth area;
  • work with your local United Nations Association to create a model UN assembly;
  • organize an essay contest on the UN;
  • identify and honour Canadians in your college or your community who have contributed to the UN;
  • distribute printed material on UN/50 to your students
  • invite guest speakers to appear at your college, especially on October 24, UN Day.

You can register your project with the national UN/50 Committee so that you can appear in the National Calendar of UN/50 events and you can use the UN/50 logo. We can also provide you with a list of key events for the United Nations' 50th Anniversary in Canada for 1995 so you can decide if any one of those dates is suitable for your participation. These are some of the ideas being implemented by other groups. We hope to hear about your activities and events for UN/50 and we would certainly love to discuss them with you.

For further information you can contact your Public Library or phone 1-800-406-UN50 to discuss ideas and to purchase promotional materials to support your UN/50 project.

Mireille Hutchison is a consultant in international development, currently working with the Canadian Committee for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations in Ottawa, Ontario.