United Nations Day: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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US honorguards pass the United Nations flag during the 50th anniversary of the end of the Korean War at the border truce village of Panmunjom, 27 July 2003. (Getty)

October 24 marks UN Day, “the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter.” Each year, the organization hopes to communicate the achievements of the United Nations, and to outline goals for the UN moving forward.

Read on to learn more about the history of UN Day, and UN Day 2016.


1. UN Day Has Been Celebrated on October 24 Since 1948

United Nations Day 2016, United Nations Day 2017, United Nations Day of peace 2016, United Nations Day care new york, United Nations Day 2016 theme, what is united nations day, when did united nations start

Members of the General Assembly’s Legal Committee display the proposed flag for the United Nations. From left to right: Andrew Cordier, (Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General), Sir Hartley Shawcross, (United Kingdom), Faris Bey El-Khouri, (Syria), Dr Wahid Raafat, (Egypt), and Dr Ivan Kerno, (Assistant Secretary-General). (Getty)

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly declared October 24 as United Nations Day. Franklin D Roosevelt coined the term “United Nations”, which was first used in 1942 when 26 nations pledged to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers, according to The Quint.

Only 45 members comprised the UN when it was founded. Today, there are 193 members. The most recent country admitted to the United Nations was South Sudan in 2011. In 1971, the UN General Assembly voiced their recommendations that UN Day be “observed by Member States as a public holiday”.


2. The Theme of This Year’s Concert Is ‘Freedom First’

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed make a joint statement on the situation in Syria at Lancaster House on October 16, 2016 in London, England. (Getty)

In honor of UN Day and its pursuit of sustainable development goals, a UN Day Concert will be held at the United Nations General Assembly Hall. The UN website reads, “A concert to celebrate and reflect on the work of the UN through the universal language of music, featuring Korean Traditional Music Orchestra, Lang Lang, world famous Harlem Gospel Choir, the Hungarian State Opera with performances by soprano Andrea Rost and other notable artists. The theme of this year’s concert is ‘Freedom First.'”


3. This Year the UN Is Committed to Carrying out the Promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

United Nations Week runs from October 20-October 26.

On Sunday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued the following statement: “This year’s observance of United Nations Day occurs at a time of transition for the world and for the United Nations. Humanity has entered the era of sustainability — with a global commitment to fulfill the great promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Under the agenda are 17 goals that will “propel us towards a better future for all on a healthy planet.” Click here to learn the details of the Sustainable Development agenda.


4. Various Countries Are Honoring the Day With Local Celebrations

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(Getty)

A number of cities are choosing to honor UN Day with their own local celebrations. The UN Association of Santa Barbara, for example, will be hosting a UN Day Celebration at 6:30pm on the 24th at the University Club in Santa Barbara.

In Iowa, John Lange, a former US ambassador to Botswana and the current head of health diplomacy at the UN Foundation, will be speaking to students about Global Health and Sustainable Development in Ames, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Iowa City.


5. The UN Recently Released a Stamp Honoring Carnatic Musician MS Subbulakshmi

On October 3, the UN released a special postage stamp honoring legendary Carnatic musician, MS Subbulakshmi. According to The News Minute, Subbulakshmi was the first Indian to perform at the UN when she was invited by Secretary General U Thant to the UN Day concert on October 23, 1966. During the concert, she sang a hymn in English. Subbulakshmi was also the first musician honored with the Bharat Ratna– Indian’s highest civilian honor.