Upcoming Events

Author Series: Ian Williams

Date : Jan 25, 2018
Time : 6:00PM To 8:00PM
Place : Hemisphere Suites, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC

6:00pm-6:45pm Reception, 6:45pm-8:00pm Program. This event will be in the HEMISPHERE SUITES.


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On January 25th, 2018 the World Affairs Council-Washington, DC hosted Mr. Ian Williams, an associate professor at Bard College for Globalization and International Affairs in New York, as part of its Author Series programming.

Author of UNtold: The Real Story of the United Nations in Peace and War, Mr. Williams has covered the United Nations since 1989, where he served as the former President of the UN Correspondents’ Association, and has spoken extensively about the organization worldwide.

Mr. Williams opened his talk by pointing out the boring nature of the UN. Created by the winners in the aftermath of World War II to ensure that globally destabilizing powers would not rise again, Mr. Williams discussed how the UN’s charter allows authorization to interfere wherever there is a threat to international order. As the United Nations is constantly reforming itself, human rights violations are now included under this classification.

Mr. Williams discussed the limitations of the UN’s ability to enforce its policies. For example, Mr. Williams pointed out that President Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a direct breach of international law and UN resolutions. Mr. Williams raised the question of how the world can be expected to follow the resolutions of the United Nations, if one of its own founding states does not. This inconsistency, coupled with the overwhelming power of the UN Security Council, has given reason to question the UN’s effectiveness and authority. Mr. Williams proposes that a middle group, one with powers between the General Assembly and Security Council, be elected to be more representative of the people in member states.

Mr. Williams concluded by urging the audience to hold our governments accountable at the UN in order to increase efficiency. In his words, the United Nations is, “not supposed to take us to heaven, but it is supposed to prevent us from going to hell.”

This program brought in sponsorship with

 Ronald Reagan Building - International Trade Center