Maintaining Relevance: the future of the UN and Australia's engagement

Event date: 
19 Sep 2016
5:30pm to 7:00pm
Venue: 
Room G02, Ground level, UNSW Law
Topic: 
United Nations
Speaker: 
Leanne Smith, Jeni Whalan & Chris Michaelsen
Position: 
Diplomat, Research Fellow, and AHRCentre member
Cost: 
Free

As the UN system prepares for the appointment of its next Secretary-General, what challenges await the successful candidate? In a world where political institutions are losing public trust and legitimacy, can the UN retain the respect and relevance it needs to meet future needs? And what role can and should Australia play to ensure the organisation can help countries recover from the scourge of war, safeguard human rights, deliver sustainable development and promote cooperative solutions to the collective problems of tomorrow? ​What does the Australian Government's decision not to support Kevin Rudd in his candidacy for UN Secretary-General say about the Turnbull government's strategic engagement with multilateralism?​

Join us for a conversation about the big challenges facing the United Nations and what the world needs to do to make it an organisation fit for purpose in a changing world.

Leanne Smith is an Australian diplomat and human rights lawyer, currently on sabbatical from her position as Chief of Policy and Best Practice Service, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York. She has worked in the Australian judicial system, for the Australian Human Rights Commission, in the international NGO sector, regional human rights organisations, for the Australian Government (DFAT) and in various UN roles. A law graduate from ANU, Leanne is a Visiting Fellow at ANU’s College of Diplomacy and a graduate from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Dr Jeni Whalan is a Senior Research Fellow of the University of Queensland's Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and a Visiting Fellow of the AHRCentre. She has served as a foreign policy advisor in the Australian Government’s Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet and Department of Defence, and a consultant to the International Peace Institute, the International Forum for the Challenges of Peace Operations and the UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report. She serves on the board of the Centre for Policy Development. Jeni holds a DPhil and MPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford.

The seminar will be moderated by Dr Chris Michaelsen.