The United Nations has never been the most popular or well understood body in the United States, nor the rest of the world. Hesitant at some points to definitively act (Rwanda, Serbia) and seemingly impotent at other times (the entire Iraq war controversy), the UN is both distrusted and looked upon to make some sense in a constantly conflicted world. How can the UN walk a fine line in sanctioned operations like in Libya, where the official goal is protect Libyan civilians but the unstated purpose seems to be getting rid of Muammar Gaddafi? Did the UN act quickly enough to stop bloodshed in the Ivory Coast after a disputed presidential election turned bloody? How will the body handle a potentially inflammatory vote to recognize a state of Palestine expected to come in September? We get an insider’s view on the complicated tight wire act that is communicating the agenda and decisions of the United Nations from their director of communications who not long ago used to be on the other end of this equation, reporting on the UN for Newsweek.
Michael Meyer, communications director & chief speech writer for the Secretary-General, United Nations; member of the Council on Foreign Relations; former Europe Editor for Newsweek International