On the 30th of October 2015 the University of Bridgeport celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations. The ceremony paid special tribute to the UN and to an event that took place at University some sixty years prior. October 24, 1955, the University’s Student Council planted a sapling to mark the tenth anniversary of the United Nations and to commemorate its achievements. The University took advantage of the UN’s seventieth anniversary to rededicate the tree and to install a new plaque to replace the one that had weathered many a Connecticut winter.
University of Bridgeport administration, faculty and students have been actively involved in a variety of UN-related organizations over the years including the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS), the Committee on Teaching about the United Nations (CTAUN) as well as United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI). The University of Bridgeport conferred Honorary Doctorates on UN Undersecretary General Ralph Bunche and on Eleanor Roosevelt who chaired the committee that drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as a number of other UN officials over the years.
The University had the good fortune to welcome Dr. Rima Salah, former Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF and member of the Secretary General’s High Panel on Peace Operations as its principal speaker on this occasion Dr. Salah reflected on the United Nations’ many efforts to further peace and she share about her current efforts with the Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Peace Operations.
On this occasion the University also hosted Alexandra Faiz, National Communications Director of the United Nations Association–USA. The University’s Provost Stephen Healey and the Chief Financial Officer Dr. Susan Williams participated in the program along with Dr. Ward, Dean of the University of Bridgeport’s College of Public and International Affairs.
The University also received a thoughtful message of congratulations from United Nations Academic Impact Chief Ramu Damodaran to commemorate the occasion:
Greetings to the Administration, Faculty and Students at the University of Bridgeport on this special occasion when you mark the 70th anniversary of the UN and you also rededicate your 60 year old UN Tree and Stone. Students at UB established this tribute to the UN in 1955 on the 10th anniversary of the UN. They did so to honour the UN’s already significant achievements as well as its future promise.
In many cultures of the world, including my own, the tree is seen as a symbol that protects the integrity of thought and the exercise of reason. Its shade allows the light to shine through without the searing of the sun. Its roots and history echo the collective heritage to which we are heir and many seasons we can still look forward to. Its stability reflects endurance amidst change. Its botanical properties manifest those of the earth itself, nurturing life and diminishing the damage harmful elements can bring. Truly, a tree can be said to be emblematic of the purpose of this great institution, in the words and views of its founders, “to develop in students a point of view and a habit of mind that promotes clear thinking and sound judgment.”
That is a vision the founders of the United Nations had for our Organization and we strive to realise it with the energy and the support of friends and partners like you. Allow me to extend to all of you my best wishes, as also to my distinguished senior fellow international civil servant, Dr. Rima Salah who joins you on this occasion. Our particular gratitude to Dr Thomas Ward; his close association with the Committee for Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN) and with the United Nations Academic Impact itself is in the high tradition of support, and indeed alliance, the university has always extended our Organization.
The new inscription upon the new plaque that was dedicated beside the tree reads as follows:
On this site on October 24, 1955 the student government of the University of Bridgeport planted a tree and established a monument to honor the tenth anniversary of the United Nations. This plaque, dedicated 60 years later, replaces the original and it reaffirms the University of Bridgeport’s longstanding commitment to the United Nations and to the peace, global development and human security that it has striven to foster.
Dedicated by UB Administration, Faculty and Students
The University of Bridgeport is grateful for all that the United Nations has done to address conflict and further peace and greatly appreciates and looks forward to its ongoing relationship with the UN and with UNAI.