Laurel Stone is an MA candidate at the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations. She is a Senior Editor of The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy, and a research intern at the World Policy Institute.
Last December, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the area devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. In his official press release, the secretary-general declared, “We must not allow this to be another forgotten crisis.” Even though Typhoon Haiyan occurred three months ago, the reconstruction needed to move the country from a disaster zone to a disaster-resilient community will take years. Acknowledging this, the UN continues to urgently call for international support to keep the focus on the Philippines’ needs, as international attention shifts to other crises around the world.
In a world in which one billion of the total population is comprised of youth ages 15-24, the United Nations recognizes the importance of engaging this age group in finding solutions for global problems. The increasing global connection through social media platforms places youth at a critical advantage for mobilizing change to diverse challenges around the world.
The United Nations is commemorating the 19th anniversary of the genocide that claimed the lives of over 800,000 Rwandese. In a press release announcing the commemoration ceremony, UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon declared, “The United Nations works every day to learn the lessons of Rwanda and to prevent any recurrence of such horror.” Remembering the past brings an awareness of the abhorrent devastation a country can experience, but this remembering must come with a sense of urgency to produce policy plans to prevent such atrocities.
This week, the 57th Commission on the Status of Women is meeting at UN Headquarters in New York. Since the commission’s founding in 1946, the security and empowerment of women around the world have been critical issues, both for the UN and civil society at large. Women represent over half of the world’s population, yet gender-based discrimination and violence, paired with a lack of basic resources like health and education, continue to keep women from reaching their full potential.