UN Ranges from
Shanghai Expo to Literacy Lunch, UNESCO's Friendly Face
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
October 7 -- Even with the UN
General Debate concluded, the wine and dine season of the UN is just
started. Things are always for a cause. Monday night, for example, the
was taken over by a promotion for the 2010 Expo in Shanghai, China. China's new Ambassador to the UN was there,
along with the highest UN official from China, Under Secretary General
with an entourage. The seal of the wider UN was delivered by Kiyo
the Department of Public Information, who praised the good working
between DPI and the Chinese mission.
UN staffer in attendance snarked,
"This is basically promotion." Well, yes.
China is a Permanent Five
member of the Security Council. Russia, too, was given space to promote
for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. At the Chinese event, the finger food
swept up as by locusts.
hours later, four floors in the Delegates Dining Room, an A List crowd
including Ambassadors of Egypt, Finland and Spain -- always ready to
the Observer of Palestine and two representatives of UNESCO, dined
during a speech ranging from literacy to AIDS. The press, lured to the
the promised later appearance of First Lady Laura Bush, sat in the
taking notes on the diplomats' table manners.
When last we met UNESCO, sponsor of the event, they
Tamil Tiger-affiliated groups from their human rights conference in
Before that, in July, a UNESCO-related body agreed to Cambodia's
request to list the
Vihear temples as a World Heritage site despite Thailand's protests,
followed by a military stand-off. The lunch appeared to be going more
as least as of this writing.
Another China exhibit, with USG Sha and Mr.
Ban, Laura Bush not shown
The head of UNESCO sent his apologies, he had to
attend to the member states on his Executive Board. They are discussing
process for selecting his successor. Perhaps
the interviews will include, how would
you have dealt with Preah Vihear, and the Paris conference issues?
The question for Laura Bush, assuming she accepts
one, is whether the
UN's Ban Ki-moon should even consider going to Myanmar unless Aung San
is released. Ban was asked the question at a press conference earlier
Tuesday, which will soon be reviewed on this site.
arrived and began speaking at 1:50 p.m., thanking among others the UN's
First Lady Mrs. Ban, long-time U.S. USG Joseph Verner Reed -- who it
should be noted is close to Ban's Myanmar envoy Ibrahim Gambari -- and
the Permanent Representative of Mongolia, a co-sponsor of the lunch.
The country's president recently met with Mongolian expatriates on the
second floor of the Millennium Hotel. He was asked, if Mongolia has so
many resources, why is it underdeveloped? He was not asked about
literacy, or this lunch. Laura Bush praised Mongolia for using radio
and CD-ROMs to promoting reading to nomadic herders. Who knew?
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
Reporter's mobile (and
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]