I believe that it is important for readers of The Crimson to know that Friday was United Nations Day, which was celebrated for only the first time last year at Harvard. This holiday is celebrated in almost every country in the world, with the notable exception of the United States.
The main debate about the U.N. concerns its role, and who should bear the cost of such a role. While many in the United States argue that the U.N. costs too much money, each citizen is paying only about $1.11 per annum--not a large fee considering that this allows the U.N. to operate 16 peace keeping missions, large development programs which address not only economic but also health and educational problems, refugees care programs and the international court of justice.
In addition, Rudolph Giuliani, the mayor of New York City, has estimated that the U.N. brings about $3.2 billion into his city's economy. The U.S., on the other hand, owes the U.N. $1.4 billion in back dues.
The U.N. deserves our support because it is a concrete representation of the ideal that countries can work together and engage in constructive dialogue rather than go to war to resolve their differences. While the U.N. is far from perfect, it still plays an important role in the lives of millions. We would be paying a lot more if the U.N. was not around to help us avoid conflicts. --Sam Sternin, U.N. Day 1997 Organizing Committee member