WORLDVIEWS

The UN Is Under Siege, So Where Is the Secretary-General?

Was it only two years ago that so many people were elated by the appointment of António Guterres as secretary-general of the United Nations? After public debates organized by the president of the General Assembly and informal ones by the 1-for-7-Billion “Find the Best UN Leader” coalition, he emerged as the top candidate in the … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Where Are the Female Leaders at the UN? Gender Bias Persists

The exhibition “HERStory: A Celebration of Leading Women in the United Nations” was held at the Unesco headquarters in Paris this summer, after it made its debut in New York last year. Designed to showcase the contributions of female leaders throughout the UN’s history, it featured such high-profile personalities as Margaret Anstee, the first woman … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Ban Ki-moon’s Travels: Escape Hatch or Act of Diplomacy?

BERLIN — If you take a close look at the public schedule of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, it becomes evident that he travels a lot to member states, even more than his charismatic and most active predecessor Kofi Annan. Why does Ban travel so often? Some critics suggest that Ban wants to distract public … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Pope Francis and Peacemaking

The Roman Catholic Church has always been diverse. The New Testament reveals that differences of opinion, practices and orientations have been part of Christianity’s experience since its beginning. The billion-plus Catholics today are not the same as the few hundred Jewish disciples that were contemporaries of Jesus of Nazareth. Yet the tension between innovation and … Read more

GOINGS-ON

A Haitian-Canadian to Lead Global French-Speaking Group

Michaëlle Jean, a former governor-general of Canada and chancellor of the University of Ottawa, has been named the first Canadian and the first woman to lead the Francophonie, an association of countries where French is a national language or is widely spoken. Canadian media reported that Jean was supported actively for the position by Prime … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Next Best in 2016? The UN Secretary-General Must Be a Reformer

GENEVA — For only the second time — the first was in 1996 — the electoral campaigns for the American president and the United Nations secretary-general are running in parallel. Both promise to be long and protracted. Each already has a growing slate of presumptive candidates pounding flesh and employing lobbyists. But the next two … Read more

BOOKS

Lonely at the Top: What It’s Like to Be the UN Secretary-General

UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold

There have been eight secretaries-general of the United Nations in the 68 years since the first of them, Trygve Lie of Norway, took on this unique global position. All eight — all men — have been very different in character and personality, in their cultural and political backgrounds and in their views of how the … Read more

Jan Eliasson Explains His Role as No. 2 at the UN

Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary-general of the UN

Jan Eliasson has been the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations since July 2012, the second in command after Ban Ki-moon. Eliasson, 73, is a former Swedish foreign minister and was ambassador to the United States twice, among other foreign postings. He was also president of the UN General Assembly and a key UN mediator … Read more

The Woman Who Opened Syria for UN Inspectors

Angela Kane, UN high representative for disarmament affairs

Angela Kane has covered a lot of territory for the United Nations, but one of her toughest jobs in a career spanning more than three decades may be negotiating with Syria to begin the still-uncertain process of destroying the chemical weapons that President Bashar al-Assad only recently denied he had. “It wasn’t easy,” Kane said … 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

Why UN Peacekeeping Falls Far Short of Female Soldiers

Sudanese police women in North Darfur

Since Security Council resolutions began demanding more significant attention to roles for women in conflict areas and the peace-building that follows, much of the discussion has justifiably centered on protection of civilians, because women and their children suffer most in war and dislocation. Less attention has been paid to the woeful numbers of women in … Read more

BOOKS

Kofi Annan: Lessons in Futility

Kofi Annan

  Kofi Annan‘s existential crisis during his decade as United Nations secretary-general was without question related to the US-led invasion of Iraq. But the most fascinating part of his new memoir, “Interventions: A Life in War and Peace,” is the account of his numerous attempts to nudge the world toward a Middle East peace deal. … Read more

 

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