Multilateralism and Its Discontents: The UN’s Relevance Today and the Future of Cooperation
Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens, Deputy CEO of the United Nations Foundation
Auditorium Ivan Pictet
Maison de la paix, Genève
It is no secret that the international system we have relied on for peace and progress for over 70 years is under strain and even under threat. Alliances are fraying, institutions are underdelivering, and the founding coalition of the UN has changed in ways that raise questions about the basis of cooperation in the future. What does the UN signify today, and how can it remain relevant? Has the UN’s failure to address genocide in Rwanda, ethnic conflict in Bosnia, and civil war in Syria, to name just three conflicts, eroded its credibility? How do citizens around the world perceive the UN, and do they view the UN as able to deal with the steep challenges the world faces now? How has resurgent nationalism affected the image and power of the UN? What are the prospects for revitalizing multilateralism at this moment of change?
Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens has been at the forefront of global policymaking and innovation for over 20 years. Currently serving as Deputy CEO of the United Nations Foundation, where she oversees all the Foundation’s work in policy, advocacy, and communications, she has worked on the frontlines of peace processes, played an influential role in shaping UN policy innovation from the “responsibility to protect” to peacebuilding, and is a seasoned observer of international politics. She served for several years at the U.S. Mission to the UN in New York, including as the U.S. Ambassador to ECOSOC, and she led U.S. negotiations on the SDGs.
Moderator: Nico Krisch, Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Global Governance Centre, The Graduate Institute, Geneva
This conference is part of the “Women in World Affairs” lectures series which is organised by the Institute and the Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations to showcase the achievements of prominent American women, from different sectors and backgrounds, in world affairs.
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