The annual opening of the UN General Assembly is always one the most important weeks on the diplomatic calendar. This year the Global Dispatches podcast has partnered with the United Nations Foundation to provide listeners with news and expert analysis to give you the context you need to understand what is driving the diplomatic agenda at the United Nations during this key week.

We recorded today’s episode live Tuesday afternoon September 21

Today was the opening of what is known at the United Nations as the General Debate in which world leaders address the General Assembly from that famous rostrum. 

There is a familiarity to the opening of the General Debate. It always takes place on a Tuesday and it always kicks off with the Secretary General delivering a sort of state-of-the world speech. He is followed by a speech from the incoming President of the General Assembly, in this case Abdulla Shahid of The Maldives. 

By tradition the President of Brazil of the first head of state to speak, followed by the President of the United States.

Like last year, there is a mix of in-person remarks and pre-recorded statements. In addition to Guterres and Biden, some speakers of note today included Moon Jae-in of South Korea; President Erdogan of Turkey; the new President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi, who delivered a pre-recorded statement; and Xi Jinping who also delivered a pre-recorded statement. 

Joining me today to discuss the key moments from the opening of the General Debate is Richard Gowan, UN Director for the International Crisis Group and Anjali Dayal,  Assistant Professor of International Politics at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus.

We kick off discussing the big takeaways from Guterres and Biden’s speeches before having a broader discussion about the significance of this year’s General Assembly and key moments of international diplomacy in the week ahead. 

 

 

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