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“The United Nations’ Top Job: A Close Look at the Work of Eight Secretaries-General”

Winton – WEBWIRE

If you were asked to name each of the United Nations’ Secretaries-General, could you do so? And would you be able to provide any specifics as to what each one actually did during their tenure?

Lucia Mouat’s The United Nations’ Top Job: A Close Look at the Work of Eight Secretaries-General begins with the United Nations’ purpose, history and the role of the secretary general. The book mainly talks about how the eight former secretaries-general were elected to the position, the challenges and the crises they faced during their time in office, what each contributed to the United Nations, and the legacy they left behind. This book looks at the varied ways that the eight men- varying from risk-takers to cautious conservatives- have used their position to pursue the common goal of a more peaceful world.

As noted in the United Nations website, the Secretary-General is a symbol of the organization’s ideals and a spokesman for the interest of the world’s people – in particular the poor and most vulnerable. The Charter describes the Secretary-General as “chief administrative officer” of the organization, who shall act in that capacity and perform “such other functions as are entrusted” to him or her by the Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and other United Nations organs. One of the most vital roles played by each Secretary-General is the use of his “good offices” – steps taken both publicly and in private, drawing upon his independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.

The author, who covered the United Nations for The Christian Science monitor, conducted extensive interviews and relied heavily on research and historical documents. This book is a great resource for those who are fascinated by world history and politics. The book aims to provide its reader with an overview of how these Secretaries-General performed their tasks and what they have contributed towards international peace and security- though much of their mediation work took place quietly – out of the public eye.

Lucia Mouat, who has a Masters Degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, is a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the Academic Council on the United Nations.

Lucia Mouat 

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 “good offices”
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