Commemorating UN Day With the Houston Community

Posted by Esther Brimmer
October 29, 2011
UN Charter Adopted in San Francisco in 1945

I just returned from a trip to Houston during which I met with a dynamic and diverse cross section of the Houston community over the course of two days. United Nations Day, which has been celebrated every October 24th since 1948, was the reason for my visit to Houston. It was only fitting that, on this 66th Anniversary, I travel to one of the United States' most multicultural, academic and business oriented cities to celebrate this important day. UN Day marks the anniversary of the date that the UN Charter entered into force in 1945; its creation represented the ambition of the nations of the world, who believed that by working through the UN, they could promote global peace and a common prosperity, advancing the mutual security of nations and the universal rights of all peoples.

A highlight of my visit to Houston was my attendance and participation in a United Nations Day reception and dinner hosted by the Houston Chapter of the United Nations Association of the USA, Rotary International, and the City of Houston. I had the pleasure of meeting over 150 members of the community, including the city's sizable consular corps, and making the case that U.S. leadership at the United Nations has never been more important. Some in Washington are intent on forcing U.S. retreat from that role, but a vast bipartisan majority of Americans disagree. Americans understand that addressing 21st century challenges, particularly the events and dynamics we have seen this year, in an effective and financially sound way will require continued U.S. leadership at the UN. In fact, U.S. leadership is most needed during this time of political transformation and economic concern.

During all of my other meetings I underscored the Obama Administrations opposition to attempts to use the UN as a venue for addressing final status issues, which must be decided in direct negotiations between the parties. Many of the community leaders and the students whom I met with have been watching global events unfold on the news and this was an issue that came up in all of my meetings.

I also had the opportunity to meet with the local chapter of the American Jewish Committee where I was able to further underscore that leadership at the UN also means defending our close ally, Israel, from efforts to delegitimize or isolate it. We must continue to lead globally and remain fully engaged at the UN in order to continue the hard work we have done to defend Israel across the UN system.

While in Houston, I visited two universities to discuss the important role multilateral diplomacy plays in advancing U.S. foreign policy goals. First, I visited the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University headed by Ambassador Edward Djerejian. I met with a group of students from the Baker Institute's student forum. I also had the opportunity to meet students and faculty at Texas Southern University to discuss some of the issues on which the Department of State is focused. It was truly rewarding to have the opportunity to answer some of the students' very tough questions and to encourage public service careers.

I ended my trip with a lunch discussion with members of Houston's Committee on Foreign Relations and the Council on Foreign Relations at which I stressed the importance of paying our dues on time and in full at the United Nations and its specialized agencies. I explained how President Obama's decision to pay our UN assessments in full has given us greater influence with our allies and partners on global issues. I pointed out that we are far more effective at achieving our policy goals at the UN when we have paid our dues in full and on time.

It was a pleasure to spend this UN Day in the bustling international city of Houston and to meet with Americans to explain how their diplomacy advances national security, economic prosperity and human rights globally.

Comments

Comments

plan85
October 29, 2011

W.W. writes:

UN DAY :

Today the UN has lost his legitimacy as much as Assad , Quaddafi , Greece and the spiritual Guide of the Violent Islam ..

Unfortunally the United Nation are NOT guaranteeing any basic common values for world population speculating on people Prosperity security and peace.

the organization leading since UN day one what is supposed to be a council, has failed in its mission to stand defending people right of Liberty Brotherhood and equality.

The UN today is under control of an hidden false prophet who likes to play god with people lives.

The intent is to identfy Him catch him and assure him to a Justice that still has to come on earth

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
November 1, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I would like to offer Victoria Nuland an objective and constructive assesment of the "sticky wicket" the press corps was valiently muddling through towards some hopeful point of understanding US policy, in regards to UNESCO and Palestinian efforts to obtain recognition by the international community.

I understand the Dept of State is required by law to cut funding in this case to any UN org, and it seems to me that the Palestinians are smart enough to know that "Statehood" is a lot more than just being a full-fledged member of international fora such as UNESCO and other UN bodies.

Which makes me think that they are also smart enough to have read our law, and are doing their best to isolate us from the international community; via the loophole of vulnerability Congress has provided for their manipulation, and serving Hamas and Iran's interest in the process via a required cut in funding that would undermine US security interests world-wide, including the funding for the Tsunami warning system.

I would agree this action by the Palestiniasns exacerbates tensions, as the press seemed pretty frustrated by what it saw as the illogic of shooting American interests in the foot like that and risking angering friends and allies alike..."regrettably" may be an understatement.

Now since I don't expect a comment on this, my intent is simply that someone from State pose the possibility to themselves that things may not always be what they appear, and there's more than one item on the Palestinian's agenda.

I think it would be highly useful to extend them "probationary status w/ voting rights" within international fora - so long as negotiations with Israel were entered into in a serious manner continiously from 30 days after the day such compromise is made so and enacted in aproval of membership, or any and all such probationary priviledges are withdrawn within 60 days from the date of any walk-out on those critical negotiations.

If UNESCO and it's members want progress towards two-state solutions, I think this is a better way to get that process started frankly...and maybe the only way to make this a performance based policy without having to cut off funding, if Congress were to issue a provisional waiver.

Hope this helps...

EJ

Reference;

"http://video.state.gov/en/top-stories/video/1253196555001/daily-press-br..."

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