Sunday January 10 is the 75th anniversary of the opening meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, at Church House, Westminster in 1945. To mark the occasion, the former Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and former British Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Sir Peter Marshall, has produced a remarkable overview of the history of, and case for, the UN.
Eminently readable and not intended as an academic treatise, it rehearses with fascinating detail and insight how the UN came about, how prominent nations of the then British Empire contributed to the process, and the case for multilateralism today. Indeed it serves to emphasise how sparse has been serious British academic study of the UN. For those of us for whom international co-operation was and is the abiding ideal it is truly a tonic. And it could hardly appear at a more opportune time, as President Biden’s nominee for US Ambassador to the UN in New York, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has announced ‘Multilateralism is back’.
The essay is highly recommended reading for BAFUNCS members and the wider public alike. It is also to be found on the website of the Westminster branch of UNA.
NB The United Nations Association has invited the public to join in 'We the Peoples: In conversation with the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres," live on UN Web TV on Sunday 10 January from 5pm to 6pm GMT.
Bill Jackson, UN Career Records Project