Promoting message of lasting peace, UN to mark 100 years since start of World War I

By | 9 July 2014

New York, 8 July 2014 – Commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the beginning of First World War, the United Nations is holding an event at its Headquarters today remembering the devastating catastrophe of the “war to end all wars” and its seminal lessons for promoting building peace and reconciliation.

The “Battleship Elba”carrying the first battalion of the Estonian Regiment to Saaremaa Island in 1917. Photo: Author unknown. Source: Estonian Film Archive, Tallinn

Organized by the Permanent Missions of France and Germany with the cooperation of the UN Department of Public Information, the event, “Learning from War to Build Peace”, will bring together UN Member States highlighting the importance of reconciliation through diplomacy and dialogue.

World War I, with a total number of casualties, both military and civilian, of an estimated 37 million, harshly revealed the need for just such dialogue – led by an international organization gathering all countries to ensure peace. It first led to the creation of the League of Nations and, ultimately, learning from its flaws, to the United Nations.

Today’s special event, which will begin at 6:30 p.m., will feature an address by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and a performance by the Grammy Award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of pieces by Samuel Barber, Ludwig van Beethoven and Maurice Ravel. The lives of these three composers were all marked by the wars of their times and their music reflects that. The event will also include readings from the diaries and letters of people who lived through the war.