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The U.S. at the UN General Assembly: A Guide to Who, What, When & Where


By Erika Briceño Howard

It’s the one time of the year that every major player in U.S. foreign policy travels to New York City for what has been called the “World Cup of diplomacy,” “speed dating UN-style,” and my personal favorite, “#FUNGA.

The 73rd United Nations General Assembly is already underway, but the major speeches and events officially kick off on Monday, September 24th. Here’s a quick guide to who will be there, what are the key events, and how you can follow along:

Who’s coming?

This year, a large contingent of U.S. leaders will be making the trip from Washington D.C. to join Ambassador Haley at the UN. Throughout the week, you can expect to see President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, USAID Administrator Mark Green.

In addition to Administration officials, Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) will attend as the two official Congressional representatives to the UN General Assembly.

What are the big moments?

Monday: Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem

At this event on Monday morning, President Trump, Secretary-General Guterres, and Ambassador Haley will provide remarks before the 123 Heads of State that have signed on to the call to action.

Tuesday: President Trump’s UN General Assembly Speech

This will be the major speech of the week, and the verdict is still out on the content and how it will be received on the global stage. To date, Ambassador Haley has shared that the speech will focus on U.S. foreign policy successes over the past year and the need to protect U.S. sovereignty.

Wednesday: President Trump to chair a meeting of the UN Security Council

President Trump will chair his first UN Security Council meeting this week. It will reportedly cover nonproliferation and Iran among other pressing issues of international concern.

Thursday: Secretary Pompeo to chair a meeting of the UN Security Council

In his first appearance as Secretary of State before the UN General Assembly, Secretary Pompeo will chair a UN Security Council meeting on the denuclearization of North Korea and the enforcement of sanctions.

Beyond these four major events throughout the week, you can also expect to see headlines coming out of President Trump’s bilateral meetings with the UN Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, South Korea, Egypt, France, Israel, Japan, and the UK. Vice President Pence will also attend an event hosted by Colombia on the crisis in Venezuela. Last but not least, the U.S. will send a representative to the Secretary-General’s Action For Peacekeeping event scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, which aims to advance one of his three pillars of UN reform.

How can you follow along?

The President’s speech before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday morning will be streamed live on UN TV. You will also be able to watch the Security Council meetings and some of the High-Level side events on this platform.

The official hashtag for the week is #UNGA. Additionally, the U.S. Mission to the UN has also been using a rotation of hashtags, including #USstrong, #USAatUNGA, and #USUNPresidency.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter for additional updates: @BetterWorldOrg.

Want to learn more? Here are the seven key global issues to watch at this year’s UNGA.