So this past Monday, March 4, was the opening of «Faces of Geneva» at the United Nations' Palais des Nations here in Geneva. And it was IN.CRE.DI.BLE!
Not only was the feedback from people present amazingly positive, the whole thing was quite an experience. Let me break it down for you:
> Thursday, Feb 28, Friday Mar 1, Monday Mar 4. These three days were necessary to unpack the photos, layout the photos the way I wanted to hang them and actually hang them.
> Monday Mar 4, 2pm. As I was hanging my last photos, the sound engineer as well as the general UN technicien came and started setting up the podium for the speeches. Seeing the UN, American and Swiss flags made everything very official and basically freaked me out a bit. I've gotten used to speaking in public but there's always a little pressure.
> Monday Mar 4, 6pm. The event's official starting time. People are pouring in one by one and the 500m² space is quickly filling up.
> Monday Mar 4, 6:10pm. The protocole starts and Director General Tokayev addresses the audience in a very nice speech. Then after him, Deputy Permanent Representative Peter F. Mulrean spoke. I was fortunate enough to find his speech afterwards so here is an excerpt:
In this project, Josh aimed to capture a portrait of one individual, resident in Geneva, from every UN Member State. The participants for this exhibit, some of whom are with us this evening, were all photographed in their favorite location in Geneva and asked to describe Geneva in a single word.
This exhibit is a true celebration of Geneva as a cultural melting pot of people from all corners of the world. Americans, who are at home in a melting pot, are naturally drawn to Geneva's history of tolerance and the diversity demonstrated by these photographs. […] This collection of portraits impresses on me how the international nature of this city is a natural setting for the collaboration of our daily work. […]
In closing, I'd like to again thank you for coming tonight and I'd ask that, as you explore this exhibit, you reflect upon how international cooperation in Geneva has reverberating effects around the world and the part each of you play in making this a reality.
During Mr. Mulrean's speech, I was melting down as he was saying everything I had prepared to say. So when my turn came to speak, I took the stage and improvised! Apparently, I was pretty good and relaxed. Phew!
> Monday Mar 4, 6:30pm. Protocole is over, bar is open and that's when it all really started for me. Thanking Ambassadors from various countries, signing books, answering questions, thanking people for their kind words and even posing for photos! Don't get me wrong though, I loved every second of it! The evening went on and although it's all a big blur, it was awesome and I had a blast!
> Tuesday Mar 5, all day. The next day, I was completely MIA and wiped out! But that great feeling remains.
I've said it already but I will say it again: thank you to all of you who were there, physically and spiritually. I cannot express how grateful I am for your friendship and your support. They mean the world to me!
I've also setup a FB album with photos from the opening which I'll be updating as I get new pictures.
And while I'm at it, many people asked me if it would be possible to visit the exhibit at the UN. I've decided to organize one, maybe two, visits but I need to know when. So if you are interested, would you mind answering the question on my FB page?