Beyond Laughing At Trump, What Happened At The United Nations Last Week
The 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly is taking place right now. President Trump spoke before the General Assembly and chaired a session of the Security Council last week. While the media has mostly focused on the laughter that arose when Trump claimed his administration has done the most of any president, there is much more going on both openly and behind the scenes. We speak with James Paul, who has monitored the UN for two decades, about the current meeting, the state of the world and what we must do.
Paul’s new book, “Of Foxes and Chickens: Oligarchy and Power in the United Nations Security Council,” is available online.
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James A. Paul served as Global Policy Form Executive Director from its foundation in late 1993 through the end of 2012. As Executive Director, he was a prominent figure in the NGO advocacy community at the United Nations and a well-known speaker and writer on the UN and global policy issues.
Born in New York City, he earned a B.A. from Harvard College in 1963 (cum laude), his M.A. from Oxford University in 1968 and his Ph.D. from New York University in 1975 with a specialty in comparative politics. Paul was awarded various fellowships during his graduate studies including the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and the Book Prize for academic excellence at Christ Church College in Oxford.
In his early career, from 1972 to 1976, Paul was Lecturer and then Assistant Professor of Political Science at Empire State College of the State University of New York. In 1976, he took a position with the Middle East Research & Information Project (MERIP) as a member of the Editorial Committee of Middle East Report magazine. Paul later served on the MERIP Board and was appointed Executive Director of the organization. From 1989-1993 he worked full-time as a writer and consultant with projects for Human Rights Watch, Oxford University Press, Physicians for Human Rights, and Hill & Wang publishers, among others.
Paul has served on more than a dozen boards and committees. He was Chair of the Board of Trustees of the World Fellowship Center. Other past affiliations include the Committee for an Exploratory Study of Graduate Education in Political Science of the American Political Science Association and the Editorial Committee of Peuples Méditérranéens. From 1995-1999, Paul was the representative of the International Federation of Human Rights at UN headquarters. Between 1995 and 2010, he frequently served as Chair or Vice Chair of the NGO Working Group on the Security Council. He was the founding Convener of the NGO working Group on Food & Hunger from 2008 through 2012. He is a member of the Academic Council on the UN System and he is currently board Chair of the Repast Baroque Ensemble, a New York City based classical music performance group. He is also Co-Chair of the Trinity House Tenants Association. His honors include the World Hunger Media Award and a “Peacemaker” award by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
Paul has given many lectures and speeches at venues including UN conferences, college and university events, professional society gatherings, and political meetings. He has also given hundreds of interviews to print and broadcast media. He has authored well over a hundred articles and reviews in academic journals, magazines and other print media, and he has written dozens of policy papers for Global Policy Forum. He has served as an editor of the Oxford Companion to Politics of the World (1989-2006). His most recent book is Humanity Comes of Age.
He has traveled to 25 countries and, in addition to English, he speaks (with different degrees of proficiency) French, Spanish, German and Arabic. Among his early employment, he was a boatyard worker, a river raft guide in the wilderness area of Idaho, and a cowboy in Venezuela. He enjoys offshore sailing, skiing and stargazing. He is married, has two grown sons, and lives in Manhattan.
Above photo: AP Photo/Craig Ruttle