Speech at the opening of Trygve Lie Plaza

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, New York, 18 September 2016.

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Ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests and generous supporters of Trygve Lie Plaza,

Today, New York City will be preparing for the opening of the 71st General Assembly of the UN. Leaders will be travelling to Manhattan from all corners of the world. Now is the time for real conversations about our common future, and it is time to reflect on our past.

It is therefore a great honour for me to be here today, celebrating the official opening of the Trygve Lie Plaza and the unveiling of The Peace Clock by Norwegian artist Lina Viste Grønli.

After serving as Norway’s Foreign Minister during the critical years of World War Two, Trygve Lie was elected the first Secretary-General of the United Nations. His greatest legacy is right across the street from us.

Trygve Lie was instrumental in establishing the United Nation’s Headquarters here in Turtle Bay, Manhattan.

Standing here today, on the Plaza bearing his name, we are, in a sense, connecting the dots between Norwegian history, the history of New York City and the purpose and meaning of The United Nations. In many ways, Trygve Lie is the reason we are meeting here today.

I am also proud to be here today for the unveiling of a piece of Norwegian public art on Manhattan. The Peace Clock by artist Lina Viste Grønli was commissioned by New York City with support from the Royal Norwegian Consulate General, Trygve Lie’s family and other generous donors. What better symbol could there be of the post-war era Trygve Lie found himself in, as first Secretary-General of the UN, than this?

This is both a sculpture and a clock. The hour hand rotates and forms the internationally recognised peace symbol, originally the nuclear disarmament symbol, every day at 4.30 am and 4.30 pm. For a fraction of time, twice a day. Peace time.

For the remaining hours, there is a constant movement forward, not unlike the work being done in the buildings across the street.

I would like to thank the New York City Parks Department for the beautiful renovation of Trygve Lie Plaza. I would also like to thank the artist and the New York Percent for Art for this poetic piece of artwork, and the Lie family and the donors for your support.

Thank you.

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