UN75 Photo Exhibition and Award Ceremony

Opening remarks By Kamal Malhotra United Nations Resident Coordinator

• Excellency, Mr Giorgio Aliberti, EU Ambassador to Viet Nam

• Ms. Nguyen Hai Van, Director of Viet Nam Women’s Museum,

• Youth participants,

• Media representatives and reporters,

• UN colleagues,

• Ladies and gentlemen,

The year 2020 is not only a very meaningful year for Viet Nam and its people but also for the United Nations. 75 years ago, the United Nations was founded with a Charter which aspires for global peace, development and respect for human rights. In the very same year, in 1945, President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence of Viet Nam at Ba Dinh Square, not too far from here, with a similar aspiration to build a peaceful, united and strong country.

Marking this meaningful milestone, the United Nations which has “We the Peoples” as the first three words of its Charter which was agreed in San Francisco in 1945, has turned to the “people” throughout its history, and especially during the past 10 months of reflection during its 75th Anniversary since January this year. As the title of this photo contest indicates, we have set our goals and targets for this year as listening to what people want – especially, “the future people want”.

We have organized several activities to hear from young people, journalists and reporters, government counterparts as well as the international community and photographers to understand “the future they want” and to ask them to identify the role of the UN in realizing that future.

Today, the UN in Viet Nam invites you to view 49 impressive photographs exhibited around the halls of Viet Nam Women’s Museum. These carefully selected photographs both depict images of a desirable future such as those of healthy old couples, hard-working workers and students, happy families, preservation of culture, but also the challenges we are faced with including those related to climate change, gender equality, education gaps and health risks such as COVID-19.

These challenges are not only unique to Viet Nam. Many neighboring countries are situated in similar or even worse situations. In September, the UN General Assembly was organized amid COVID-19 and the UN launched its UN75 Report based on the responses collected from 1 million people around the world. While respondents unsurprisingly at this time identified health as the most pressing issue, 87% of respondents believe international cooperation is vital to deal with today’s challenges and that the COVID-19 crisis has made international cooperation even more urgent. 

The United Nations symbolizes the power of solidarity to overcome global challenges. We need to come together, hand in hand, in partnerships through multilateral, international discussion and cooperation. Only when we come together, can we tackle the challenges and convert the high aspirations of the UN Charter into reality for the future we want.

I would like to congratulate the 4 winners who will be announced today on their achievements. I would also like to thank the members of the judging panel including Ms Elisa Fernandez Saenz, Vice-Chair of the UN Communications Group and the Representative of UN Women in Viet Nam, whose organization has greatly contributed to the success of the UN75 Photo Contest; His Excellency Mr. Giorgio Aliberti, the EU Ambassador to Viet Nam, Mr. Do Hung Viet, Director-General of the Department of International Organizations of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Nguyen Hai Van, Director of Viet Nam Women’s Museum, Mr. Nguyen Viet Thanh, a professional Photojournalist of Vietnam News Agency, and Ms. Dao Ngoc Phuong Linh, National Coordinator of 2030 Youth Force Viet Nam representing the youth of the country for their important roles in this event and for sharing their frank opinions during the Final Judging Round in which they participated together with me.

I also very much appreciate Viet Nam Women’s Museum’s contribution to this photo exhibition by providing the venue for this event and for the open exhibition they are hosting for us. Given our venue and the fact that we are less than a week away from another special occasion, allow me to also extend my congratulations on the 90th anniversary of the founding of Viet Nam Women’s Union on 20 October, 1930.

I hope the UN75 Photo Exhibition and today’s Award Ceremony will inspire you to seriously reflect on the future you want and what the UN’s and each of our roles should be to realize such a future.

Thank you for coming today and I wish you all health, success and happiness! Thank you. Xin Cảm Ơn! 

Speech by
Kamal Malhotra
UN Resident Coordinator
KM profile
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
Other entities involved in this initiative
Arcadia Associates