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Panel Discussion on the Future of the UN

Thursday 22 October 2020, 20:00 - 21:30

The United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary at a time of great disruption for the world, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis with severe economic and social impacts. Will we emerge stronger and better equipped to work together? Or will distrust and isolation grow further? 2020 must be a year of dialogue, when we come together to discuss our priorities as a human family, and how we can build a better future for all. 

To observe 75 years of Freedom and celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the UN, SIB-Groningen is co-organising a series of discussions around themes related to the United Nations, the second of which has been arranged in collaboration with Forum Groningen. Together with the Forum we have prepared for 4 expert speakers to share their perspectives on how the UN will develop in the coming decades. Over the past 75 years, the UN has sought to maintain international peace and uphold international norms, but it remains to be seen whether it will still fulfill the same functions another 75 years into the future. Will our descendants be able to look back and celebrate 150 years of peace guided by the UN?

Of course, we cannot know for certain how the next few decades will develop, however, experts can help us make educated guesses. Which is why, on the 22nd we will joined by 2 speakers who have experienced the inner workings of the UN, and 2 speakers who have long researched the workings of the UN. For the first half of the panel-discussion we will be hosting His Excellency, ambassador Karel van Oosterom, former Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the UNSC, and the honourable Henk-Jan Brinkman, Chief of Peacebuilding Strategy and Partnerships at the UN. Due to the difficulties with travelling internationally they will be joining us through a conference call from their offices in London and New York respectively. For the second half of the panel-discussion we will be joined in person by Dr. Alanna O’Malley, Chair of United Nations Studies in Peace and Justice at Leiden University and historian specialised in the United Nations, decolonization, Congo and the Cold War, and Dr. AndrĂ© de Hoogh, Member of the Advisory Committee on Issues of Public International Law of the Netherlands and coordinator of the UN Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement course at the University of Groningen.

Guided by a moderator, our speakers will be going into discussion about how the UN will likely continue to function into the future in its different spheres of competence. During the discussion we will seek to address three of the most important functions of the UN, and how its role in each area may develop in the coming decades. We aim to cover the purpose of the UN as a forum for dialogue and diplomacy, its role in protecting fundamental freedoms, and its function in promoting sustainable development. As we are experiencing continued conflicts across the world, seeing sustained human rights abusers, and a dramatic increase in natural disasters due to climate change, the UN will be strained to adequately respond in the future. We can only hope that the world will come together to face the coming crises, and ask the experts to see whether such hopes are well founded.

If you want to ask the speakers your questions you can attend this hybrid panel discussion in person at the Rabo Studio of Forum Groningen.  SIB-Members can sign up separately here, since we have a certain number of seats reserved for our association, for non-members tickets are available on the website of the Forum shortly. Otherwise, if you have any health complications or can’t be there in person, the panel discussion will also be livestreamed here.


Thursday 22 October 2020
20:00 - 21:30
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