Policy Soirée featuring Stéphane Dujarric of the United Nations

February 27, 2024

In conversation with Nicolas de Riviere, Permanent Representative of France to the UN and Marc Lacey, Managing Editor of the New York Times and FAF Young Leader 2001

On Monday, February 26th, the French-American Foundation—United States welcomed Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, and Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary General of the United Nations, for a discussion on the role of the UN in today’s unique geopolitical climate. The conversation took place at the New York offices of Greenberg Traurig, LLP and was moderated by Marc Lacey (U.S. Young Leader 2001), Managing Editor of The New York Times.

Ambassador de Rivière initiated the evening with introductory remarks that highlighted the UN’s transforming role since its establishment in 1945. He addressed the current challenges confronting the international body, emphasizing the complex task of harmonizing the diverse interests and cultures of its 193 member states. Moreover, he pointed out the potential for advancements in fostering deeper comprehension and cultivating a more peaceful global community. Following his opening, Ambassador de Rivière welcomed Mr. Lacey to lead an off-the-record dialogue with Mr. Dujarric.

The evening’s dialogue spanned a range of subjects, from the UN’s involvement in current global conflicts to its interactions with the press and visions for its future. Mr. Dujarric, who has been an integral part of the UN’s leadership team since 2005, spoke to the intricate nature of modern conflicts, notably in Ukraine and Gaza. The discussion underscored the unchanging importance of direct diplomacy in conflict resolution, despite the fast-paced nature of the modern world. The challenges posed by rapid news cycles and the pervasive issue of misinformation were also examined. Regarding the UN’s broader role and the skepticism, it faces from some quarters about its efficacy, the conversation emphasized the importance of recognizing the extensive work of the UN’s various agencies, such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization, in evaluating the organization’s overall impact.

Guests had the opportunity to engage in an energized Q&A session which included discussion on topics such as the upcoming U.S. presidential election, nuclear warfare, climate change, and UN reform.

Thank you, Mr. Dujarric, Ambassador de Riviere, and Mr. Lacey, for such a thoughtful and enlightening conversation, and thank you to our gracious host Edward C. Wallace and the Greenberg Traurig team for making this evening possible.