When: April 21st 2016
Where: Regents Room,
Topic: UN Past, Present, & Future
After a full day of UN festivities my fellow LEAFers and I met at 6pm on Thursday April 21st to celebrate the 70th year of the UN’s anniversary/survival. Over melting cherry cheesecake and a distinctly orange pork roast, we were addressed by CUNY’s own Dr. Thomas Weiss, a Carnegie Fellow and 2016 Distinguished IO Scholar. Dr. Weiss remarks ranged from the infancy of the United Nations to what he refers to as the “third UN,” the modern-day, evolved United Nations. Though a proponent of the UN, Weiss did not hesitate from criticizing the flaws of the organization and emphasized the present necessity of actively inclusive changes within the UN’s structure.
Throughout his speech Weiss focused on instances of UN humanitarian intervention, reflecting on the NATO Bosnia-Herzegovina intervention and the lack of UN intervention in Rwanda. Weiss remarked on the pros and cons of UN intervention out for a solid hour and alluded to his 1999 project, both explained by Weiss as points of reference that demonstrate an evolving United Nations. Weiss concluded his speech with the belief that the UN is at a critical point in its existence; UN adaptation and inclusivity are necessary to keep the organization active and capable in the near future.
Weiss made very good points in his speech. Having taken the Model UN class here at OU, I studied the UN (not to the same depth obviously) but was very confused when I learned the makeup of the UN Security Council. In my class we debated the same points that Weiss made: adding more members to the UNSC would allow for more diversity but would they get the veto power as well– or would the original 5 have to give up said veto power, which would never happen? Does the UNSC even have any authentic power and/or ability to arm UN countries? Is that even something that should be allowed? The bureaucratic model of the UN also lessens the organizations’ efficacy, but also allows for clear processes and more inclusion. So, in fewer words, we found that the UN is a globally bureaucratic mess. Weiss’ presentation said so but also had more than a dash of optimism for the future of the organization.