||Text spoken by H.E. Dr. Vladimir Petrovsky
at the Dedication Ceremony
of the Restoration Project of Marc Chagall's 'Peace Window'
In Memory of Dag Hammarskjøld, United Nations' Headquarters,
It is a great pleasure for me at this important event in the United Nations to represent the Maecenas World Patrimony Foundation, which initiated, performed and donated the restoration of the Marc Chagall's 'Peace Window'.
A gift to the United Nations is a gift to humanity and belongs to the cultural heritage of humankind. We all share the responsibility to preserve and care for this. Maecenas World Patrimony Foundations aims to conserve 'orphaned' art and historic objects of the United Nations' offices and its agencies; 'orphaned' in the sense of that it does not fall under the natural responsibility of a specific donor, being as a rule a member state or other existing organization.
The 'Peace Window' is a good example, as this outstanding art work was in 1964 a gift of the artist Marc Chagall and the Staff of the United Nations to the memory of the late Secretary-General Dag Hammerskjøld.
The generous support of the initiator of Maecenas World Patrimony Foundation, Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis Foundation in Amsterdam, and its Chairman, Jurn Buisman, who is with us this evening, enabled our Foundation to restore the 'Peace Window, to its full former glory in Summer 2001.
Today, the third and main preservation project of Maecenas World Patrimony Foundation concerns another major UN-symbol of our world, the landmark Celestial Sphere at the Cour d'Honneur of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. This chef d'oeuvre of the American Art Deco artist Paul Manship - here in New York famous for his 'Prometheus' sculpture at the pond of Rockefeller Square - was a foundation's gift to the League of Nations.
Over the years, due to weather conditions the Celestial Sphere deteriorated to such extend that it is now in great peril. Maecenas World Patrimony Foundation already researched its present state and defined together with the UNOG a preservation plan. I wish to take the opportunity to tell that we gladly welcome all support for the restoration project of the Celestial Sphere, as one of those orphaned art objects, belonging to the legacy of humankind.
It is symbolic that the Celestial Sphere, like Chagall's Window of Peace, serves as a strong reminder that despite of all the cultural and religious differences, we are inhabitants of one of the planets of the Galaxy, the Earth and the time has come to think in terms of Pax Universalis rather than any other Paxes.
To what has been already said about Marc Chagall, I wish to add that for my generation Chagall paintings were not only a colorful fantasy of images from different cultures, but also an impressive message for human oriented approach in politics and diplomacy.
I was privileged to have had the chance to visit Marc Chagall in his residence in St. Paul-de-Vence in April 1972. I was very much impressed by his vision of our world as the global unity, which is in need of the light of liberty. In this conversation, Chagall several times referred to Dag Hammarskjøld as an example of an outstanding political leader who with tremendous courage lead the United Nations to practical peace-making actions, despite the difficulties between East and West of that time. I cannot but mention that in his talk like in his paintings Chagall with great respect. He referred to his folk life in Vitebsk as a child and his involvement in cultural activities in Belorussia, Moscow and Petrograd, before his emigration to France in 1922.
In conclusion, I would like to express my strong belief that the restored Peace Window will serve as a strong reminder that in our new rapidly changing world, the changes should be tackled in an evolutionary, constitutional democratic way. To provide security, both for the states and for the human being: security in all aspects, not only from violence, but also from hunger, deceases and economical degradation. And here the United Nations should play its unique role as the center of agreed action among the states and all new players at the global arena.