UN-Scripted

UN-Scripted

A monthly 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 Banjo Damilola. 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 3, 2022 28 min
As Council president in August, China wants to keep the UN body "cool" -- literally and figuratively -- by navigating the fine line of maintaining its closeness to Russia while not souring relations too much with the West, discussing global "security" without mentioning any of its own human-rights problems and regional territorial claims and championing a no-tie look and distributing Chinese fans to Council ambassad...
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As Brazil assumes the presidency in July, we talk with Ambassador Ronaldo Costa about his country's foreign policy priorities this month and how President Jair Bolsonaro's inflammatory rhetoric has affected its diplomacy at the UN. We also ask Costa and Adriana Abdenur, a climate change and policy expert based in Rio, about the shrinking Amazon rainforest. Links: PassBlue's website: www.passblue.com Twitter: @pass_...
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Albania is a small, Sunni Majority country that has successfully kept religion out of its politics and allowed the practice of other faiths besides Islam. It is also a country scarred by invasions, autocracy and institutional breakdowns. But the NATO member and EU-hopeful has risen to become a strong voice in the Balkans. Its elected two-year term in the UN Security Council began in January, and in June, it is Council president, br...
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The United States assumes the Security Council presidency in May, as it also leads efforts to continue to isolate Russia in the UN for its war in Ukraine. On this episode, we hear from US envoy to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield about the country's signature events in the Council, and chat with Thomas G. Weiss, leading American academic on the UN and Presidential Professor of Political Science and Director Emeritus of the Ralph ...
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In April, the UK leads a Security Council that is inevitably prevented from taking meaningful action on Ukraine by Russia's veto. We are joined by UK Deputy Permanent Representative James Kariuki, who shares how the UK aims to minimize Russia's misinformation in the Council and the UK's signature events this month, on ending sexual violence in wars and on getting Covid-19 vaccines in conflict zones. We also chat with Ma...
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The United Arab Emirates assumes the Security Council presidency in March at a time when the body finds itself powerless to overcome Russia's veto and take any real action on Ukraine. We talk with Emirati Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh as well as Dr. Sanam Vakil, Deputy Head of Chatham House's Middle East and North Africa Program, about the UAE's foreign policy priorities as Council president, its abstention on the recent vo...
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As Russia assumes the Security Council presidency in February, international tensions are high over the country's military buildup at the Ukraine border. On this episode, we look at how Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea could offer insights into the Council's ability -- or inability -- to address the current crisis and whether China will choose a side: the West or Russia? We talk with Russia's Deputy UN Ambassador ...
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Norway’s New Year's resolutions are to make an indelible mark during its only Security Council presidency of its 2021-22 term while monitoring emerging and existing conflicts that threaten international peace and security. We talk with Ambassador Mona Juul, whose pivotal role in the Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization was recently portrayed in the HBO movie "Oslo." We also chat wi...
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Niger ends its two-year term in the UN Security Council as president of the body for a second time. A lot has changed in the world, in the Sahel region of Africa and in Niger since the country joined the Council in January 2020. On today's show, we review Niger's tenure with UN Ambassador Abdou Abarry and expert Michael Shurkin, Director of Global Programs at 14 North Strategies, a Dakar-based consulting firm. On our radar ...
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Mexico is at the helm of the Security Council in November for its only presidency in its two-year term. The county is prioritizing international issues of great domestic concern: small arms and migration. We talk with Mexican Deputy Permanent Representatives Alicia Buenrostro and Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, as well as the country’s Political Coordinator, Enrique Ochoa. We also hear from Andrew Rudman, the director of the Wilson Cent...
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As president of the Security Council in October, Kenya is leading the Council on its first international trip since the pandemic began, to Mali and Niger. Kenyan Ambassador Martin Kimani joins us to discuss his country’s priorities for the month, including counterterrorism, small-arms weapons, and women, peace and security. We also speak with Dr. Geoffrey Lugano, a lecturer at Kenyatta University, based in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital....
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It is that time of year again: The UN General Assembly's meeting with world leaders returns in a hybrid format after being virtual last year. Which heads of state and government are coming? What should you watch for? We've got your guide to the 76th UNGA session. We speak with Nigerian Ambassador Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, who was the 74th president of the General Assembly, about what to expect. We also spoke with Estonia’s Fo...
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Ireland takes over the presidency of the Security Council in September with Afghanistan still in crisis. Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason discusses her country's commitment to Afghan women and girls as the Taliban assume control of the country, and she shares her plans for the month with the UN General Assembly high-level week fast approaching. We are also joined by Rory Montgomery of the Royal Irish Academy, a former diplomat....
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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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