Iconic UNRWA image displayed in eight cities across the world

03 December 2014
An iconic image from UNRWA’s newly digitized archive projected on the UNHQ building, Manhattan, New York as part of UNRWA’s Building Solidarity campaign, 2 December 2014.

New York 

To mark the climax of the UN’s International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, an iconic image from UNRWA’s newly digitized archive has been displayed on buildings in eight cities across the world: Bangkok, Beirut, Dubai, Jakarta, Seville, New York, Tokyo and Vienna. As part of this campaign, a huge image of an UNRWA student dating from 1983 was emblazoned for six hours on the UNHQ building that is part of the Manhattan skyline.

Speaking in front of the UN Headquarters building in New York on which the image was projected, UNRWA’s Deputy Commissioner-General, Margot Ellis said “now more than ever before, it is important to show solidarity with the Palestinians.  UNRWA has been doing this for 65 years through the delivery of basic services such as education and health, which have successfully led to the human development of the Palestine refugee community. With the recent conflict in Gaza and the war in Syria moving into its fourth year, we also have extensive emergency programmes in all five areas of our operations, which include Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank. All these programmes need sustained support from the international community ”. Ms. Ellis was in New York for the annual UNRWA donor pledging conference on the UN General Assembly.

UNRWA has digitized over 300,000 images (67%) from its archive of nearly half a million images, some of which date back to 1948 and the Nakba or catastrophe as the Palestinians called their original displacement. The Agency is making these images available on line to journalists, writers, scholars and members of the public, anyone interested in the long and still unresolved question of the Palestine refugees and the development of UNRWA’s services over six decades.

“The very fact that after all these years, over five million refugees, many of them very poor, are still waiting for a resolution of their plight underlines once again  that there must be renewed political action in the peace process,” said Ellis. “Humanitarian action by UNRWA is vital though it is certainly not a substitute for full rights, employment and dignity without which refugees will remain in a state of extreme vulnerability. UNRWA remains committed to its human development mandate, offering hope and the prospects of a dignified future to the next generation."

Also in support of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, on Monday of last week, the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, opened UNRWA’s exhibition, “The Long Journey” which is now on display in the lobby of the UN HQ building in New York.

Click here to see displays of the iconic UNRWA image across the world. 

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance. 

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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