10 Snapshots of Smarter Peacekeeping

It may seem that major current triumphs are hard to find when it comes to the work of United Nations Peacekeeping Department and its blue-helmeted military, police and civilian units, which have hit a record high number of 130,000 personnel worldwide. Led by Hervé Ladsous, a Frenchman, the department faces daunting challenges as it aims … Read more

Obama Speaks to the UN: Together, We Must Strike Out Terrorism

Amid hypertight security at United Nations headquarters in New York, President Barack Obama told the packed mass of 100-plus global leaders meeting at the opening day of the 69th General Assembly session that the United States, in a current world of “pervasive unease,” cannot take on the fight against violent extremism and other serious international … Read more

US to Convene a Summit at UN on Stopping Extremists

President Barack Obama will hold a summit late this month in the United Nations Security Council to try to counter the surging power and strength of the Islamic terrorists that have seized parts of the Middle East this summer and other violent extremists worldwide. The summit, to convene on Sept. 25, will occur during the … Read more

US Toughens Its Support for LGBT Tolerance Globally

After years of lagging behind several European countries in official support for gay rights, the United States under President Barack Obama is advancing to the forefront internationally in both domestic and foreign policies. New policies in Washington, often instituted by executive orders that bypass conservative hurdles in the US Congress, reflect the rapid changes occurring … Read more

 

Samantha Power Urges US Congress to Approve UN Funding for 2015

Samantha Power

Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, testified on April 2 before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Appropriations for State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs — on the financing of the UN. (The US remains the single-largest financial contributor to the UN.) Power, who became ambassador in 2013, spoke about … Read more

UN Decolonizers Strive Again for Puerto Rican Independence

Old San Juan, PR

DORADO, Puerto Rico — Year after year, decade after decade, the United Nations General Assembly’s special committee on decolonization has taken up the issue of Puerto Rico’s status as a dependent commonwealth of the United States. Puerto Rico is self-governing but without the full representation in Washington enjoyed by the 50 American states or the … Read more

Iowa Teachers Connecting With the World

Umbrellas in China

It is a summer school for teachers, with a big difference. Sixteen of them working in the schools of Muscatine, Iowa, have been awarded grants since 2005 to travel abroad to enhance their global knowledge through the Catherine Miller Explorer Awards, a project of the Iowa-based Stanley Foundation, an internationally recognized global organization that stays … Read more

The US, as Predicted, Loses a Valuable Vote at Unesco

Irina Bokova of Unesco

As predicted by PassBlue, the United States has lost its voting rights in Unesco, since it stopped paying its dues almost exactly two years ago because of a Congressional ban on support for any UN agency that gives full membership to the Palestinians. Unesco suspended American voting rights on Nov. 8, as well as those … Read more

 

The US Could Soon Lose Its Voting Ability at Unesco

Monticello, a Unesco World Heritage Site

The United States may be ineligible to vote in Unesco’s November elections to choose members of the agency’s executive board and the next director-general, among other major matters, because the US stopped paying its dues as a member in October 2011. Unesco, formally called the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is known for its … Read more

The Failure of Mainstream Media to Cover the UN: Who’s to Blame?

Security Council Meeting-draft resolution on Syria chemical weapons

As media coverage of the United Nations dwindles and becomes more hyperfocused on geopolitics, the public learns less and less about the UN itself and how it operates. Who is to blame for the decreasing, narrow coverage — the press, a disinterested public or the UN itself? Barbara Crossette spoke on the subject at the … Read more

New York City and the UN: Cool but Useful Partners

UN entryway

As most people know, the United Nations headquarters rests on a prime slice of New York City real estate along the East River, stretching from East 42nd to East 48th Streets on First Avenue. The UN agreed to adopt the site as its home as a second-best option in 1946, after acquiring a suburban campus … Read more

Will The New York Times Fill Its Press Seat at the UN?

Wreath-laying Ceremony marking 10th anniversary of UN Baghdad bombing.

Neil MacFarquhar, who has been the United Nations bureau chief of The New York Times since June 2008, has left the post to move to Moscow, where he will continue to report for the paper. MacFarquhar, who covered the UN during the first and current term of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a Korean, reported on a … Read more

 

A UN Garden, Sweet With Fair Roses

A Kenyan in the UN rose garden

Set discreetly within the 17-acre compound of the United Nations on the East River, about 1,550 roses grow and bloom year after year. The UN roses, flowers with imaginative names, are donated by All America Rose Selections, a nonprofit group dedicated to the cause of “exceptional roses.” They consist of hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras and … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

From Rice to Power at the United Nations

Samantha Power

President Obama’s choice of Samantha Power to become the next United States ambassador to the United Nations and her recent confirmation by the Senate sends a strong, positive signal to all human-rights defenders. “As one of our country’s leading foreign policy thinkers, Samantha knows that our nation’s interests are advanced with strong and principled American … Read more

America and the West Should Invest More in the UN, Not Less

PAHO antimalaria campaign, Paraguay

Institutions of global governance are weak by design not default. As Singapore’s permanent representative in New York, I encountered senior members of the American establishment who lamented the United Nations’ poor condition. The explanation was the domination by the poor and weak states of Africa and Asia and the poor quality of its bureaucrats. To … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Susan Rice’s Rise Beyond the United Nations

Susan E. Rice, US ambassador to the UN

JENA, Germany — Many rumors abound regarding the future of America’s top envoy at the United Nations, Susan E. Rice. While she is still working as the United States ambassador to the UN, some media reports are predicting that she will become President Obama’s next national security adviser, succeeding Thomas E. Donilon. As to who … Read more

 

The UN Adopts an Arms Treaty ‘With Teeth’

Peter Woolcott, Australia ambassador to the UN

The momentous adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations has been greeted with much enthusiasm worldwide but also strong skepticism as the reality of carrying out its aim — regulating international transfers of conventional arms — sets in. “Effectiveness will be slow as it comes into force,” Peter Woolcott, the permanent representative … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The US, an Outlier in Ratifying the Children’s Rights Treaty

Millennium Village in Mayange, Rwanda

It is urgent that the United States ratify the international Convention on the Rights of the Child. This treaty, which recognizes that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance, is based on the principle that the family is the basic group of society, and it states that every child should be brought up in … Read more

The Masterminds Behind Security Council Resolutions

Security Council Meeting on the situation in Cyprus

The United Nations Security Council bases its resolutions on agenda items as varied as the renewal of a peacekeeping force mandate in Haiti to responding to a missile launching in North Korea. With resolutions’ language often dense legalese that recalls, recognizes, emphasizes, demands and, at times, condemns and deplores the issue at hand, the style … Read more

A US Diplomat Blasts UN Working Methods and Costs

Joseph M. Torsella, a US ambassador

Not quite two years into his term as the United States representative for UN management and reform, an angry Ambassador Joseph M. Torsella has had enough. In some recent speeches, Torsella, a former head of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia (and obviously not a diplomat by training) has turned to exasperation and sarcasm to … Read more

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