John Lennon’s well-known song “Imagine” is about global peace and unity. He sings,
“Imagine all the people living life in peace…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”
Wouldn’t it be great if we had an institution that brought together representatives from across the globe to collaborate and work toward the common good together? Well, we do! Today, on United Nations Day, we celebrate that very institution. On this day in 1945, the United Nations was established after the UN Charter was ratified.
The United Nations holds the ability to be the vehicle for positive change that will bring us closer to the world John Lennon hoped for, one that will see all people living in peace and harmony.
Just like any institution or governing body, the United Nations is not perfect. While it brings together 193 countries from around the world, each representative is still accountable to its home government. The United Nations as whole is, therefore, is only as powerful as its weakest member. We know that various leaders hold different views about the collaborative work and ability to successfully combat global issues.
Occasionally, we hear from individuals or groups who doubt the effectiveness of the UN or who call for the total end of its work altogether. Yet if the United Nations was closed, what would we do? Sr. Margaret Mayce, OP (the Dominican Leadership Conference NGO representative at the United Nations) once told me that if the United Nations didn’t exist, we would create something just like it. It is comforting to think that humans desire collaboration and peace and will work together for the betterment of all societies.
It may not be perfect, but it has made an impact. Look back on this blog about the United Nations’ work to ban nuclear weapons. Recently, the International campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, an NGO working closely with member states at the UN, received the Nobel Peace Prize.
This year, the theme for the UN Day is “Potential in Diversity.” As we think about the United Nations on this day, let us continue to pray that countries, governments, and peoples come together for peace, positive change, and celebration in diversity.