As heads of state, officials and other bigwigs descend on New York City for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, key city streets are closed, the traffic replaced by police officers, patrol cars and vans, and New Yorkers are irritated. It’s UN Week and most of the buzz is about the Palestinian push for UN recognition as an independent state.
President Obama is already in town, scheduled to speak at the UN on Wednesday.
But I’m not here for all that. I just came to see the UN deal with a proposal to re-set the global health agenda — something that, arguably, could do a lot more to increase global stability, our national security and worldwide economic growth than all this other blather. Arguably.
It’s called the UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases. As boring as it sounds, it could be a big deal.
But I discovered upon arrival that even though I’m registered as Official UN Media (yes, with capital letters) I’m not actually allowed into the meeting. I assume that’s because I’m hardly “high-level,” which is fine. I’m not sure I’d even want to get that close to UN headquarters right now.
It’s friggin’ crazy around here.
Instead, I am skirting around the edges of the meeting visiting with others who have come here for the variations on the theme of making the world better.
Like Ted Turner, a so-called media mogul, rich guy and the founder of the UN Foundation. I’m here, along with about two dozen or so other journalists sponsored by him and this philanthropy that promotes black helicopter government takeovers and democracy-hating jihadists (Just kidding. That was how one of the UN press officers described the view some Americans have of the organization.)
I’m a global health fellow sponsored by the UN Foundation to come learn more about the UN, specifically its work on health issues.
We met with Turner briefly before he went on stage at the Social Good Summit – a new media event aimed at stimulating, well, social good, largely aimed at young people.
Somebody asked how can we make the world a better place? Here’s some of what Ted said: