Last week was a busy – and critical – week for the U.S. and the United Nations, as the 68th UN General Assembly convened to tackle global problems, from the Syria chemical weapons crisis to climate change.
In case you missed any of the action in New York, here are our top 5 biggest moments from UN Week 2013:
1. UN Security Council passes resolution to rid Syria of chemical weapons
On Friday, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution that will require Syria to hand over its arsenal of chemical weapons or face consequences. As Secretary of State John Kerry said after the vote: "Today, the UN Security Council has demonstrated that diplomacy can be so powerful, it can diffuse the worst weapons of war."
2. Secretary Kerry signs the UN's International Arms Trade Treaty
To help make the world a safer place, Secretary of State John Kerry signed the UN Arms Trade Treaty on Wednesday. By establishing a global framework to regulate the transfer of arms across international borders, the treaty will help keep weapons out of the wrong hands. If you haven't yet, send Secretary Kerry a message of thanks for standing with the UN on cracking down on illegal weapons trading worldwide.
3. UN's new IPCC report confirms that humans are causing climate change
4. The UN sets the stage for renewed U.S.-Iran diplomacy
In a landmark development for U.S. and Iranian diplomacy, the UN provided the platform for the highest level direct talks between the two nations in decades. Setting a new tone of cautious optimism, they opened the door to discuss Iran's nuclear program on Thursday. That progress culminated in a phone call between President Obama and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani – the first of its kind since the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.
5. Experts convene on how technology is bolstering peace worldwide
I had the pleasure of sharing the Social Good Summit stage with experts from UN Peacekeeping, the Eastern Congo Initiative, the Enough Project, and Matternet to talk about how technology – from unarmed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to satellites to new Octocopters – are helping build peace, including in conflict zones like the Democratic Republic of Congo. Watch my interview with Whitney Williams, Kevin Kennedy, Andreas Raptopoulos, and John Prendergast to learn more.
Like I said, it was a busy week!
But it was well worth it. This year's UN Week in New York showed that U.S. engagement at the UN remains not only as strong as ever, but also more critical than ever to making the world a better place for us all.