UN-Scripted

UN-Scripted

A podcast taking you inside the United Nations and beyond the carefully written policy speeches to where the real work is being done: the unscripted debates on the most pressing issues of our time. Hosted by PassBlue reporters Kacie Candela and Stephanie Fillion. Available on iTunes, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts. PassBlue is an independent, women-led digital publication offering in-depth journalism on the US-UN relationship and its effects on women’s issues, human rights, peacekeeping and other urgent global matters, as reported from our base in the UN press corps. Founded in 2011, PassBlue is a project of the New School, and not tied financially or otherwise to the UN.

Episodes

August 2, 2021 28 min
As India assumes the Security Council presidency in August, it seeks to show the world that it deserves a permanent seat at the horseshoe table. On this episode, we are joined by Indian Ambassador to the UN, T.S. Tirumurti, as well as foreign policy expert Mohamed Zeeshan. Zeeshan is a staff writer at the Diplomat, a foreign affairs publication, and has written a book called, "Flying Blind: India’s Quest for Global Leadership.&...
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France takes over the presidency of the Security Council at a major turning point in its foreign policy: it has announced it is scaling down its long military presence in West Africa. Also this month: France hosts the final Generation Equality Forum, in Paris. We talk to French Deputy Permanent Representative Nathalie Broadhurst and a French political scientist, Franck Petiteville, of Sciences Po University, about what the change o...
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May 31, 2021 21 min
On this episode, we have a very special guest: Eva-Maria Liimets, Estonia's foreign minister, as well as Estonian ambassador to the UN, Sven Jurgenson, who assumes the Security Council presidency in June. Estonia is the only country in the world that is not a monarchy that is led by a woman president and a woman prime minister. We discuss how women have assumed top roles in Estonia's government, its agenda for the month of ...
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China assumes the presidency of the UN Security Council for May, trying to control the narrative around the Covid-19 pandemic, Myanmar and human rights all in one month, in a packed agenda. In this episode, you’ll hear from Dr. Rosemary Foot, an Oxford professor who has recently published a book titled "China, the UN, and Human Protection: Beliefs, Power, Image." We also talk with Peter Irwin, a program officer at the Uighu...
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As Vietnam assumes the UN Security Council presidency, harsh crackdowns by the Myanmar military continue in the country after the Feb. 1 coup d’état. And since Vietnam presented itself as a "bridge builder" when it joined the Council in January 2020, its ability to bring the 14 other members together on specifically preventing further atrocities in Myanmar will be rigorously tested this month. We talk about the challenges w...
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The newly arrived American ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, hits the ground sprinting as she assumes the presidency of the Security Council in March. On today's episode, we speak with retired Ambassador Ruth A. Davis, one of the ambassador's longtime mentors; Peter Yeo, President of the Better World Campaign and Senior Vice President at the United Nations Foundation; and Mark Ballard, reporter for the Louisian...
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Britain assumes the Security Council in February with a new ambassador: Permanent Representative Barbara Woodward, who was most recently her country's ambassador to China. In this episode, she shares how her new job compares with working in Beijing and how staying fit helps her get through tense diplomatic negotiations, wherever she lives. Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the International Crisis Group and a popular, witty comment...
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It has been 10 years since the Arab Spring, which started in Tunisia in 2011 and forced the exile of its president and strongman, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Now, a democratic Tunisia assumes the UN Security Council rotating presidency in January as an elected member. To discuss Tunisia's priorities and diplomatic strategy, we are joined by Tunisia’s ambassador to the UN, Tarek Ladeb, and Youssef Cherif, director of Columbia Unive...
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PassBlue is a non-profit media site, and we depend on your generous donations to help us report on important stories about the UN. In December, PassBlue takes part in NewsMatch, a national matching-gift campaign that drives donations to nonprofit newsrooms. If you give today at https://www.newsmatch.org/organizations/passblue, NewsMatch doubles your donation, up to $5,000. For a nonprofit like us, this is a big deal and will help u...
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“America is back”: In this episode, we detail the challenges the new White House faces to fully commit to the UN again, including rejoining all the UN entities and agreements it left, resigned from or defunded under the Trump administration, like the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization. To sort it all out, we ask three experts: Larry Johnson, a professor at Columbia Law School and a former legal affairs expert at the ...
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St. Vincent and the Grenadines, an island nation in the Caribbean, is the smallest country ever elected to the Security Council, and this month, it assumes the Council Presidency for the first time. There is nothing conventional about the country’s ambassador, Rhonda King. On this episode, she shares with us her government’s sometimes confusing foreign policy; how getting cancer inspired her to leave her accounting career and becom...
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The Nobel Committee awarded the World Food Program a Nobel Peace Prize this month, for 2020. This is the UN system's 12th time winning the world's highest recognition for peace, and it comes as the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. PassBlue contributor Clair MacDougall shares with us how David Beasley, the Executive Director of the WFP, reacted to finding out about the win on his tour of the Sahel region of Afri...
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Russia has a new deputy ambassador at its UN mission in New York: Anna Evstigneeva, the first woman to hold the position there. Evistgneeva, who originally hails from St. Petersburg, gives us her take on Russia's Security Council presidency this month as the Council tackles high-stakes topics such as the expiration of the arms embargo on Iran and the aftermath of a military coup in Mali. We also chat with Anton Barbashin, the e...
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On Sept. 21, 2020, the United Nations opens the 75th General Assembly session. But this year's debate will be unlike any other. As the Covid-19 pandemic still rages and because travel restrictions remain in effect in New York City, the usual retinue of heads of state and their delegates will be mostly staying home –– sending video speeches instead. We chat with an e-diplomacy expert, Jovan Kurbalija, of the Maltese nonprofit or...
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Niger assumes the Security Council presidency this month, bringing the voice of Africa’s Sahel region to the body as it and its neighbors battle terrorism and chronic instability in the region. On the show, we talk with Ambassador Abdou Abarry about the country's plans for the Council, especially as the United States triggers the snapback provision of the Iran nuclear deal, and Michael Shurkin, an American expert on West Africa...
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As the world unites to help Lebanon recover from a blast that decimated parts of its capital on Aug. 4 and killed nearly 200 people, some powerful members of the Security Council in New York are arguing over the mandate renewal of the UN's peacekeeping mission in the country, UNIFIL. On today's show, we talk to Ambassador Amal Mudallali, the ambassador of Lebanon to the UN, about her hopes for the relief effort and the futu...
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Indonesia assumes the Security Council presidency this month, and two big items are on its agenda: burgeoning its role as a 'bridge builder' between small and large powers on the Council, and transitioning the Council to in-person voting on Council resolutions. On today's show, we hear from Indonesian Ambassador to the UN, Dian Triansyah Djani, as well as Dr. Moch Faisal Karim, Assistant Professor in International Relat...
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July 21, 2020 16 min
It is no secret that the global economy has taken a major hit from Covid-19. While graduations from universities, colleges and other schools were canceled or moved online, there is still an entire class of young people entering the job market who are passionate about multilateralism, global development, human rights and sustainability. But how can they land a coveted, highly competitive entry-level job at the United Nations or a re...
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Germany is regarded as one of the most powerful defenders of multilateralism in the world right now and has largely resisted the current global wave of populism and isolationism. But Chancellor Angela Merkel, the face of Germany since 2005, is retiring in 2021. What role will the country play on the world stage without her? As Germany begins its last presidency of the Security Council in its two-year term in July, Ambassador Christ...
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Happy Birthday, UN Charter! As the United Nations turns 75, UN-Scripted looks at the past, present and future of the organization through the sharp eyes of elders and youth. In this episode, you’ll hear from former heads of states, diplomats and United Nations officials on what they believe are the UN’s greatest accomplishments and the path ahead for the organization. In this episode, you'll hear strong, controversial opinio...
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