CERN 60: celebrating with the UN

A special event to celebrate CERN’s anniversary will be held Monday 20 October at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, US. High-profile speakers from the world of politics, diplomacy and science will celebrate their common values: inclusion, peaceful co-operation and universality.


CERN’s relations with intergovernmental organisations are part of CERN’s engagement with key stakeholders, which include, among others, the Member States, the scientific community, and the Host States. In recent years, the Laboratory has grown from European to global and it is actively engaged in several collaborations with other intergovernmental organisations, including the UN and some of its agencies (UNESCO, UNITAR, WHO, WIPO, WMO, etc.). “It seemed natural for us to organise an event to celebrate CERN's 60th anniversary with this international community,” explains Maurizio Bona, advisor to the Director-General in charge of relations with international organisations. “However, making such an event happen is not a given: if on one side it is extraordinary that CERN has been given the opportunity to celebrate at and with the United Nations, on the other side this means that our Organization, so used to another type of conferences and workshops, has to learn how to navigate in these relatively new waters by adhering to the explicit and tacit rules that define the multilateral relations community.” 

The event, held in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, will bring together eminent representatives of the world of science and international affairs, to offer a broad testimony, from the scientific and political angles, of the role that science has played in building international collaborations, uniting people and cultures. “We carefully tried to balance the interventions between our Organization and the world of politics in order to give each sector the same relevance,” says Bona. “Our hope is that this event will trigger a more effective dialogue between scientists and policy makers and will produce concrete ideas of how to include science when it comes to decisions that influence our future and that of our planet.”

Another challenge in uniting these worlds is to find the subtle line between advocating for a more relevant role for science in the global sphere and the full respect of the point of view of each and every speaker, whether he or she belongs to the scientific or political community. This concept might sound abstract but it translates into very concrete actions: preparing briefing documents to articulate CERN’s vision in the field of multi-lateral relations and sharing, with transparency and honesty, CERN’s desired outcomes from the event.

Above all, this delicate exchange of information requires trust. This is built over time and by working together openly on projects and initiatives that cement reciprocal understanding and the collaborative spirit.

Follow the live webcast of the event on The full programme of the event is available here.

by CERN Bulletin