UN70 event in Mazar celebrates enduring partnership with Afghans
Afghan political leaders, diplomats and civil society representatives joined with United Nations officials in Mazar-e-Sharif to celebrate the enduring Afghan-UN partnership.
Atta Mohammad Noor, the Governor of Balkh Province, and Nicholas Haysom, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, spoke at the event, the centerpiece of which was a photography exhibition highlighting the work and achievements of a group of Afghan professionals.
“This event is a photographic exhibition but it’s also an opportunity to celebrate 70 years of existence of the United Nations,” said Haysom. “Today, we are proud to celebrate 70 years of the UN’s existence with our friends, our partners, our close collaborators, amongst whom we certainly consider Governor Atta.”
Haysom accompanied Governor Noor during the exhibition, briefing him about each of the photographs.
“The question arose for us how best to celebrate the special relationship between the United Nations and Afghanistan, and how best to celebrate the ideals which drive the organization,” said Haysom. “We have decided, instead of listing the achievements of the United Nations, to focus on the work of 12 Afghan citizens.”
It is their work, said the UN envoy, that best represents the ideals of the United Nations. Haysom explained that the Afghan professionals were selected for the exhibit not only because they represent the diversity of Afghanistan, but also because they represent the full range of activities in which the United Nations has been engaged.
“Whether it is the protection of human rights, the preservation of cultural heritage, promotion of the environment, mobilization of youth, promotion of educational opportunity, or in creating safer conditions for communities to live, by, for example, clearing landmines – their work is a credit to them and to Afghanistan,” said Haysom.
For his part, Noor said that after the establishment of the United Nations, the world body has achieved much in terms of conflict resolution and in bringing peace and stability.
“For the last 60 years that Afghanistan has been a member of the United Nations, it has been a very faithful member of the family,” said Balkh’s Governor. “I would like to particularly thank the United Nations for its efforts in the last 15 years in Afghanistan for coordinating international aid for peace-building efforts and countless other activities.”
Around 60 people attended the event, which brought together a series of specially commissioned panoramic photographs. Each photo – measuring 4 metres wide – contains three main scenes, highlighting key aspects of the professionals’ work in areas such as improved healthcare, support for returning refugees and environmental protection.
The Mazar event marked the first time the photographic exhibition has been seen outside Kabul, with further exhibitions planned for three other cities around Afghanistan.
Billboards celebrating the UN’s 70th anniversary – including messages about key work done by the UN family in Afghanistan – have gone up in Mazar, following their initial release in Kabul.
The nine panoramic photographs featured in the exhibition, along with the profiles of the outstanding professionals, are available on UNAfghanistan.org.
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