As part of the anniversary programme marking Ireland’s 60 years of membership of the United Nations, a specially commissioned exhibition will be hosted at venues across Ireland. The exhibition covers Ireland’s first years at the United Nations and reflects the major issues and challenges of the time.
The Anniversary programme was launched in May 2015 by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during his visit to Ireland, and has involved a series of events, reflecting on the contribution that Ireland has historically made, and continues to make, to the United Nations.
The exhibition was commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from the Royal Irish Academy. It focuses in particular on Ireland’s first years in the United Nations, from December 1955 to March 1957, with original photographs and texts from the time. The exhibition concentrates on the 10th and 11th Sessions of the UN General Assembly but links to Ireland’s achievements since 1955 and Ireland’s current goals in the UN. The major issues of the time are reflected in the exhibition including East-West Cold War tension; the Suez Crisis; the Soviet invasion of Hungary, and; the birth of UN Peacekeeping.
Speaking at the launch of the exhibition in New York, on 27 September, Minister Flanagan said:
“‘Ireland's First Years at the United Nations 1955-1957’ paints a fascinating picture of how Ireland took its place among the nations of the world. During those early years, Ireland deployed its first ever UN peacekeepers to Lebanon and took a strong and principled stance in relation to nuclear non-proliferation. These early commitments continue to find expression in Irish foreign policy in 2015.”
Following the New York launch, the exhibition moved to the UN Headquarters in New York for the United Nations General Assembly Ministerial Week and then to the Palais des Nations in Geneva, before being launched in Ireland at a Symposium in Iveagh House, on 17th December 2015. To mark this event, a special commemorative booklet of the exhibition was published by the Royal Irish Academy.
The Exhibition Schedule is as follows: