UNV Executive Coordinator Mr Ad de Raad (seated) signs the "Golden Book" of Bonn, surrounded by well-wishers including Mayor of Bonn, Ms Bärbel Dieckmann (2nd from left), and UNV staff. (UNV, 2007)

UNV head signs Bonn's Golden Book

Reflecting the continued strong link between United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the City of Bonn, UNV Executive Coordinator Mr Ad de Raad has signed the "Golden Book" of Bonn.

The invitation to sign the book was a rare honour reserved for VIPs and other special friends of the City of Bonn. The signing ceremony was held at the Bonn Old Town Hall alongside a special exhibition in the city’s market square to celebrate United Nations Day, October 24.

The ceremony was attended by a large gathering of well-wishers including the Rector of UN University, Dr. Konrad Osterwalder, the Mayor of Bonn, Ms Bärbel Dieckmann, other local dignitaries and a large group of UNV staff, some of whom are pictured in the attached photograph.

Mayor Dieckmann noted that UNV was the first UN organisation to relocate to Bonn, in 1995, and she said it was the spirit of volunteerism that had endeared the UN to the people of Bonn.

Mr de Raad said that despite some initial skepticism by others about UNV’s relocation to Bonn in 1996, the move had proven to be beneficial for UNV and the City. The UN presence in Bonn had since grown to 15 organisations, and the UNV programme had also grown strongly, with the number of UNV volunteers deployed annually now more than 7,500 specialists, which is more than double what it was in 1995.

“It has been a privilege and very rewarding to have been in the middle of it all and to have been able to work together with you on the common goals that we pursue out of a sense of deep commitment to the United Nations and to the City of Bonn,” he said.

Mr de Raad said he was, and would always remain, a true friend of the City of Bonn. 

Mr de Raad, who will will be leaving his position as UNV Executive Coordinator in early 2008, later addressed the crowd attending the UN Day exhibition and joined residents and visitors in a song to celebrate the event.