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United Nations must be brought into the 21st Century

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John W. Eyster
October 25, 2013

Did you know YESTERDAY, October 24, was the 68th anniversary of the United Nations?  How do you evaluate the UN?

I am disappointed that my post for my WE THE PEOPLE blog is belated… I started it yesterday morning and then moved into an extra busy day.  NOW, FINALLY, I am getting this post finalized.

Last Wednesday, October 23, the President of the United States issued the usual and customary Presidential Proclamation of United Nations Day, 2013.  To read the whole proclamation, you can use this link, “Presidential Proclamation – United Nations Day, 2013.”

I believe the United Nations is a very significant international organization which is appropriately credited with numerous valuable achievements and blamed for numerous problematic situations through its 68 years.  All-in-all, I do believe that the world is better for humankind because of the United Nations.  What is YOUR evaluation of the U.N.?           

I would assert that the U.N. desperately needs reform to bring it into the 21st century.  Right now, it is TOO MUCH an institution built on international relations after World War II in 1945.  While the General Assembly has grown to nations, the Security Council has the outdated five veto powers (China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States – the “winners” after WWII).  We know there are other nations which are now more significant in world politics in the 21st century.

To start consideration of the reform needed in the United Nations, I urge you to read the Wikipedia's feature article, “Reform of the United Nations.”

This is a general treatment of the various parts of the UN.  And then, there are feature articles focusing on the SECURITY COUNCIL and the GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

--“Reform of the United Nations Security Council” - There have been several recommendations for reform.  In reality, REFORM will, I think, take a MIRACLE because the VETO POWER can be used by the five permanent members of the Security Council to block any reform.  HELP!

Looking at the General Assembly, I believe it is very significant the General Assembly has grown with the realities of world politics.  The first session, held on January 10, 1946 in Westminster Central Hall, London, England with 51 nations.  There are now 193 members.  The youngest nation on earth is a member:  SOUTH SUDAN.  For details, I suggest you read the Wikipedia article about the “General Assembly.”  For focus on REFORM, there is a segment of this article dealing with “General Assembly reform and UNPA”

If you want to study the institutional system of the UN, I recommend Wikipedia's feature article, “United Nations System.”

I do believe that having the UN has been productive for humankind throughout the world.  There are certainly MAJOR issues for the UN to develop resources and processes to manage, but the world is better for this, that the UN, scorned and covered with scars, Still strives with its limited resources and continuing courage, to reach the unreachable stars!  (I love the musical, “Man of LaMancha” – I have paraphrased Joe Darion's wonderful text.  You can read the whole text of Joe Darion's song, “The Impossible Dream” if you wish using this link.

I have the AUDACITY of HOPE that the UN will be reformed and develop the international resources and processes and powers to enhance the quality of human life on earth through this 21st century and beyond.  What do YOU hope?

You might be interested to understand why I have special interest in the UN.  If so, I invite you to read my review of my own personal engagement with the UN and international relations.  As a high school senior in Evanston (IL), I was recruited by my World History teacher to be a member of the World History Club's delegation to the Evanston (IL) city-wide Model United Nations event.  That experience made October 24 a very significant day for me because of the life experience.  The keynote speaker for the opening of the Model UN General Assembly that year was Dr. Charles Malik, Ambassador of Lebanon to the United States and the UN and President of the UN General Assembly.  I met and talked with Dr. Malik at a reception for delegates.

I was a member of the Delegation of Poland, one of the original members of the UN (1945) as a Soviet Republic.  Poland gained independence until 1989, but it took until 1997 for Poland to ratify a new Constitution which separated from the amended communist document which had been used through the transition.

Our Polish delegation was on the General Assembly Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).  We focused on the University Declaration of Human Rights which had been adopted on December 10, 1948.  Eleanor Roosevelt was a major advocate of the Declaration.  December 10 is observed world-wide as Human Rights Day.

That experience was the KEY factor in my choice to attend the School of International Service, The American University, Washington, DC.  My focus in my undergraduate studies was international and multi-national organizations and policies.  I worked part-time for the National Board of Christian Social Concerns of The United Methodist Church which is housed in The Methodist Building on Capitol Hill beside our US Supreme Court building.

My career eventually moved into education.  As an education graduate student at UW-Whitewater, I was an Intern in the Social Studies Department at Parker HS, Janesville.  I became a teacher at Parker HS after completing my internship and then 30 years late retired from Parker HS, Janesville.  I had a very satisfying and meaningful career and am GRATEFUL! 

While the WASHINGTON SEMINAR which I founded and maintained is well known in the community and beyond, I am proud of the fact that for several years I organized a delegation of Parker students to participate in the WI Model UN at UW-Milwaukee.  That program is still providing valuable educational experience for high school students with the session set for March 20-21, 2014.  For more information, use this link for Wisconsin High School Model United Nations.

This year I am teaching for the Political Science Department at UW-Whitewater (my alma mater) and joined a task force preparing a recommendation for a MODEL UN program at UW-Whitewater.  I am convinced that such a program would benefit the whole region.  What do YOU think?  Are YOU interested to participate in a MODEL UN if one develops at UW-Whitewater?



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