Assisting the Delegate Community to Relate to New York

HISTORY OF THE HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE

Many members of the UN diplomatic corps arrive here with their families and have no first-hand knowledge of the United States, its culture and society. Spouses of these newly-arrived diplomats often are confronted by daunting challenges, such as a lack of general information about the city as well as possible language and cultural barriers, that make their initial adjustment to life in New York difficult. In 1954, the United States Mission to the UN asked a small group of New York women to provide a program of events and activities for UN delegates and their families. The purpose was to help them learn about and feel comfortable in New York.

Since its inception, the Hospitality Committee has worked closely with the Office of the Chief of Protocol under the aegis of the Secretary-General. The importance of the unique and valuable work of the Hospitality Committee was recognized early in the history of the United Nations and, as a result, permission was given to establish an office within the United Nations building on October 1, 1956.

Today, Hospitality Committee volunteers plan and carry out over 100 programs each year serving hundreds of members of the diplomatic community and their families. Programs include visits to places of artistic, historical, educational or scientific significance in and around New York City. There are regular bus trips to areas outside the city, including Philadelphia, West Point, and the Hudson Valley. Special family and children's events are also planned.

For more than half a century, the Hospitality Committee has helped UN delegates obtain a broader insight into the American way of life by building relationships and providing special services to the diplomatic community.