Over the past 72 years since the UN was founded, there have been an array of world changing speeches given. After extensive research into these speeches, I have put together this list of what I believe to be the top three (feel free to disagree with me).
Coming in at third place is UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson’s speech, titled ‘Gender Inequality is Your Issue Too’. This speech was addressed to the members of the UN at their Head Quarters in New York during a special event for the HerForShe campaign in 2014. She discussed important issues, such as how being a part of the women’s rights movement has become synonymous with being ‘anti-man’ (followed up by her formally extending an invitation for men to join to gender equality movement, as it is their issue too), and how young girls are often inadvertently sexualised by society (in which she detailed her own experiences). Often Hollywood stars’ opinions are dismissed when it comes to important world issues but in the case of Emma Watson her status only elevated the media coverage of her speech, spreading her message worldwide as it was posted onto sites such as the UN YouTube channel, where it received over 2 million views. As a result of this speech, many people’s views towards the gender equality movement have become increasingly positive.
In second place, I’ve chosen a speech by Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. During the end period of the Cold War, Gorbachev was the revolutionary leader of the USSR. Gorbachev is regarded by many historians to have been the first person to begin taking political steps towards the end of the war; this by no doubt included his speech on the changes in the Soviet Union, given in 1988. As well as discussing the USSR’s recent changes, Gorbachev shocked the other politicians attending the conference by announcing that he planned to decrease the military presence along Russia’s border with China and in Eastern Europe over the next few years. Due to this speech, tensions between the USA and the USSR lessened dramatically until the dissolution of the USSR on December 26th, 1991 – a late Christmas present for the countries involved, which had previously been on the verge of nuclear war.
For first place, finally, I decided on Eleanor Roosevelt’s speech from a conference in 1489. The conference was arranged to discuss the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the people who spoke for the creation of the Declaration, and she is credited for the Declamation being passed. This Declaration is considered by ‘The Guinness Book of Records’ to be the most translated text in existence, with it having been published in 501 different languages across the globe. I could research everything that this Declaration has achieved for humanity, but I don’t have the time to list them all for you here because there are simply too many.