Archive for March, 2016


[Long version of essay first published in The Hindu’s blog THread]

Seventy years after it was founded, the United Nations continues to function on a budget lesser than that of New York City’s. Where is this global organisation headed?

Vidya Venkat


When I was a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl preparing for my All-India UN Information Test, knowing the United Nations well enough meant remembering all the expansions for all the abbreviations that the numerous UN agencies stood for – UNICEF stands for United Nations Children’s Fund, UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and so on. Fifteen years on, when I visited the United Nations’ headquarters in New York in September, I got to see first hand what happened behind the closed doors of the organisation with those abbreviated agencies with their long and complicated expansions. And it was surprising to learn just how many people, both within and outside of the organisation, had begun to feel that the UN had perhaps become redundant; and this when all the euphoria about the UN turning seventy, on October 24, was already beginning to build up.


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