UNICEF 40th anniversary


Secreary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar opening the First Earch RunIn 1986 the 40th anniversary of UNICEF was celebrated. On 16 September 1986 the First Earth Run was organized. After lighting the first torch at the United Nations Headquarters by elders from the Hopi and Iroquois Nations (native Americans) events were held throughout the world. Not only in cities in the West, but also in the Soviet Union and China. In Nicaragua the fighting between the government troops and the contras seized for one day to let children carry the torch through the streets of Managua.


Visit of the First Earth Run Flame to Amsterdam, NetherlandsThe opening ceremony was conducted by UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, US president Ronald Reagan and UNICEF director James P. Grant, together with hundreds of children and attended by 20.000 people.


For 86 days a flame travelled around the world to 62 countries, from Uganda to Iceland, from the United Kingdom to Australia, from Bahrain to Burkina Faso, and of course Amsterdam. UNICEF became the focal point, but the event also commemorated the International Year of Peace. The torch was greeted by world leaders as Margaret Thatcher, pope John Paul II, Corazon Aquino, and famous Olympians as Emil Zatopek. The flame burned at the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and Hiroshima Peace Park.





The website A dream for our world initiative by David Gershon.



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Tunisia         14 September 1987









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last revised: 13 February 2008