You are here: UNA-UK marks 75th anniversary of the UN with first ever virtual UN Day
24 October 2020
On Saturday 24 October, UNA-UK commemorated the UN’s 75th anniversary by presenting the Sir Brian Urquhart Award for Distinguished Service to the UN to renowned journalist Zeinab Badawi.
Named in honour of a former UN civil servant whose service spanned four decades, UNA-UK’s Sir Brian Urquhart Award celebrates individuals whose work reflects Sir Brian’s own dedication and endeavour.
In honouring Ms Badawi we were able to highlight her years of work supporting global justice, women’s education, and the crucial role of the Global South in shaping international institutions. Her long standing advocacy for a more open, inclusive and effective UN is relevant now more than ever amid calls for the doors to be opened wider at the UN.
UNA-UK was delighted to be joined virtually by Zeinab Badawi, who accepted the award and underlined the importance of the United Nations, stressing that a world without the UN would be a world without hope.
Reflecting on her interactions with the UN, Ms Badawi said:
Natalie Samarsinghe, Chief of Strategy for the Commemoration of the United Nations’ 75th Anniversary, and Executive Director of UNA-UK, presented the award.
Ms Samarasinghe said:
The UN’s 75th anniversary also offered a key opportunity to look to the future.
UNA-UK was delighted to be joined virtually by H.E. Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, climate activist Nisreen Elsaim, CIVICUS Alliance’s Mandeep Tiwana and Ahmad Fawzi for a panel discussion on the future we want and the UN we need in 2020 and beyond.
They explored the vital role of the UN in the last 75 years, and the continuing relevance of the Organisation amid the Covid-19 pandemic. They also discussed the importance of good governance, leadership - and the need for the UN to connect better with people on the ground.
H.E. Maria Fernanda Espinosa said:
Looking to the future, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown said:
Nisreen Elsaim noted progress made by the UN, raising the importance of engaging people on the ground:
The discussion also highlighted the growing movement calling for a champion for civil society at the UN.
Mandeep Tiwana calls for a move away from a state-centric focus: