05 November 2020

The UN: fit for another 75 years…or extinct in 5?

On October 28, the Graduate Institute organised, in partnership with SWI, Genève Vision and RTS, a special edition of the podcast Inside Geneva discussing the highs and lows of the United Nations (UN) over 75 years and reflecting on the UN's future.

Imogen Foulkes, Geneva correspondent for SWI and host of Inside Geneva, moderated the discussion with Professor Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Chair of the Department of International History at the Institute Daniel Warner, Analyst and Political Scientist; and Mallika Goel, master candidate in International Affairs at the Institute.

According to Professor Mohamedou, the COVID-19 crisis “is a challenge of novelty. The United Nations is not necessarily a place where innovation has historically been a place of investment”.  

In his view, the centrality of states within the UN system “is not necessarily intrinsic of how the world works today” and should include non-state actors, such as civil societies and the corporate world. The UN uses the right language to include the youth, issues of racism and diversity, however, when looking at the facts, he continued: “there is a big gap between something that is declamatory and something performative”.

Mallika Goel underlined that “the average age of an MP [member of Parliament] is 53, while half of the global population is less than 30 years old”. She claimed that “the UN must strive to create opportunities to bridge this gap. It must strive to move beyond high-minded rhetoric and produce actual results through a bottom up approach, which gives a voice to the people that its decisions will ultimately be affecting”.

This episode is available to listen to or download on the SWI website, or you can subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.


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