New York: The United Nations

I actually had not planned to visit the United Nations on the first day. It was supposed to be one of the “B-List” places that I had written down. But I guess I lost my bearing around midtown Manhattan and somehow ended up walking in the east ward direction. Before I knew it, I see all kind of people of different nationalities all attired in suits and national costumes … and for some reason I could not figure out, all of them were carrying big, big piles of files.

I checked the street I was on against the map … and found that I was just half a block away from the United Nations. Oh well, since I am already here, I went on to visit the United Nations.

Unlike all over Manhattan where every square foot of land are built up with skyscrapers, the United Nations complex is located on a very spacious ground. The UN complex consists of a 38 stories Secretariat tower and the General Assembly Building.

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The grounds around the complex had quite a number of outdoor sculptures donated by nations around the world. Perhaps the most poignant sculpture to me was the knotted gun (below). This one graced the visitor entrance to the UN.

There is also a section of the Berlin Wall on display too. Another one that I really admire is the gift from Japan … a simple Peace Bell which is cast from coins collected by children all over the world … and this coming from a defeated country during the second world war.

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I signed up for the Guided Tour. I can’t remember exactly how much but I think it’s about $13 or so. We were brought on a tour around the General Assembly building.

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We got to see the Security Council. The Security Council is perhaps the most powerful body of the UN. This is where their main task is to deliberate on peace and security. The Security Council is made up of 5 permanent members (victors of WWII) and 10 temporary seats. Can you name which countries that made up the 5 permanent seats? Continue reading