Irawady , YANGON— A statue of former United Nations Secretary-General U Thant will be unveiled in Lumbini in central Nepal on Friday, according to an announcement made by U Thant House, a museum dedicated to him in his former residence in Yangon.
The stone statue is an initiative of the Lumbini Development Committee.
U Thant, who was the third secretary-general of the United Nations from 1961 to 1971, visited Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, in April 1967. He was the first to suggest its development as an international pilgrimage site and symbol of tolerance and world peace. He said at the time that visiting the birthplace of the Buddha was “one of the most important days of [his] life.”
Born in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta town of Pantanaw, U Thant was the first non-European to hold the position. If he were alive today, he would be 110 years old.
During his 10-year-and-one-month tenure at the UN, he criticized both the West and the East for actions and attitudes that he considered threatening to world peace. He helped defuse the Cuban missile crisis, which had brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war. He also helped end a civil war in Congo among other achievements.
U Thant died of cancer in 1974 at the age of 65. The Myanmar public take much pride in him and his contribution to world peace.
U Thant’s grandson, U Thant Myint U, will be present at the unveiling of the statue, alongside the president of Nepal, Bidhya Devi Bhandari, on Friday.