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    Room XX of the United Nations,
    the creation of a unique space
  • darkblurbg
    Promoting dialogue and convergence
    through a taste for art
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    A unique space
    where singularity can flourish

The Onuart Foundation

ONUART Foundations is a private, not-for-profit entity with public-private funding, supported by a broad range of national and international Patrons and Collaborating Bodies, incorporated on 24 April 2007.

  • To promote the presence of Art within the domain of United Nations and other multilateral fora
  • To favour understanding between cultures and societies
  • To promote principles that inspire the development of human rights
Vision: To drive forward, promote, fund, organise or collaborate in actions that contribute to the artistic and heritage enrichment of the United Nations and other International Bodies.
Mission: The mission of the ONUART Foundation is to enhance the value of art as a catalyst for dialogue. Through art, the Foundation stimulates debate at the highest level to inspire tolerance and understanding between Nations and cultures within all international organisations, seeking to achieve a more creative and less conventional approximation to each negotiation and each debate.

Origins of the Onuart Foundation

Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, during his visit in March 2005.

The Sert Room.

The creation of ONUART was promoted by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, with the support of private and public partners, as a result of the visit to Geneva by Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía in March 2005. During this visit, United Nations asked Spain to make an artistic contribution to the Palais des Nations of Geneva. Thus was resumed an old and brilliant tradition of collaboration between Spain and multilateral fora, the first exponent of which is the Council Chamber of the former League of Nations, donated by Spain in 1936 and illuminated by the murals of José María Sert.

On 28 February 2007, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Madrid to establish the terms and conditions of the comprehensive refurbishment project, to be undertaken by Spain, of Room XX of the Palais – which would later be renamed the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilisations Room. In addition to refurbishing Room XX, Spain undertook to donate a major artistic work to United Nations, which would be incorporated into the vast 1000-m2 ellipsoid cupola of this Room. The work would be created by a Spanish contemporary artist.

Between June and October 2006, the ad-hoc Advisory Commission created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation analysed several proposals submitted by some of our country’s major artists. The shortlisted works were: “La Huella del Hombre” (Man’s Imprint) by Manuel Valdés, “El Proyecto Orgánico” (The Organic Project) by Miquel Barceló, “La Radiografía del Dolor” (Radiograph of Pain) by José María Sicilia and “La Esencialidad” (Essentiality) by Frederic Amat. On 16 November 2006 the Advisory Committee took the decision to award the commission to Miquel Barceló and his “Organic Project”. This ambitious project would be developed by the ONUART Foundation.


At the time of its creation, the Foundation established a Board of Trustees chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. Noteworthy among the initial patrons is the presence of Spanish multinationals with a high international profile such as La Caixa, Indra, Telefónica, Repsol, Hotetur Club, Caixa Cataluña, Caja España and Abertis. Current or former members of the Board of Trustees are international personalities such as the late Mr Juan Antonio Samaranch until the time of his death or Mr José Francisco Yvars, a prestigious art historian and the former Director of the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, (the Valencian Modern Art Institute), as well as representatives from the public sector of the Arts and Culture such as Ms Ángeles Albert de León, Director-General of ACE.

The Advisory Council

This is the advisory body and the think tank. It includes all members of the Board of Trustees and the heads of the principal Geneva-based international organisations and agencies.
It meets at irregular intervals and its principal goals are:

  • To facilitate a forum for dialogue between the Foundation and high multilateralism officials in Geneva;
  • Identification and analysis of new projects for ONUART;

List of members of the Advisory Council:

D. Michael Moller, Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva D. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
D. Rolf Dieter Heuer, Director-General of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research D. Ján Kubis, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
D. Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees D. Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation
D. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross D. Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation
D. William Lacy Swing, Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration D. Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development/UNCTAD
D. Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS D. Tadateru Konoé, President of the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent
D. Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Office D. Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union