Robert Orr Introduction

On October 26, 2011, Jonathan Fanton introduced Robert C. Orr, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Strategic Planning. Orr discussed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s agenda for his second term, and previewed the themes of the Secretary-General’s acceptance speech planned for January 2012.

Robert Orr – Introduction

October 26, 2011

Good evening. I am Jonathan Fanton, Interim Director of Roosevelt House, and it is my pleasure to welcome you to an event which exemplifies the mission of Roosevelt House. Our guest, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN for Planning and Policy, Robert Orr, will preview the themes that will animate Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s second term. Robert Orr is working closely with the Secretary-General in framing the priorities for the next five years, a daunting task given the daily crises, long term challenges, and opportunities to create a safe and more just world that lie ahead.

I came to know Bob Orr when I was President of the MacArthur Foundation and we worked on issues like reducing dangers from biological and chemical weapons, protecting the environment, advancing human rights and framing the new norm of the Responsibility to Protect, a commitment we have seen engaged in Kenya, the Ivory Coast and Libya.

I came to admire his vision of what the UN can be at its best, his commitment to make the UN an effective force for advancing humankind’s noblest instincts and aspirations and his ability to get things done. Widely respected and trusted by people and countries who do not trust each other, he is a human bridge of understanding, able to build coalitions that advance the Secretary-General’s goals.

He combines theory and practice as well as anyone I know. With a Ph.D.  and M.P.A. from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, he has led the Belfer Center of Science and International Affairs at Harvard, served as Director of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington,  published extensively on post-conflict situations, including Winning the Peace: an American Strategy for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Keeping the Peace: Multidimensional UN Operations in Cambodia  and El Salvador.

On the practice side, he has been Director of the USUN Washington office and Director of Global and Multilateral Affairs at the National Security Council. In his current role he is responsible for the Secretary-General’s Policy Committee and is a policy advisor to Ban Ki-moon on counter terrorism strategy, climate change, food security, global health, reducing the dangers of WMD and more.

And we are particularly grateful to you, Bob, for encouraging the Secretary-General to preside over the official opening of Roosevelt House last year. His presence – and yours today – serve as a powerful reminder that within these walls Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt helped conceive and develop the United Nations. Your talk today is central to the mission of Roosevelt house: bringing policy makers together with students, faculty and the general public to explore the most pressing issues of the day.

So we are privileged for an advanced insight into the agenda in formation for Ban Ki-moon’s second term and appreciate your openness to questions, reactions and suggestions during the discussion period to follow you rem

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