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“Chinese Language Day”

17 April 2014
“Chinese Language Day”

Remarks by Mr. Michael Møller
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Acting Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva
“Chinese Language Day”

Palais des Nations, Galerie des Pas perdus
Thursday, 17 April 2014 at 6:30 p.m.

Ambassador Wu Hailong
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I would like to welcome you to the opening of this excellent exhibition on the occasion of Chinese Language Day. My thanks to Ambassador Wu Hailong and the Permanent Mission of China for organizing this event celebrating Chinese language and culture.

This exhibition truly highlights the richness and complexity of the Chinese language. From ancient, single-word characters to modern, complex phrases, we see the evolution and significance of one of the world’s oldest written languages. The musicians that have joined us to play traditional music underscore the rich history of Chinese language and culture.

Here at the UN Office at Geneva, we have celebrated “Language Days” since the initiative commenced in 2010, as the promotion of multilingualism is a key priority of the United Nations. Linguistic diversity is a condition for authentic international cooperation. As the late President Nelson Mandela once said, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart".

In recognition of the value of multilingualism, we are doing our utmost at UNOG to support the use of all official UN languages, including through our documentation and language services, our UNOG Library resources, and in our outreach and communication to the public.

I once again thank the Permanent Mission of China for contributing to these efforts. This exhibition will serve as a reminder to us all to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism as key elements in our efforts to build a better world.

Thank you very much.