75th UN General Assembly Highlights

Date : 21-25 September 2020

Over the course of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Global Center hosted and participated in numerous events and functions aimed at advancing effective policy and practice around countering violent extremismcriminal justice and rule of law, and financial integrity and inclusion.

As part of its roundtable series, the Global Center hosted its eighth virtual meeting on “The Future of Multilateralism: Opportunities and Challenges in Counterterrorism Efforts,” to examine both opportunities and challenges in multilateral counterterrorism efforts. Welcoming remarks were provided by Eelco Kessels, Executive Director of the Global Center. Speakers included Eric Rosand, Director of the Prevention Project: Organizing Against Violent Extremism; Laila Bokhari, former Deputy-Minister with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former State Secretary at the Office of the Norwegian Prime Minister; Amina Rasul, Philippines Representative, ASEAN Women for Peace Registry, and Amr Magdi, Middle East And North Africa Researcher, Human Rights Watch. During the discussion, and following the panelists’ remarks, participants addressed central themes of multilateral cooperation, recognizing the importance of a principled counterterrorism approach and highlighting the challenges ahead in strengthening these efforts. Some of the issues raised during the discussion included the lack of government-civil society cooperation and the need to protect human rights and civic space.

Interventions were provided by Assistant Secretary-General Michele Coninsx, Executive Director, United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate; Aougui Niandou, Deputy Permanent Representative of Niger to the United Nations;  Rafi Shah, Chief of Policy, Knowledge Management and Coordination Branch, United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism; Rebecca Skellett, Head, Strong Cities Network; Francisco Fontan, Head of Counter-Terrorism Division, European External Action Service, and Georgia Holmer, Head of Unit, Action against Terrorism, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The Global Center also hosted a virtual event on (Counter-)Terrorism, Economic Stability, and the Private Sector, through which it sought to break down traditional silos between the private sector and the fields of terrorism and counterterrorism. Welcoming remarks were provided by Tom Firestone, a Partner at Baker McKenzie, a longstanding partner of the Global Center’s and co-host of the event. Panelists included Vanda Felbab-Brown, Senior Fellow-Foreign Policy, Brookings; John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs, Microsoft Corporation; Niall Brennan, VP, Global Head of Strategic Security Partnerships & Engagement, SAP Global Security; Mariko Silver, President and CEO, Henry Luce Foundation; and moderator Howie Wachtel, Director of Global Sanctions Advisory and Strategy, PayPal and a member of the Board of Directors of the Global CenterThe panelists spoke to the changing nature of conflict, including within the pandemic, and highlighted successful private-public partnerships and collaboration across sectors working to combat dynamic security threats.

As part of this event, the Global Center was excited to formally welcome two new members to the Global Center’s Board of Directors: Laila Bokhari, former State Deputy-Minister with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a State Secretary at the Office of the Norwegian Prime Minister; and David McGowan, Vice President of Global Protection Services at Tiffany & Co. and the former President of the Board of Directors of the International Security Management Association.

For six weeks, the Global Center dedicated its social media engagement to the impacts of civil society in advancing positive change in counterterrorism and preventing and countering violent extremism efforts. Using the hashtag #CivilSocietyInclusion, the Global Center highlighted civil society impact within the context of multilateralism and the UN counterterrorism framework, including their role in rehabilitation and reintegration and the importance of empowering youth-focused civil society organizations in Kenya and Nigeria to counter violent extremism in their communities. As part of the engagements with youth-focused civil society organizations, the Global Center assembled a short video series on the different impacts and achievements of the overall project.

To watch the events and the short videos series, please visit the Global Center’s YouTube page.