09.10.2019 - The Universal Postal Union held a series of events commemorating its 145th anniversary on 9 October, which is also recognized as World Post Day.
In a statement released for the day, the Director General of the UPU, Bishar A. Hussein, said, “On World Post Day, I extend my warmest thanks to all the world's citizens, and to governments, designated operators, the United Nations, civil society and many others who have made their contributions to ensure "One world. One postal network."
Members of the diplomatic community as well as representatives of Swiss institutions gathered for a high-profile breakfast held in the centre of Berne, Switzerland, at the same restaurant where 22 countries signed the treaty founding the UPU in 1874.
In a speech to guests representing many of the original founding countries, the UPU’s Deputy Director General, Pascal Clivaz, said, “Without the treaty [of Bern] and the 170 other members who followed, we would not have today’s postal network. A network spanning hundreds of thousands of post offices, employing millions of staff and delivering billions of letter mail.”
Later that morning, members of the Swiss diplomatic corps and representatives of Swiss institutions joined UPU staff at the UPU’s headquarters for the organization’s annual World Post Day celebration, which included two awards ceremonies and the unveiling of a time wall encapsulating the UPU’s 145-year history. The Chair of the UPU’s Council of Administration, Kenan Boygeyik, and Postal Operations Council Chair, Masahiko Metoki, also attended the event.
The ceremony first celebrated the winner of the UPU’s 48th International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People, 14 year-old Richemelle Francilia Somissou Koukoui from Benin.
The 2019 edition of the competition asked youth to write a letter about their hero.
“I hope that you stay as strong as Hercules, as feisty as Samson and, finally, as quick as Lucky Luke, my favourite heroes,” says Richmelle in the letter written about her uncle. She goes on to write, “To grow up, humanity needs to take the values of past heroes to heart.”
In remarks at the awards ceremony, the UPU’s Deputy Director General, Pascal Clivaz, said that the letters revealed the confident, articulate voices of children, of youths, of young people from across the world.
Gibraltar’s Alana Sacarello came second behind Richmelle, followed by Azerbaijan’s Leyla Dadashova in third place.
Though Richmelle was unfortunately unable to attend the celebration to receive her award, the gold medal was given to Annick d’Almeida, who represented the country’s Permanent Mission of Geneva.
The gathering also recognized the leaders of the UPU’s annual ranking of postal development.
“Several years ago we created a tool that could help us benchmark the performance of the global postal network, known as the Integrated Index for Postal Development, or 2IPD,” said the UPU Deputy Director General.
Switzerland achieved first-place in the ranking for the third year in a row.
Accepting the award on behalf of Switzerland, Swiss Post CEO Roberto Cirillo paid warm tribute to Swiss Post’s employees who, he said, were delivering every single day. He also noted that the company was committed to public service.
Netherlands and Germany took second and third place, respectively.
Poland, China (People’s Rep.), Tunisia, and Nigeria also received prizes for their leadership in their respective developing regions. Colombia was also a regional champion but was not represented at the ceremony.
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