April 28, 2008
HDI Hosts Senate Foreign Relations Committee Staff
On Friday, April 25, 2008 the Humpty Dumpty Institute hosted a delegation of ten staffers from the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the U.S. Congressional Research Office (see photos on right). The delegation attended briefings on a wide range of issues including Iraq, climate change, and U.N. peacekeeping activities.
The day began with a working breakfast at the United States Mission to the United Nations. U.S. Deputy Permanent representative Alejandro Wolff discussed U.S. priority issues within the U.N. system and the need for the U.S. Congress to remain engaged in the multilateral arena. The breakfast was followed by briefings at United Nations Headquarters by David Harland of the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations and followed by Lisa Buttenheim of the U.N. Department of Political Affairs. The morning session concluded with an in depth review of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s two priority issues, climate change and counterterrorism, by Assistant Secretary General Robert Orr. Dr. Orr described the complexities involved in the unprecedented climate change negotiations and addressed the groundbreaking General Assembly resolutions on counterterrorism.
The delegation proceeded to lunch at the U.N. Delegates Dining Room where they were given a presentation by six members of the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission. The conversation centered on the Commission’s current work in east Timor and Guinea Bissau.
After lunch, the staffers heard from Robert Appleton, Chief of the procurement Task Force. Mr. Appleton gave a candid presentation on oversight relating to U.N. procurement activities and how his task force is striving to achieve transparency within the system. The meeting provided an off the record opportunity for a frank exchange of views and ended with the staffers discussing ways that Congress’ concerns over inappropriate procurement activities could be addressed.