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             17 October 2000


This year marks the 25th anniversary of the initiation of activities of the United Nations University (UNU). To commemorate this historical milestone, on 23 October 2000, the UNU will host an international symposium on "The United Nations University at 25: Reaching Out to Japan and the World." This symposium will combine a look back at the historical development of the UNU with a consideration of its current position and future role within the international community.

The symposium will be held from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Monday, 23 October, at the UNU Centre in Tokyo, with welcoming addresses by UNU Rector Hans van Ginkel; United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan (by video message); and Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Yohei Kono. Keynote addresses reflecting on the UNU's first 25 years will be delivered by Hiroshi Kida, former Vice-Minister for Education, Japan; James M. Hester, President of The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and first Rector of the UNU (1975-80); and Heitor Gurgulino de Souza, third Rector of the UNU (1987-97).

The central event of the Symposium will be the inaugural Michio Nagai Lecture. Named after one of the leading figures behind the Government of Japan's decision to invite the UNU to locate its headquarters in Tokyo, the Michio Nagai Lecture will henceforth serve as an annual forum for eminent members of the international community to speak on the issues confronting the United Nations and its member states. The first lecture in this annual series will be delivered by Prof. Justin Thorens, former Rector of the University of Geneva and former Chair of the UNU Council. The topic of Prof. Thorens' lecture will be "The United Nations University: Why, and why in Japan, and what for? The vision of Michio Nagai."

Following the lecture, there will be a naming ceremony for the UNU's two main conference halls. These halls are to be named in honour of two persons who played key roles in the creation of the UNU: U Thant, the late Secretary-General of the United Nations (1961-71), who first officially proposed establishment of the UNU; and Mrs. Elizabeth Rose, whose commitment to and long-term support for the concept of a University for the United Nations was instrumental in the establishment of the UNU in Japan. Mrs. Rose and a grandson of the late Secretary-General U Thant, Thant Myint-U, will be present at the ceremony.

The symposium will be followed by a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. A copy of the programme is attached. Simultaneous interpretation in English and Japanese will be provided.

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Media representatives who would like to attend the symposium or who wish further information may please contact:

The UNU Public Affairs Section
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246 . Fax (03) 3406-7346




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