More than 200 landmarks in 60 countries from the Pyramids in Egypt to the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Empire State Building in New York were lit up in blue — the official color of the United Nations — on Saturday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the world body.
The global celebration began in New Zealand and then at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. It moved across countries and continents to the Great Wall of China, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, Russia’s Hermitage Museum, the Alhambra in Spain and many other sites.
New Yorkers got a sneak preview of the celebration because U.N. headquarters was lit up in blue Friday night as well. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed hope that “by turning the world U.N. blue for a day, we can light a way to a better tomorrow.”
Oct. 24 is the anniversary of the entry into force of the U.N. Charter in 1945 and is celebrated as U.N. Day.
In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office for International Affairs announced the launch of NYC Junior Ambassadors to bring students closer to the United Nations. Ten groups of seventh graders will get access to the United Nations, including a visit to the U.N. headquarters and a classroom visit from a senior U.N. diplomat.
De Blasio called the U.N. “a blessing to New York City and an underutilized resource for New Yorkers.”
“New York has been our generous host,” Ban Ki-moon said, “and now it is our turn to invite New Yorkers into our meeting rooms and conference halls.”
To apply for the program, New York City teachers will be required to incorporate the United Nations in their classroom or afterschool curriculum. The application process opened Friday and closes on Nov. 25.