TOPIC: WOMEN

Three Ex-UN Leaders Form a Women’s Group to Save the World

As multilateralism takes a beating from President Trump amid the “new world disorder,” as one European diplomat put it, three women who know the United Nations inside and out through previous top leadership jobs have originated a Group of Women Leaders for Change and Inclusion. The goal is to bring together former UN female colleagues … Read more

Reform Clouds Darken the Future of the UN Development Program

As the first effects of Secretary-General António Guterres’s ambitious organizational reform plans become apparent, former and current officials of the United Nations Development Program see the future of the internationally influential agency as uncertain if not in peril. Fears center on aspects of the reform plan for development that would allow more political interference by … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Feminists Made the Difference: How Women Won National Leadership Roles

Hillary Clinton did not make it to the top, but Theresa May, the British prime minister, and Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, did. Since Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the world’s first female prime minister, in Sri Lanka in 1960, one-hundred women have been heads of state or government around the world. How did they get to … Read more

BOOKS

Misogyny Didn’t Stop Them: The World’s Most Important Female Leaders

From Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas, women remain important forces of change as government leaders in the modern era. Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister after its independence, was one of the earliest — and the only woman in India — to hold that position, from 1966 to … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Yikes Again! UN Staffers Protest Wonder Woman’s Role at the UN

Wonder Woman is not so wonderful in the eyes of hundreds of United Nations staff members around the world. Earlier this week, a petition began circulating among personnel to ask their boss, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to rescind the choice of the cartoon character, whose main uniform is a bustier and high heels, as an honorary … Read more

UN’s Newest Vote to Pick the Next Secretary-General? Guterres Wins Again

António Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal who most recently was the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, once more dominated the latest straw poll held by the UN Security Council on selecting the next secretary-general. The five-year term starts Jan. 1, 2017, when Ban Ki-moon, a Korean, leaves office. The fifth poll, an … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Personalities Can’t Be Ignored in Candidacies for UN Secretary-General

What personal qualities are needed to become a successful United Nations secretary-general? The 2016 campaign to select a new leader features many novelties in the UN’s history: an official list of candidates, public job interviews by the General Assembly and informal panel debates in London and New York. Civil society coalitions and the current president … Read more

Only 1 Woman in Top-3 Winners Again in UN Secretary-General Vote

With 11 candidates left in the race this year for United Nations secretary-general, the Security Council held its second straw poll on Aug. 5, showing a slight shift in levels of support by the council’s 15 members, but placing António Guterres of Portugal at the top again. Yet once more, only one woman, this time … Read more

Getting to Know the UN Secretary-General Candidates Better: A Wrap-Up of Two New York Forums

When it comes to the United Nations, the word “debate” takes on a civilized bearing, with no relation to heated contests among many sides. Over two nights this week at different settings in New York, UN secretary-general candidates campaigning to fill the shoes of Ban Ki-moon in January 2017 debated publicly. One event, held at … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

A Woman, a Bombast and a Socialist: The UN and US Elections

The major contenders for one of the highest public offices in the world include the first possible female candidate for the position; a slightly aggressive (and that’s what his friends say about him) surprise candidate; and a socialist who’s not really supposed to be there but has garnered enough support to possibly be a contender. … Read more

The Field Grows and Shifts in the Race for UN Secretary-General

The second crop of campaigners making a pitch to replace Ban Ki-moon in January is now being assembled, and it looks like the first declared candidate on the list may well shake up the race. She is Susana Malcorra, Argentina’s foreign minister and a well-respected, internationally known former United Nations official. The next round of … Read more

Another First for Candidates for UN Secretary-General? Tweeting

This is not your grandfather’s election cycle. Will this be the year a woman is elected to one of the highest political positions in the world? What’s up with the surprise candidate gaining unexpected momentum? Can any candidate truly blend the need for the best-qualified administration with gender parity? It is unequivocal that this year’s … Read more

A UN First After 70 Years: Open Campaigning for Secretary-General

It was a week unprecedented in the history of the United Nations. From April 12 to 14, nine candidates for the office of secretary-general were put on a public stage in front of the world to make their cases as to why they should be elected to follow Ban-Ki-moon when his term ends this year. … Read more

New Snags for Women Running in the UN Secretary-General Race

The only official female candidate in the competition so far to become the next United Nations secretary-general may already be in flux. Just a few weeks have passed since the Croatian government sent a letter to the UN nominating Vesna Pusic, a former foreign minister, but her candidacy may be uncertain because of a change … Read more

More Revelations on Former UN General Assembly Leader Facing Criminal Charges

Only weeks before John Ashe, the former president of the United Nations General Assembly, was arrested for tax fraud amid a bribery scandal uncovered by the United States government, Ashe was tapped to potentially take an important job in Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s office in New York. Ashe, who was an ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda … Read more

Eastern Europe Presses Its Claim to the Secretary-General’s Office  

In 70 years of United Nations history, Eastern Europe has been the only regional group in the organization that has never filled the position of secretary-general. Western Europe has had three secretaries-general; Asia and Africa, two each; and Latin America and the Caribbean, one. The 23 nations of the Eastern European region, determined to win … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Development Program: A New Crisis or a New Opportunity?

GENEVA — For those with longer memories, the latest dip in resources for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the staff cutbacks and restructuring announced by its administrator, Helen Clark, in May are merely the onset of another cycle, just in time for the agency’s 50th anniversary but part of its history since its … 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 UN Development Program Should Revive What It Does Best

Helen Clark of UNDP

Constant reform has characterized the United Nations Development Program throughout its existence, say the authors of two recent books on the agency. Change bespeaks an organization ready to adapt but also fundamentally uncertain about its proper role. It teeters between two sets of tensions. The first tension is between being both coordinator and competitor in … Read more

It’s Down to Latin America v. Africa to Lead UN Women

Alcinda Abreu, environment minister of Mozambique

After several months of public speculation at the United Nations, two candidates are now in tight contention for the executive director post of UN Women, the main agency tasked with promoting the treatment and rights of women worldwide since it began operating in January 2011. Rebeca Grynspan, 57, is one contender. Since 2010, she has … Read more

 

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