Newsletter May 2016

Your new UNA Coventry Branch makes steady progress, and has an exciting event lined up for you this month.


This newsletter contains the following sections

• Event this month: Who Should Lead the United Nations?

• Partnering with Lord Mayor’s Committee for Peace and Reconciliation

• City of Peace and Reconciliation Website

• Forthcoming Events

• London debate with UN Secretary-General candidates

• Global Governance and the Future of Democracy

• Surveys

• Campaigns

• Online Discussions

• Sovereignty: What is it and should countries share it?

• UN Drugs Policy: In Need of Reform?

• Newsletter News

• Get Involved

Event this month: Who Should Lead the United Nations?

This event will discuss who should replace Ban Ki-moon as Secretary-General of the United Nations. The event will begin at 6:00 pm on Wednesday 25 May 2016 in Room S0.21 of the Social Sciences building at the University of Warwick.

Seats are free but booking is advised at Book here where more information is available about all the candidates, including videos, podcasts and a poll where people can vote for the candidate they prefer.

The post of United Nations Secretary-General is one of the most important in the world. The job involves not only leading the United Nations Secretariat but also acting as the spokesperson for the UN, handling crises, trying to stop wars and helping formulate long-term plans which will make the world safer, fairer and free from poverty.

No woman has ever filled this post, so should the next UN Secretary General be female? Is it Eastern Europe’s turn to fill the post, following the traditional rotation of regions? And should the person come from outside the UN, or do insiders really have a better chance at the top job?

These and related issues will be explored at this event, organised as part of the “1 For 7 Billion” campaign which aims to find the best possible candidate by making the selection open and transparent. The campaign has already succeeded in having a list of candidates for the first time, rather than the previously secretive process.
Find out more about the campaign at

The discussion will begin with an explanation of the Secretary-General’s role and functions. We will then take a look at the current and previous Secretaries-General and their relations with the great powers. We will briefly talk about the election process itself before examining the profiles of the candidates who have entered the race so far. Finally, we will touch upon civil society activism aimed at ensuring a transparent and inclusive election process.

The speaker will be Kseniya Oksamytna, a sessional lecturer at the University of Warwick. She has a PhD from LUISS Guido Carli and the University of Geneva, completed in the framework of Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate on Globalisation, the EU, and Multilateralism. Her research interests focus on norm diffusion, international organisations (including the autonomy and authority of their secretariats), and UN peacekeeping.

Partnering with Lord Mayor’s Committee for Peace and Reconciliation

Following the events 75 years ago, Coventry prides itself on being a City of Peace and Reconciliation. This concept fits in very well with the ambitions of the United Nations, which tries among other things to safeguard the world against war.

Thus it seems very appropriate that the Coventry Branch of the United Nations Association should form partnerships with local organisations working on this theme, and see how everyone can benefit.

As a first step in this ambition, branch Chair Shagufta Hamid Khan and and Secretary Philip Brown met with Ruth Longoni, Chair of the Lord Mayor of Coventry’s Committee for Peace and Reconciliation, and with Committee Member David Fish, to discuss how we could work together on future events. This discussion was a good start to the relationship and will continue.

City of Peace and Reconciliation Website

As well as the Lord Mayor’s Committee for Peace and Reconciliation, many Coventry organisations run activities on this theme throughout the year. However as you will discover if you try to search for these events on the web, there is as yet no single point of reference where a visitor can find out what is planned or refer to previous events.

So one idea to emerge from the above discussion was to create a website where anyone running an event in Coventry on the theme of Peace and Reconciliation could add their events. This idea will be discussed at the next session of the Lord Mayor’s Committee. One problem we discussed was who should own this website and register the domain name. There did not seem to be any likely candidates. Therefore the Coventry publisher Penny Press have offered to host the site.

Forthcoming Events

We have booked the following events. More will be added over the weeks and months to come.To keep up to date visit here. In addition, we list some events from other regions which might be of interest.

London debate with UN Secretary-General candidates

Over 2,000 tickets are now on sale for the largest ever public debate with UN Secretary-General candidates. Organised by UNA-UK and our partners, the event marks a historic departure from the secretive process that has characterised the UN leader’s selection for the past seven decades.

Set to take place at the Barbican Centre at 7pm on Friday 3 June, this head-to-head debate comes at a crucial time, with the Security Council due to begin deliberations on the selection process by the end of July 2016.

Click here to book tickets

Global Governance and the Future of Democracy

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm 11 November 2016
Book here

It has long been recognised that the UN is in need of reform. The veto of the five permanent members of the Security Council and the secretive method of appointing the Secretary-General are only two of the issues which have been raised.

But what reforms are really needed, and what is stopping them from being implemented?

This discussion will focus on how the UN might be taken out of it's post-World-War model and made fit for the 21st century.

The speaker will be Professor Michael Saward, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick. Professor Saward's key area of research is contemporary democratic theory.


We are running surveys which give you a chance to decide what events this branch runs in the future, what questions to put to UN Secretary General candidates, and provide feedback on events you have attended. Please visit here for a full list of active surveys.


We have started a Campaigns section of the website where you can find out more about the campaigns UNA-UK is running. At the moment this focuses on the selection of the next UN Secretary-General.

Online Discussions

We realise that it is not always easy for people to attend a physical event, so we have added on-line forums to our website, where you can discuss topics of interest from the comfort of your own home! The first two topics are

Sovereignty: What is it and should countries share it?

In the lead up to the referendum on whether the UK should remain in the European Union, United Nations Association Coventry Branch will be running a discussion on the issue of "Sovereignty: What is it and should countries share it?" We invite you to contribute your thoughts to this forum.

UN Drugs Policy: In Need of Reform?

There will be a 3 day debate in the UN General Assembly from 19 to 21 April 2016 to discuss the UN policy on illegal drugs. This so-called UN General Assembly Special Session UNGASS will be an opportunity to explore the issue of whether the use of drugs should be regarded as a crime to be punished or an illness to be treated. This forum is intended to give UNA supporters the opportunity to discuss this important topic.

Please feel free to contribute to these conversations! Click here a complete list of discussions.

Newsletter News

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Get Involved

We are looking for more people to join this young dynamic branch and help us organise exciting new events. Visit this page to express your interest and we will contact you.

Read more.