From 24 February to 17 March, the exhibition "Palais des Nations: A Time for Reflection", co-organized by the Center of Photography Geneva (CPG) and the UN Geneva Perception Change Project, will be presented in the Geneva public display space. A series of images was taken during the first confinement in March and April 2020 by Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva. The exhibition is on show in 160 outdoor locations.
To introduce the exhibition, an interview with Ms. Valovaya "La photographie, un art de la diplomatie," was conducted by Joerg Bader and Anna Iatsenko, respectively Director and Administrative Director of the CPG, and appeared in the daily newspaper Le Temps on 19 February 2021 with a choice of seven photographs.
In this exchange, Ms. Valovaya recounts that "During the confinement, the Palace was empty, but I never had the impression that it was abandoned. On the contrary, I think that its walls convey an encouraging message because so many events took place there, so many challenges were overcome. When you become aware of this, then you can tell yourself that we will also find solutions to our current issues".
Respectful of memory and resolutely turned towards the future, she doesn't exclude space for emotions in international relations: "Emotions are important. When you come to an international meeting, you don't necessarily notice how this place creates a very solemn atmosphere. Sometimes we forget that one has to be an idealist in international relations. Prosperity, development, peace, and disarmament are sometimes seen as idealistic wishes that we persist in treating too pragmatically. Often, during negotiations, we debate tiny details that we have to know how to put aside to try to think about something bigger, like what we want in twenty years".