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United Nations Day

United Nations Day highlights, celebrates and reflects on the work of the United Nations (UN) and its family of specialized agencies.

United Nations offices around the world join in to observe United Nations Day.

©iStockphoto.com/Michael Palis

What Do People Do?

On and around October 24, many activities are organized by all parts of the UN, particularly in the main offices in New York, the Hague (Netherlands), Geneva (Switzerland), Vienna (Austria) and Nairobi (Kenya). These include: concerts; flying the UN flag on important buildings; debates on the relevance of the work of the UN in modern times; and proclamations by state heads and other leaders.

Public Life

United Nations Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

The foundations for a “League of Nations” were laid in the Treaty of Versailles, which was one of the treaties to formally end World War I. The treaty was signed in Versailles, France, on June 28, 1919. The league aimed to encourage disarmament, prevent outbreaks of war, encourage negotiations and diplomatic measures to settle international disputes and to improve the quality of life around the world. However, the outbreak of World War II suggested that the League of Nations needed to take on a different form.

The ideas around the United Nations were developed in the last years of World War II, particularly during the UN Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, the United States, beginning on April 25, 1945. The UN was officially created when a UN charter was ratified on October 24 that year.

United Nations Day was first observed on October 24, 1948. The UN recommended that United Nations Day should be a public holiday in member states since 1971. There were also calls for United Nations Day to be an international public holiday to bring attention to the work, role and achievements of the UN and its family of specialized agencies. These have been spectacular, particularly in the fields of human rights, support in areas of famine, eradication of disease, promotion of health and settlement of refugees.

The UN does not work alone but together with many specialized agencies, including: the World Health Organization (WHO); the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); International Labour Organization (ILO); United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); and United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Symbols

The UN emblem consists of a projection of the globe centered on the North Pole. It depicts all continents except Antarctica and four concentric circles representing degrees of latitude. The projection is surrounded by images of olive branches, representing peace. The emblem is often blue, although it is printed in white on a blue background on the UN flag.

United Nations Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015SatOct 24United Nations DayUnited Nations observance
2016MonOct 24United Nations DayUnited Nations observance
2017TueOct 24United Nations DayUnited Nations observance
2018WedOct 24United Nations DayUnited Nations observance
2019ThuOct 24United Nations DayUnited Nations observance
2020SatOct 24United Nations DayUnited Nations observance
2021SunOct 24United Nations DayUnited Nations observance
2022MonOct 24United Nations DayUnited Nations observance
2023TueOct 24United Nations DayUnited Nations observance
2024ThuOct 24United Nations DayUnited Nations observance
2025FriOct 24United Nations DayUnited Nations observance

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