The Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) hosted its 51st U.S. Congressional Delegation to the United Nations on November 17, 2017. Three Members of Congress participated in a series of meetings and briefings with senior U.N. officials (see participant list below).
The delegation arrived in New York on the evening of November 16 and was hosted by HDI Board Director, Mark L. Epstein at a working dinner at his residence. Participants were joined by diplomats and others to discuss the relevance of Humpty Dumpty’s U.N. programs and their goal of promoting dialogue between the U.N. and the U.S. Congress. On Friday, November 17 the group started the day with a breakfast at the United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN). Deputy Permanent Representative, Ambassador Michele J. Sison, briefed the Members on USUN’s structure and mission. Ambassador Sison also spoke about the ongoing political and refugee crises around the world in the context of the U.N. The discussion was followed by a question and answer session during which the participants raised questions on peacekeeping operations, U.N. oversight and reform, the Syrian conflict, and the fight against ISIS.
The day’s program continued at the United Nations Headquarters with a series of briefings. The first briefing was given by Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs (DPA), and focused on the U.N. Department of Political Affairs and its mission, as well as ongoing reform process under Secretary-General António Guterres. Mr. Feltman discussed the importance of preventative diplomacy and how the United Nations acts as a mediator in conflict situations. Mr. Feltman discussed the latest of DPA efforts in Gambia, Zimbabwe and Colombia.
Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination from the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, next joined the participants to discuss the Secretary General’s priorities. Mr. Hochschild reiterated the importance of U.S. support of the United Nations and thanked the Members of Congress for their visit. He followed the discussion with overview of peacekeeping, humanitarian, and development assistance efforts. Mr. Hochschild then discussed the milestone agreement reached by all Members States known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mr. Hochschild finished by highlighting reform and recalibration efforts within the U.N.
The next briefing was by Deputy Assistant Administrator Gülden Türköz-Cosslett and Sarah Poole of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Ms. Gulden started with an overview of UNDP mission which operates in 173 countries worldwide. Ms. Gulden explained how UNDP works with local government agencies and civil society organizations to help eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable models of governance. Ms. Poole continued and discussed UNDP’s development of interconnections to address global challenges, and particularly how the SDGs relate to the agencies work as a global platform for development. Ms. Gulden and Ms. Poole also discussed UNDPs work in promoting gender equality.
The day concluded with the participants proceeding to a working lunch at the U.N. Delegates’ Dining Room. HDI’s Executive Director Joseph Merante addressed the lunch guests and introduced Mr. Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Director of the Programme Division. Mr. Chaiban discussed how UNICEF educates young women. He also stressed the importance teacher education and the challenges of access to education related to poverty, poor governance, and conflict. Over 120 million of people in the world still do not have access to basic education.
Hon. Bobby L. Rush (IL)
Hon. Anthony G. Brown (MD)
Hon. Salud O. Carbajal (CA)