Blog Archives

Bon Appetit: Cuisine and Conversation with UNA-GB’s Young Professionals

On Tuesday, May 7, UNA-GB Young Professionals (YP) said “bon appetit” with 25 young professionals of Boston at their bi-monthly Taste Of series. While sipping on French wine, authentic cheeses, hor’ dourves, and desserts at  Petit Robert Central Bistro attendees discussed the culture and current events of France. The hot topic of the night was the recent presidential election in France.

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Dominique Thomas, a student from France, gave insight on Francois Hollande defeating Nicolas Sarkozy in the election that gained worldwide coverage.  Hollande won 51.9 to Sarkozy’s 48.1 with 80 percent of the French population voting. Hollande, the first socialist president in almost two decades, could alter the future of the European Union.

Dan Sullivan, YP Leadership Board

Dan Sullivan, a YP leadership board member, educated the group on the relationship between France and the United Nations. France is one of 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. France is present in 10 of the current 15 peacekeeping operations including Afghanistan and Lebanon.

A game of trivia was played for those who were not so familiar with their French facts.  France ranks second among host countries for the Olympics with five, falling behind the US who has hosted the games eight times. France ranks first with Nobel Prize in Literature with twelve.

The evening ended with further discussion on French topics and a chance to network with other young professionals of Boston. Please stay posted for the UNA-GB next event at the end of July! Stay updated through Facebook and Twitter!

Santé!

-Olivia

Round Two For Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon?

Just a few days ago, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon officially requested his consideration for a second term as Secretary-General of the United Nations by the UN Security Council and was decided by the UN General Assembly as a candidate.

Ban Ki-moon started his position on January 1, 2007, after having a variety of different government roles and international roles as a Republic of Korea national.  Ki-moon began working at the United Nations in 1975, as a member of the Foreign Ministry’s United Nations Division, followed by many different roles over the years within the organization, before attaining the top position.

Today as Secretary-General to the UN, Ban Ki-moon’s role is to represent the United Nations at a global level and to serve as the “chief administrative officer”. He serves as a global representative, focusing specifically on those in need and the missions to assist through the services of the United Nations. The role of Secretary-General of the United Nations is the top position of the United Nations that focuses on administration of the services, hiring of employees, and overseeing peacekeeping missions and mediation whenever there is conflict. Currently there is no limit to how many terms a Secretary-General can have – however, no Secretary-General has served for more than two terms so far, so his bid is well-placed and was to be expected.

Many are in support of his re-election, including European Commission President Barroso, the US, Britain, China, KoreaFrance, and Nigeria, just to name a few.  In fact, with the support of Russia, he has the support of the five permanent and veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council (US, Great Britain, Russia, China and France). His term so far has been full of determination- he has led with drastic and successful efforts in educating nations about issues of climate control and change specifically in developing countries. These efforts have been shown through the UN Climate Change Conferences, with the most recent one in Cancun in 2010. This conference worked towards gaining support from nations around climate control and also created the ‘Green Bank’ to fund the discussed possible changes at the Copenhagen conference the year before that had resulted in the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund. Of particular note was his success at gaining the support of the US and China in the climate talks, where they weren’t as active before.  Ban also said this week that he was proud that the UN under his guidance had saved many lives and had sown “the seeds of peace” in conflicts ranging from Sudan and Somalia to Congo and Cote d’Ivoire.

Considering his success so far, he has also been criticized for not being direct in what he looks to get done and is known to stay within his comfort zone or “inner circle” of employees within the United Nations Headquarters.  It has been suggested that his intentions are good as a leader, but his strategies may need to change in order to have outcome.  Looking ahead to the future and likelihood of his second-term bid, there are questions about his laid-back leadership personality and positive outlook on achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline. The UN is concerned about the suffering global economy’s effects on the potential for each goal to be met. Also, with the 30th Anniversary of the AIDS disease just honored, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon makes another future goal to end AIDS by 2020, a goal that is said to be realistic but will require a lot of effort.

For now, the question remains could Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon be caught singing “Ban Ki-moon is Coming to Town” in front of UN correspondents, for a second time?  Time will tell.  We look forward in anticipation as the inspirational global leader with a pinch of humor hopes for a second term.

-Cara