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Press Release


Geneva, Switzerland (12 October 2020) – A new exhibition celebrating the evolution of multilateral cooperation in Geneva over the past century was inaugurated today at Place des Nations, where it will be displayed from 12 to 30 October 2020.

The bilingual exhibition of 18 two-sided panels, entitled “100 Years of Multilateralism in Geneva”, looks at key milestones and achievements of international cooperation in Geneva, illustrating them with rarely seen historical photos and contemporary visuals. The exhibition shows the diversity of multilateral cooperation, focusing on topics such as health, humanitarian assistance, human rights, sustainable development, economic cooperation, disarmament, telecommunications, and much more.

For example, some of the panels tell the stories of the Convention on Road Signals ; the Nansen passport, the first internationally recognized travel document for refugees ; and the Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of chemical and biological weapons in war. All these served as the basis for future declarations and instruments adopted by the United Nations after the Second World War.

The exhibition is presented as the United Nations celebrates its 75 th anniversary on 24 October, the date the United Nations Organization came into being, four months after 50 countries signed the United Nations Charter on 26 June 1945 at a conference in San Francisco.

“The world needs multilateralism today more than ever. The political, economic, and health crises like the ones we are experiencing now require joining forces, sharing knowledge, and helping each other,” says Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva. “This exhibition is a testament to how humankind has evolved and survived thanks to international cooperation.”

Geneva has naturally played a central role in fostering global cooperation since it became the seat of the League of Nations, the first international organization dedicated to developing international cooperation and guaranteeing peace and security, whose assets were transferred to the United Nations in 1946.

“Over the last century, Geneva has become an essential location where diplomats, representatives of international organizations and civil society actors from all over the world gather to give substance to multilateralism,” says Marie Barbey-Chappuis, Member of the Geneva City Government.

Organized by UN Geneva, with the support of the Republic and State of Geneva, the City of Geneva, and the Fondation pour Genève, the exhibition offers access to additional information through QR codes, and invites the public to answer the UN75 survey on the role of global cooperation in building the future we want.

The exhibition “100 Years of Multilateralism in Geneva”, part of multi-stakeholder celebrations taking place in 2020, transports visitors back in time when modern multilateralism was born and explains the central role of Geneva in helping to solve today’s global problems. It also invites visitors to interact with history, understand the breadth and complexity of multilateralism today, and to get involved in shaping it for the future.