UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon

SAN FRANCISCO—The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, traveled to San Francisco on Friday, June 26 to celebrate the United Nations 70th Anniversary and the signing of its charter.

Seventy years ago, 50 countries’ representatives gathered in San Francisco and created the United Nations, an organization that aims to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” The UN charter is the organization’s founding document and the basis of global development and peace.

In 1945, San Francisco was chosen as the host a two-month conference because, according to Chris Whatley, Executive Director of the United Nations Association of the USA, it would remind nations that WWII was fought on two fronts: Europe and the Pacific.

“It was emblematic of America’s economic power and the U.S. host wanted to show what could be achieved in a nation at peace,” said Whatley. “It was more than a venue for the negotiations. The city itself was a participant in the negotiations.”

The UN is made up of almost 200 member countries and is dedicated to serving human rights, delivering humanitarian aid and safeguarding peace. It has more than 100,000 peacekeepers deployed in conflict zones, and is focusing on embracing climate change and sustainable development.

In 1995, the city commemorated the 50th anniversary with a three-day celebration that had guests such as former president Bill Clinton, South Africa’s archbishop Desmond Tutu and poet Maya Angelou, who recited a poem.

“The secretary-general is very pleased to be able to go back to San Francisco to mark the 70th anniversary of the single cornerstone document of the United Nations: the United Nations charter,” said Farhan Haq, Ban’s deputy spokesman. “It was historic that leaders of the world were able to start in San Francisco to get the ball rolling for the creation of the U.N.”

In an op-ed published earlier today in The Huffington Post, Bank Ki Moon recalled his first encounter with the UN as a child during the Korean War. He wrote about how his family relied on the organization to rescue them from the war and how the UN saved them from hunger.

“As we mark the anniversary of the adoption of the Organization’s founding Charter on June 26, 1945 in San Francisco, my hope is that the human family will come together with greater determination to work for a safer and more sustainable future for ‘we, the people,’ in whose name the Charter was drafted,” Moon said. “The United Nations at 70 can look back on a proud record of working with many partners to dismantle colonialism, triumph over apartheid, keep the peace in troubled places and articulate a body of treaties and law to safeguard human rights.”

On June 26, Moon spoke at San Francisco City Hall and had a conversation with Ambassador Kathleen Stephens at 3 p.m. On Saturday, there will be concerts for the celebration of the UN Grace Cathedral’s 70th anniversary; and on Sunday, a trail hike beginning at Mansell Street will be held.