This initiative seeks to examine U.S.-UN relations, shared interests, and prospects for strengthening this partnership during this period of extraordinary international change.

In the first meeting between President Obama and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Obama signaled that the new administration is committed to multilateral approaches for a variety of global challenges. He stated, “The United Nations can be an extraordinarily constructive, important partner in bringing about peace and stability and security to people around the world.” The U.S.-UN Forum is dedicated to assessing the contours, opportunities, and challenges of this constructive partnership.

Each session of the U.S.-UN Forum examines a different aspect of this relationship, bringing together U.S. government officials, UN officials, leading scholars, and non-governmental experts in a private, non-partisan setting.

The inaugural meeting of the U.S.-UN Forum was held on April 3, 2009, and featured Jan Eliasson, former President of the UN General Assembly and former Foreign Minister of Sweden; B. Lynn Pascoe, Undersecretary General for Political Affairs, United Nations; and Thomas Pickering, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. The meeting examined some of the questions regarding this new engagement: What are the top priorities for this renewed partnership? Can the Obama Administration fulfill the global expectations for its multilateral agenda? Do both the United States and the United Nations have the will and capacity for engagement? 

Future meetings of the U.S.-UN Forum will focus on other critical topics including peacekeeping, peacebuilding, UN reform, non-proliferation, humanitarian assistance, human rights, development, climate change, global health.

USIP facilitated the work of the bipartisan Task Force on the United Nations which was co-chaired by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.  The Institute also collaborates on a wide range of peace and security issues with several UN departments, agencies, offices and programs.

The U.S.-UN Forum is directed by Abiodun Williams, Vice President of USIP’s Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention.

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