74 years of Love, Peace, and Humanity
The UN via Instagram
Seventy-four years ago today, the United Nations (UN) was formed at the end of World War Two. Fifty countries came together in San Francisco, committing to maintaining international peace and security.
Today, the UN is made up of 193 member states and stands for values we can all relate to. When I think of the UN, I think of peace, humanity and love — different cultures and countries coming together.
But there are many who question the UN’s relevance. Most recently, Giorgio Kostakos, Executive Director of the Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability, said: “The UN may well be dying, becoming increasingly distant and irrelevant.”
In honour of UN day, we decided to ask how people feel about peace, humanity and love and their relevance in connection to the UN. We downloaded nearly a quarter million Instagram posts with UN hashtags. And then we studied them to ascertain the linkage to “peace,” “humanity,” and “love” using Slate (our emotion, semiotic and culture analyser). Slate is (arguably) the world’s first visual analyser for emotion and culture.
We found love in abundance…for Emirati director Nahla al Fahad who was awarded the title and certificate for “character of the year” in 2019.
For world leaders and the Pope (don’t miss President Obama’s laugh)
And for two female peacekeepers laughing together with a group of children:
And as for peace, we found it, funnily enough, in UN offices…
and in champions for the Sustainable Development Goals…
We found humanity in a painting demanding gender equality…
in this well liked quote by the first UN Secretary General, Dag Hammerskjöld: “The UN was not created to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell,”
and we found it again in a motivating image by a young man standing in front of the UN in New York, stating “Young people can change the world.”
Above all, Slate found that the majority of these images evoked a sense of happiness, safety, and bonding.
Is the UN relevant? Slate thinks so.
If you enjoyed reading this post, you might also like: A Semiotic Analysis of WWF’s Instagram Content