150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION UNION (ITU)

150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION UNION (ITU)  

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the creation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the worldwide organization which promotes cooperation among member states to better use telecommunications, offer technical assistance to developing countries, and favor the harmonization of national policies. Founded in 1865 in Paris as the “International Telegraph Union”, it adopted the current name in 1932. Since 1947 it has been one of the specialized UN agencies with headquarters in Geneva. The institutional profile of the ITU is comprised of three sectors of competence: radiocommunication, telecommunication standardization, and telecommunication development. To mark this anniversary the Philatelic and Numismatic Office has produced a 2.15 euro postage stamp sheet of ten values. The stamps feature a detail of the “Creation of Adam”, the celebrated image of the finger of God reaching out to give life to man, painted by Michelangelo in his frescoes of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Digital and modern telecommunications technologies make it possible for this work of art and other content to be immediately accessible in every part of the world, bridging distances. Pope Francis recently observed that “communication is ultimately a human rather than technological achievement”. “Those who communicate, in effect, become neighbours”, but the Christian who draws closer to others, as in the parable of the Good Samaritan, always shows mercy and compassion. In this sense, when communication and new technologies offer humanity greater possibilities for encounter and solidarity, this is something truly good and a gift from God.