Queen Elizabeth II addresses the UN
Mr President, Secretary-General, Members of the General Assembly,
I believe I was last here in 1957.
Since then, I have travelled widely and met many leaders, ambassadors and statesmen from around the world. I address you today as Queen of sixteen United Nations Member States and as Head of the Commonwealth of 54 countries. I have also witnessed great change, much of it for the better, particularly in science and technology, and in social attitudes. Remarkably, many of these sweeping advances have come about not because of governments, committee resolutions, or central directives – although all these have played a part – but instead because millions of people around the world have wanted them. For the United Nations, these subtle yet significant changes in people's approach to leadership and power might have foreshadowed failure and demise. Instead, the United Nations has grown and prospered by responding and adapting to these shifts. But also, many important things have not changed. The aims and values which inspired the United Nations Charter endure: to promote international peace, security and justice; to relieve and remove the blight of hunger, poverty and disease; and to protect the rights and liberties of every citizen. The achievements of the United Nations are remarkable. When I was first here, there were just three United Nations operations overseas. Now over 120,000 men and women are deployed in 26 missions across the world. You have helped to reduce conflict, you have offered humanitarian assistance to millions of people affected by natural disasters and other emergencies, and you have been deeply committed to tackling the effects of poverty in many parts of the world. But so much remains to be done. Former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold once said that ‘constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon’. Good...
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