Sophie Lin

WIMUN2018 will take place at United Nations Headquarter and Grand Hyatt in the heart of New York, so here are some things you should know before heading to the Big Apple!

1. The Headquarters of the United Nations is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan.

The UN Headquarters has been featured in numerous movies which are mainly about politics and international conflicts, and it's understandable for people to associate the UN Headquarters with the heart of Manhattan. Nonetheless, the truth is the UN Headquarters is actually located to the east in the Turtle Bay neighborhood. Bordering from the East 42nd Street to the south, East 48th Street to the north, First Avenue to the west and East River to the east, UNHQ is located on the immense land overlooking the scenic East River.

2. The UNHQ is NOT administered by the US government despite being located in New York City.

According to the Article 3 section 7 (a) of the agreement the United Nations and the US government signed on June 26, 1947 at the Lake Success, 'the headquarters district shall be under the control and authority of the United Nations as provided in this agreement.' Section 8 of the accords provides further details: ' No federal, state or local law or regulation of the United States which is inconsistent with a regulation of the United Nations authorised by this section shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be applicable within the headquarter district.' Still, the United Nations agreed to acknowledge most of the federal laws under the protection services offered by US government

3. 194 flags fly outside the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

There's one flag for each UN member state, in addition to the United Nations Flag. UN security officers manually raised the flags at approximately eight every weekday morning and lower them around 4 p.m. According to the UN library, the flags are organized in alphabetical order in English from the north to the south. On weekends, the UN flag is the only one raised unless there are any meetings taking place inside.

4. Citizens without a valid passport recognized by the UN or international identifications proof issued by recognized agencies are prohibited from entering the UN Headquarters.

For most visitors, this isn't an issue. However, some citizens have to bring international IDs such as an international driver's license or an international student card to apply for a permit. For example, Taiwan is not a UN member state and therefore, the passport issued by the R.O.C government isn't recognized at the UN entrance. Instead, Taiwanese citizens must provide either their international IDs or the "Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwanese citizens" issued by the Chinese government to enter the building. 

5. The Knotted Gun sculpture at the UN has 30 copies all over the world, advocating the importance of non-violence and peace.

The original, sculptured by the Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd after the famous songwriter and peace activist John Lennon got murdered, can be found at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Since 1993, the sculpture has been the iconic symbol of the Non-Violent Project. You can find a copy in Sweden, Luxemburg, China, Germany, France, Switzerland. 

6. There's more to the United Nations Headquarters than the chambers.

You can also experience the Permanent Memorial to the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Inaugurated on 25 March 2015, The Ark of Return is the newest memorial at the United Nations, which recognizes that there have been more than 18 million people forcefully removed from Africa to America, Caribbean and Europe over the centuries. Among all the survivors, there are a massive number of them who suffered from the inhuman treatment. Therefore, visitors are highly encouraged to walk through the memorial and think about the importance of fighting for humanity, justice and racism today.

7. Different exhibitions are located at the UN Headquarters from time to time as well.

The United Nations Headquarters offers different exhibitions throughout the year for visitors to get closer to the international affairs and globally social problems on a regular basis. Exhibitions have touched on topics such as democracy, education, environment, human rights, refugees, sustainable development, UN history and the Women. Don't miss the chance to see one during your next visit! 

Through my camera lenses and my eyes, there are more than seven facts that you should know about the UNHQ. But I will leave them for you to explore because personal experiences are always more valuable than words.