The UN offers tours in its six languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
In its push to promote Hindi at the world body, India has reiterated its request to the UN to conduct tours for visitors to the headquarters in that language.
Saying that the tour is popular with Indians visiting New York, Deepak Misra, a minister in the Indian Mission, made the request while speaking at a meeting on Friday on information issues held by the General Assembly committee dealing with special political matters.
“The guided tour has been very popular with Indian tourists to New York and, as highlighted by our delegations last year. We urge the addition of guided tour in Hindi, India’s official language, to facilitate the tourists,” he said.
The UN now offers tours in its six official languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish – as well as in German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese.
The tours run between 45 minutes and an hour and cost $22 for adults and $15 for students and seniors.
Besides viewing the Security Council and General Assembly Chambers and visiting exhibits, the visitors get an overview from the tour guides of issues important to the UN like disarmament, peace and security, human rights and sustainable development.
Stressing the case for Hindi, Mr Misra said: “Genuine multilingualism promotes unity in diversity and international understanding by recognising the importance of communicating to the peoples of the world in their languages by bringing the common goals and ideals closer to the people.”
Mr Misra also asked the UN to publish its peacekeeping website in “the main languages” of the troop contributing countries.
He acknowledged that the UN was facing a financial crunch that affected its ability to expand its activities.
Therefore, he said, the Department of Public Information has to look at innovative ways to raise resources through initiatives like raising voluntary contributions to expand its global outreach activities in the widely-spoken non-official languages.
The UN began to incorporate Hindi in its social media outreach by launching a Twitter feed in the language in July.
Last month, the UN advertised for a Hindi Public Information Officer at its headquarters in New York.
The advertisement said that besides monitoring media, the officer’s responsibilities would include production of news stories and multimedia feature materials on UN activities.