UN General Assembly Convenes High-Level Meetings of 66th Session in New York

Posted by Esther Brimmer
September 19, 2011
United Nations Headquarters Building

For one week every year, United Nations headquarters in New York City takes center stage in world events as the UN's General Assembly (also known as UNGA) opens and leaders from around the world meet to address the pressing issues of the day.

For diplomats, this is like the World Series, the World Cup, and the Olympics all in one. It's as exhausting as it is thrilling and hopefully, after months and months of intense preparation, we will be able to make a real difference in the days ahead.

UNGA is composed of all 193 countries of the United Nations. This year's agenda includes everything from nuclear safety to desertification and non-communicable diseases.

The United States is excited to play an important role in UNGA. When President Obama took office in 2009, he vowed to lead the United States back to the multilateral table. One way to do this is by successfully engaging in the international community whenever possible, including, and most especially, right here in the United Nations.

So, not only will President Obama be speaking, but Secretary Clinton, several cabinet secretaries and many State Department officials will also be in attendance. We will engage in as many of the official functions as possible as well as joining a number of private meetings on topics ranging from Haiti, Libya, and the Horn of Africa, to women in politics and agricultural development.

For me, as Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, UNGA is a unique opportunity to advance not only U.S. interests, but also the interests of women around the world whose voices remain unheard or the victims of diseases, such as cancer or diabetes. I am also able to build and expand my relationships with my counterparts in other countries so that if and when problems arise, I am already in a position to pick up a phone and reach out to a friend, not just a professional contact.

Obviously this will be a busy week but when we finally surface for air I expect that we will be extremely proud of our work here, just as we are proud of all of our efforts to map out more robust international and multilateral engagements.



Adri D.
September 19, 2011

Adri D. in Indonesia writes:

Okay thanks for updating guys

Hope everything goes well

September 19, 2011

Stephen A. in Nigeria writes:

The idea of coming together to discuss issues is a laudable, but taking drastic and urgent actions is much more important because lives are being lost everyday and the world is relatively unsafe anymore.

mohiuddin c.
September 19, 2011

Mohiuddin C. writes:

Every year, the General Assembly of the United Nations, the main deliberative, policymaking, and representative organ of the United Nations (UN), meets to discuss a full spectrum of issues covered by its charter. This year, you can be part of the action by joining one of the live, interactive webcasts taking place from September 19–24 in honor of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Mohiuddin C.

September 20, 2011

Akampa J. in Uganda writes:

It is good to hear that majority of our Leaders will come together to discuss issues and challenges affecting the world but mine is to request you to put more emphasis on the posterity as well, the youth need to be emancipated today not because they constitute the highest population percentage but because they can be more productive for today and posterity as much as women are being looked at.

Please I would be so glad if we could have Youth representatives like me attending the UNGA convention.Or sitting and forwarding our views and observations.

We Have a Role To Play To Re Shape Our World and make it better.

Hope my request shall be put under consideration.

Humble regards

United States
September 20, 2011

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

Discover for yourself who donated the UN building to the UN and you may understand why it was created - not to benefit the world but perhaps in revenge for a perceived injustice done long ago by the US government to an extremely wealthy family.

Our constitution creates the only form of government, a republic, under which our government exists. US membership in any other form of government would require amending our constitution. The UN has evolved into a quasi-government pretending to rule the world by UN resolutions and sanctions, none of which are lawful under the US constitution.

The constitution allows treaties to override all laws made by Congress and the states but cannot override the constitution itself, because the constitution cannot be amended or abolished except by its own terms.

The UN has no "official" proceedings because it is not a sovereign government, but a pretend or quasi-government. Everything done at the UN is un-official because it has no constitutional standing in American law.

Most Americans say the word "ISOLATIONIST" sure sounds good right now. Forget IMF, Forget NATO, Forget all of it ... bring our troops home, close all the foreign military bases. If foreign countries wants national security, they had better pay for it themselves. Build our own country first, before nation building missions in Iraq or Afghanistan. That's the most frequent comment today.

Americans want a country not a hollow shell ruled by UN bureaucratic decree and not smoking ruins from one war too many.

Americans do not want a UN government. The UN, which authorized wars in Iraq and Libya for no reason other than sovereign defiance of UN edicts, is un-American by design.

The history of the UN reveals more death and destruction than it has ever prevented. Just look at the body counts in these wars.

It takes a president to stop a war, not a UN vote, under our constitution. The UN is not a democracy as citizens of member nations have no popular vote on anything done at the UN.

Let's remember we are Americans, not Africans or Europeans and we have a constitution that makes us different from other cultures. Let's respect our own laws. Let's not jump into war merely because of a UN resolution.

New Mexico, USA
September 25, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

The idea of isolationism as a desirable US foreign policy (within American society) went the way of the flat Earth society in totality of the destruction of the notion at the end of WW2. The UN is the very byproduct of the alternate internationalist reality and vision of a changed world that was forced to hit the ground running diplomaticly in the post war reconstruction and stabilization efforts that brought the world a Europe and Japan, whole, free and at peace eventually.

No American is isolated from the world in this 24/7/365 news-cycled, globalized society humanity lives in today; nor with all the folks from all corners of the world coming here for vacation, education, or just to get away from an oppresive government in seeking asylum, telling their stories to us as they settle into being here and getting to interact with us, among us.

Just as Heads of State tell their nation's story to the UNGA, the human being is a social creature not prone to being isolated.

Though this government does its best to isolate anti-social behavior among nation's governments, and the methodology of sanction and chapter VII resolutions in the UNSC is a tool that the international community uses to instil dicipline among its member states, these things be not inconsistant with our constitution, for the UN in its founding was based on much of what our own founding documentation stood for in principal, if not carried over verbatim in the UN's Charter.

The effectiveness of the UN as an organization of States joined for the common purpose of maintaining peace and stability in a prosperous , functional political environment in which regional and glabal problems may be shared, debated, and a process of resolution initiated among its members is critical to humanity's survival, and those who would suggest otherwise have joined a very small clique of dead-enders like Aminidijad who object to the founding, purpose, and generally oppose everything the UN was created to do for humanity while complaining about how it doesn't fulfil its promise or mandate.

When it is easy to see that this very attitude is the biggest single motivational reason the UN hasn't performed as admirably as it could have in times past.

It's somewhat hard to prove a negative, but there's probably a few who would agree that without the fora of the UN to place global crisis in, the world would have gone to nuclear war a number of times by now, and simply because it is a product of the talkin' monkey, to err being human and all, there's a few who would claim that as no small miracle.

While some would seek to make the UN org. irrelevant...

"Today there is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. I feel that we've got to look at this total thing anew and recognize that we must live together. That the whole world now it is one--not only geographically but it has to become one in terms of brotherly concern. Whether we live in America or Asia or Africa we are all tied in a single garment of destiny and whatever effects one directly, effects one in-directly." -MLK, 1967

"Peace is hard." - Pres. Obama

He probably should have added that "it gets a lot harder when folks get politically stupid."



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