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The Top 10 PassBlue Stories of 2019: From Strongmen to Sexual Harassment

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President Trump speaking at the UN’s luncheon for heads of state, September 2019. He and other certain global leaders attending the General Assembly opening session signaled the rise of nationalism coupled with pushback on women’s rights. LIZ MUZI/UNCA POOL

Once again, 2019 marked incredible upheaval and change across the world, just as 2018 did so universally, signaled by the continued rise in nationalism and revolts by women against repression and violence in their daily lives. Reporting on how United Nations member states — all 193 of them — acted in 2019 was a challenge that PassBlue met and relished. Our subscriptions rose 47 percent in one year; we launched a new podcast series, UN-Scripted, bringing global affairs into an audio format; and published numerous scoops and investigative reports.

To convey just how broad and incisive our coverage was of global affairs through a UN lens, we bring you a recap of our Top 10 stories for 2019. They indicate the path of geopolitics for 2020: from elections in powerful countries like the United States to commemorating women’s equality through the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 2oth anniversary of the women, peace and security agenda.

Our Top 10 stories covered everything from the US State Department denying visas to Russian and Iranian delegates who want to come to the UN; attempts by the US and a few other nations to roll back the reproductive rights of women and girls; profiles of ambassadors in the powerful UN Security Council; and the UN’s own serious problems of sexual harassment and poor management as well as its strides in reaching gender parity.

We also reported on Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN, and her new life as a potential White House candidate. — DULCIE LEIMBACH

People across the world marked the annual 16-day campaign to end sexual violence against women, starting on Nov. 25, 2019. Here, an activist in Ecuador. JOSE ALARCON/UN WOMEN

Happy New Year and New Decade!

Dulcie Leimbach is a co-founder of PassBlue. For PassBlue and other publications, she has reported from New York and overseas from West Africa (Burkina Faso and Mali) and from Europe (Scotland, Sicily, Vienna, Budapest, Kyiv, Armenia, Iceland and The Hague). She has provided commentary on the UN for BBC World Radio, ARD German TV and Radio, NHK’s English channel, Background Briefing with Ian Masters/KPFK Radio in Los Angeles and the Foreign Press Association.

Previously, she was an editor for the Coalition for the UN Convention Against Corruption; from 2008 to 2011, she was the publications director of the United Nations Association of the USA. Before UNA, Leimbach was an editor at The New York Times for more than 20 years, editing and writing for most sections of the paper, including the Magazine, Book Review and Op-Ed. She began her reporting career in small-town papers in San Diego, Calif., and near Boulder, Colo., graduating to the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and then working in New York at The Times. Leimbach has been a fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies as well as at Yaddo, the artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; taught news reporting at Hofstra University; and guest-lectured at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the CUNY Journalism School. She graduated from the University of Colorado and has an M.F.A. in writing from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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