Be united, O concourse of the sovereigns of the world, for thereby will the tempest of discord be stilled amongst you and your peoples find rest. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 254.
Today, all around the world, landmark buildings, bridges, statues and monuments will magically turn blue. Those historic sites, lit up with blue lights, will remind us all that global citizens must unite for peace, development and the rights of all human beings.
Why? Because today is U.N. Day, when people everywhere will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations:
National flags are a mark of pride and patriotism in every country around the world. But there is only one flag that belongs to all of us.
That blue flag of the United Nations was a banner of hope for me growing up in wartime Korea.
Seven decades after its founding, the United Nations remains a beacon for all humanity.
Every day, the United Nations feeds the hungry and shelters those driven from their homes.
The United Nations vaccinates children who would otherwise die from preventable diseases.
The United Nations defends human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.
Our peacekeepers are on the frontlines of conflict; our mediators bring warriors to the peace table; our relief workers brave treacherous environments to deliver life-saving assistance.
The United Nations works for the entire human family of seven billion people, and cares for the earth, our one and only home.
And it is the diverse and talented staff of the United Nations who help bring the Charter to life.
The 70th anniversary is a moment to recognize their dedication – and to honour the many who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
The world faces many crises, and the limits of collective international action are painfully clear. Yet no single country or organization can address today’s challenges alone.
The timeless values of the UN Charter must remain our guide. Our shared duty is to “unite our strength” to serve “we the peoples”.
To mark this anniversary, monuments and buildings across the world are being illuminated in UN blue. As we shine a light on this milestone anniversary, let us reaffirm our commitment to a better and brighter future for all. – Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
Every year the U.N. and its member nations observe October 24th as United Nations Day around the world. This year, as the U.N. marks its seventh decade, Baha’is all over globe observe and celebrate the ongoing existence of the United Nations, and continue their work to further advance and realize its essential underlying purpose—world unity. The Baha’i teachings urge everyone to strive for the ultimate goal of a united world:
The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Baha’u’llah, implies the establishment of a world commonwealth in which all nations, races, creeds and classes are closely and permanently united, and in which the autonomy of its state members and the personal freedom and initiative of the individuals that compose them are definitely and completely safeguarded. – Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 203.
The blue that symbolizes the mission of the United Nations—on its flag, on the helmets of its peacekeepers and tonight, lighting up its iconic global headquarters in New York City—stands for the sky all of us share. It represents the great dome of the heavens, the “infinite blue canopy of God,” that surrounds our Earth and allows us all to gaze into the same atmosphere and breathe the same air:
The principles of the oneness of the world of humanity must be proclaimed, understood and put into practice, so that all the nations and religions may again remember the long-forgotten fact – that they are all the progeny of primordial humanity, Adam, and the denizens of one land. Are they not breathing one air? Is not the same sun shining upon all? Are they not the sheep of one flock? Is not God the universal shepherd? Is he not kind unto all?
Let us banish the phantasmal thoughts of east and west, north and south, European and American, English and German, Persian and French.
Consider the creation of the infinite universe. This globe of ours is one of the smallest planets. Those stupendous bodies revolving in yonder immeasurable space, the infinite blue canopy of God, are many times greater than our small earth. To our eyes this globe appears spacious; yet when we look upon it with divine eyes, it is reduced to the tiniest atom. This small planet is not worthy of division. Is it not one home, one native land? Is not all humanity one race? – Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 177.