A Publication of The League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham
Published October 2006
Celebrating the 61st Anniversary of the United Nations
Later this month, a local group will gather to celebrate the good works of the United Nations. The United Nations Association of the USA, Greater Birmingham Chapter, is the primary sponsor of the event, the “UN Day Dinner”, which will be held on October 24, 6 p.m., at The Club. The League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham is one of the co-sponsors.
The United Nations was founded 61 years ago when representatives of 51 nations gathered in San Francisco to draw up the UN Charter. It was a time of high hope as the world’s worst war was ending. The U.S. was represented by seven officials, including Dr. Virginia C. Gildersleeve. Dr. Gildersleeve, president of Bernard College and a well known supporter of world peace, was the only woman representative.
Representatives from many non-governmental organizations were also on hand to provide input, including those from the League of Women Voters. The League had been involved in a post card writing campaign supporting formation of the UN in months leading up to this conference. The UN Charter was signed by 51 nations at the San Francisco Civic Opera House on June 26, 1945. The official designated founding date was October 24, 1945.
Today the UN has 192 member countries and two headquarters – one in New York City and the other in Geneva, Switzerland. The 18-acre New York site was secured in 1946 with an $8.5 million donation from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
The UN boasts many accomplishments through its agencies, from feeding the hungry through the World Food Program to helping poor children through UNICEF. Other ongoing UN initiatives include involvement in health issues, refugee problems, environmental concerns and monitoring nuclear weapons treaties. The UN also monitors governmental elections of newly formed nations.
Member nations bankroll operating expenses and the organization’s peace keeping missions. Dues are based on each country’s Gross National Product (GNP). As the member nation with the largest GNP, the United States is the largest contributor to the UN’s budget.
Throughout its history, the United States has been a key player in helping the UN accomplish its goals and fulfill missions. While the U.S. has not always been willing to give this leadership, many specialists in international affairs believe that the U.S. needs the UN as much as the UN needs the U.S.
To learn more about the UN’s accomplishments and goals, plan to attend this important celebration on October 24th. You’ll not only be representing yourself, but also the LWVGB. Reserve your place today.
-- Dot Baker
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call 205 583-5000 or visit on-line at www.bham.net/lwvgb