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An Epochal United Nations Day


24 October 2020 was no ordinary United Nations (UN) Day. It marked the 75th anniversary of the UN, making it not only the longest functioning multilateral organization, but also the most effective one in preventing great power conflict, especially nuclear war. Second, the UN, which was primarily a Western-inspired and led institution at its birth, narrowly focused on peace & security, has evolved into a truly international organization with a say in every aspect of global affairs and human endeavor. Third, after being beholden to its member states for three-quarters of a century, the UN is now poised to redeem its pledge, enshrined in the preamble of its charter, to listen to and serve 'we the peoples'.
What better proof can there be than the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) attaining its 50th ratification from Honduras on UN Day -- exactly 75 years after the horrific bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki? The impending entry into force of the TPNW will establish a formal global norm banning possession & use of nuclear weapons (even though it might not lead to a single warhead being disarmed). The epochal TPNW success is thanks to the role of non-hegemonic states (like Honduras), NGOs, (like the International Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017), and the tireless efforts of individuals like Setsuko Thurlow (a Hiroshima Hibakusha).  Welcome to 21st Century multilateralism.
While, doubtless, the UN is confronted by multiple challenges, it is worth remembering that the world without the UN will be far worse off than one even with a dysfunctional UN. This is precisely why the faculty, students, and alum of the Center for Global Affairs (CGA) are committed to  making the UN fit for purpose through intense classroom deliberations with leading UN experts, real-world simulations and practicums, and original research with policy relevance. This edition focuses on the efforts in the classroom and outside of the CGA faculty, students and alum, as well as friends and partners of CGA,  to build a better UN.
Finally, the UN's 75 anniversary is a perfect moment to savor W.H. Auden's "Hymn to the United Nations", a moving paean with the prescient words, "Where all are Brother/ None faceless Others, that, sadly, are still unrequited.  Listen to Auden's original reading here.  
If you would like to stay informed of all things related to the UN at NYU, then do watch this space, check out our LinkedIn group, and follow us on Twitter @UNatNYU.
Stay safe, well & committed to the UN!
Professor WPS Sidhu


50th Ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

On October 24th Honduras became the 50th state to ratify the TPNW, and the treaty will enter into force ninety days later on January 22, 2021. 

In anticipation of the 50th ratification, the Permanent Missions of Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa and Thailand hosted a special ceremony on the nuclear ban treaty on October 23rd. At this event Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor, gave a powerful and moving statement on what the impending entry into force of the TPNW means to her and other victims of  nuclear bombs. Click here to follow the full event. 

Launch of the UN Senior Leadership Appointments Dashboard

The NYU Center on International Cooperation, the NYU Center for Global Affairs (CIC-CGA), the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, and the Permanent Mission of Ghana to the United Nations co-hosted a virtual event on October 22nd that marked the launch of the UN Senior Leadership Dashboard. 

The CIC-CGA analysis provides data on overall trends regarding the pace at which the UN is working toward its commitments to more balanced representation—across gender, nationality, regions, country income levels, educational backgrounds, and other characteristics. Click here to check out the dashboard. 


Additionally, speaking on the topic of “Beyond the Pandemic: Opening the Doors to Meaningful Participation of Women” on October 28th to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) called for engagement "in sustained efforts to take on structural obstacles, tackle power politics, confront entrenched patriarchal attitudes, overcome socio-economic inequalities and create conditions conducive to inclusive peacemaking”. 

Experts Brief CGA's UN & 21st Century Challenges Course

Adam Day, Head of Programmes at United Nations University Centre for Policy Research in New York, and a highly respected expert in peace operations and the changing nature of armed conflict, spoke to the class about the challenges of managing contemporary conflicts. His latest publications can be found here and here.

Minh-Thu Pham, former Executive Director of Global Policy at the United Nations Foundation, where she helped to create and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Financing for Development, underlined the key lessons to insure the implementation of the SDGs by 2030.

Michael Shank, Communications Director for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, a group of international cities committed to achieving aggressive long-term carbon reduction goals, discussed the crucial role of subnational actors, especially cities, in addressing climate change. His latest writings can be found here and here.

Event Report of 
UN75: The Future We Want, the UN We Need

On September 18, the UN Initiative at NYU partnered with the UN75 Office, International Peace Institute, and The Group of Women Leaders to host a virtual event on the eve of the official High Level UN75 Summit. At this event the discussion centered around how to "recover better" from the COVID 19 pandemic, and featured an array of perspectives from a stellar all-women panel. 

CGA MSGA, Akiko Teramoto, wrote an insightful analysis of the event. Click here to read the report. 

Ethics & International Affairs:
Special Issue on the UN at 75

The Carnegie Council on Ethics & International Affairs presents a special issue to mark the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. At the core of this issue is a collection of essays called "The United Nations at Seventy-Five: Looking Back to Look Forward." The collection contains contributions from David Malone and Adam DayEllen J. Ravndal, Ramesh Thakur, Maria Ivanova, Bertrand Ramcharan, and others. 

The full issue has open access for a limited time and can be accessed here

 Book on Security Council Veto Power by CGA's Professor Trahan Wins Award

Professor Trahan's book, Existing Legal Limits to Security Council Veto Power in the Face of Atrocity Crimes (CUP 2020) won the prestigious 2020 American Branch of the International Law Association Book of the Year Award. Her book was launched (virtually) by a distinguished panel at the United Nations, including Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell, former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel to the United Nations, and Professor Roger S. Clark, Board of Governors Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School. CGA Professor and Founder & former Executive Director of Justice Rapid Response, Andras Vamos-Goldman, moderated. The launch was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica, The Netherlands, and Sierra Leone to the United Nation, and Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA). 


Geneva Peace Week 


November 2nd - 6th
This year, the thematic focus of the week is "Rebuilding trust after disruption: Pathways to reset international cooperation". Geneva Peace Week 2020 (GPW20) aims to galvanize leadership, build trust and contribute to transforming international cooperation in the wake of COVID-19. Click here for more information and to register. 


Future of Development with Amartya Sen


November 12th, 12pm-1pm EST
UNDP will host Professor Amartya Sen—who introduced the concept of development as human freedom—for its inaugural UNDP Future of Development conversation. Click here to join the conversation and for more details.


Careers in Global Affairs: Let's Talk About the UN

December 11th, 12pm-1pm EST
Hosted by CGA Academic Director, Dr. Carolyn Kissane, this event will be  a conversation with CGA alumni and faculty about how to navigate specific global job markets and to learn how CGA’s graduate programs and academic specializations prepare students for jobs in the global arena. Dr. Kissane will chat with CGA alumni working across all facets of United Nations. Stay tuned for the for the upcoming panelist announcement! Click here to register. 

UN General Assembly Virtual Guide

Use this calendar to browse, register, and watch official and unofficial events around the 75th UN General Assembly. Click here to access the guide.

UN Security Council Calendar


To keep up with Security Council meetings and topics, check out this calendar that updated with each month's agenda. 



Jordan Quinn

Before graduating from CGA this spring, I had the opportunity to join Professor Oppenheimer and CGA in a consulting practicum with the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate at the United Nations. The mandate for this particular CTED practicum was to examine promising approaches for the identification, measurement, and anticipation of underrepresented forms of violent extremism (VE). This practicum, along with a course on the United Nations, allowed me to develop a greater understanding and exposure to the UN system, goals and day-to-day workings.

Participating in lively discussion and analysis of challenges and trends at the UN strengthened my skills in conducting research, drafting proposals and confidence to share findings and opinion on international developments.

Sameen Zehra

Taking ‘The UN & 21st Century Challenges’ course this past spring was probably one of the best decisions I made in my final semester at CGA. 

Following the course, I began working as a Consultant for the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), which focuses on supporting local women peacebuilders around the world. ICAN connects women on the frontlines of conflict prevention and resolution to international decision-makers, funding, capacity-building resources, and each other via its Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL). 

If you are interested in the work of ICAN check out some of the following links: 
Follow @whatthewomensay on social media


UN Day Quiz


Think you know all about the UN? Test your knowledge with this quiz developed by the UN75 Office and Kahoot. 


Story of the Origins of the UN Emblem


Have you ever curious about the origin story of the UN emblem? Check out this informative recollection written by Donal McLaughlin, the Chief of Graphics of the Office of Strategic Services, about the story of the emblem and the 1945 UN Conference. 



International Peace Institute- Editorial Intern: 

This internship is situated within IPI’s publications team to assist the Editor in producing and disseminating IPI books, policy papers, issue briefs, and related materials at IPI’s headquarters in New York City. The application deadline is November 15th. Click here for details & to apply. 


International Peace Institute- Women, Peace, and Security Intern: 

This internship is situated in IPI’s WPS Program, which covers IPI’s work on the full spectrum of women’s rights and roles in peace and security, including conflict prevention, mediation, peace operations, peacebuilding and sustaining peace. Click here for details & to apply. 

Center on International Cooperation- Senior Policy Analyst: 

CIC seeks a Senior Policy Analyst (Research Scientist) on equality, inclusion and anti-discrimination to work for its Grand Challenge on inequality and exclusion, as part of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. Click here for details & to apply. 
United Nations Internship- Human Rights:

The intern shall support OHCHR in fulfilling its mission: to work for the protection of all human rights for all people; to help empower people to realize their rights; and to assist those responsible for upholding such rights in ensuring that they are implemented. This position is unpaid. Click here for more details & to apply. 

United Nations Internship- Public Information:

The Internship is in the Outreach Division of the Department of Global Communications. It is for a period of two months with an opportunity for extension up to six months, depending on the needs of the division and availability of the candidate. This position is unpaid. Click here for more details & to apply. 

United Nations Internship- Public Information:

The intern will work in the Office of the Police Adviser in the United Nations Police Division, Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI) within the Department of Peace Operations (DPO). This position is unpaid. Click here for more details & to apply. 

Stay connected by following us on Twitter and joining our LinkedIn group

Copyright © 2020 UN Initiative at the Center for Global Affairs, All rights reserved.

This newsletter is compiled by Michaela Millender.

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