Deputy Secretary General Eliasson, Ambassadors, Councilman Kingston, Mr. Stewart, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen; it’s my distinct pleasure to be with you today on this important occasion. I would also like to recognize former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead, who has joined us as well.
In 1985, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the United Nations, then-First Lady Nancy Reagan presented this work of art to then-Secretary General Pérez de Cuéllar. The piece, as you have heard, is a mosaic rendering of an unfinished work by the great American artist Norman Rockwell, depicted the Golden Rule, which can be summed up as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
From its inception, the presence of this work here at United Nations Headquarters has been a collaborative effort, and on behalf of the U.S. government, I would like to express my gratitude to the Thanksgiving Square Foundation of Dallas, Texas and to its founder Peter Stewart, for sponsoring this work and making Rockwell’s vision a reality.
The restoration was also an endeavor that received outside support – our thanks go to the Stockman Family Foundation, which was instrumental with their grant for this expert restoration.
As someone who spends a lot of time in this building, I am proud that, among all the great works of art donated by member-states, the United States can be represented by such an inspirational piece. In many ways, our work here at the United Nations is rooted in the values embodied by the Golden Rule and so eloquently depicted in this mosaic.
Norman Rockwell would have felt that the United Nations was the most appropriate venue for this extraordinary creation, and we are pleased that Laurie Norton Moffat, the Director and CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, parenthetically, an area I would say, a beautiful area of the country I call home, and several other museum trustees are here to celebrate the rededication of the mosaic.
So today, as we gather together to admire this beautiful piece and celebrate its restoration, let us redouble our efforts to work together to make the Golden Rule a reality not only in our daily lives but across the globe as well. Thank you very much.
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