The 2020 UN General Assembly: Connecting Through Crisis

It's an unprecedented UNGA: How does a contact sport like diplomacy translate to the virtual realm, and how do we involve new players to tackle our toughest challenges in a year of crisis?

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Our October 14th livestream discussion, "Digital Peace: Trust and Security in Cyberspace," presented by GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group - focused on the need for a global framework to govern cyberspace.

The panel was moderated by Meredith Sumpter, CEO of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, and included:

  • Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director, Cyber Policy Center, Stanford University
  • Marina Kaljurand, Member, European Parliament; Former Chair, Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
  • Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust, Microsoft
  • Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford

A major theme that emerged from the discussion is how the healthcare sector has become more vulnerable to cyberattacks due to the pandemic. But this sector also poses a major opportunity for governments and other actors to work together on protecting the world from such attacks — with huge resources already being mobilized to do so.

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Josh Rogin's Washington Post op-ed argues that Donald Trump's assault on US foreign policy could take decades to repair. But Rogin gives Trump too much credit and misses the real challenge to American global leadership. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Jeffrey Wright use The Red Pen to keep the op-ed honest.

Today, we're taking our red pen to an op-ed from the Washington Post written by Josh Rogin, a columnist for the Global Opinions section.

The piece is called "U.S. foreign policy might be too broken for Biden to fix" it. I mean, we could start with the title--which encapsulates just how much we feel Josh overstates the damage done in the past four years and fails to recognize the resilience of US institutions in general.

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An extended conversation with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grande.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (who recently contracted the virus himself) tells Ian Bremmer in this week's episode of GZERO World that the coronavirus has upended the lives of millions of refugees in countless ways. Countries that were already limiting their number of refugees closed up their borders entirely. And today, as nationalist sentiments and straight-up xenophobia become ever more prevalent, 80 million people, or one percent of the world's population, find themselves displaced.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

The three largest economies in the word, the United States, China and Japan take a tiny fraction of the refugees compared to that of far poorer countries. Ian Bremmer asks UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi why that's the case and how to change it. "The backlog of asylum claims in the US is astronomical," Grandi tells Bremmer. "It's by far the biggest in the world" Their conversation was part of an episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

80 million people. That's one percent of the world's total population. It's also the number of displaced people in the world today and the highest number since World War II. And it's a crisis that's been raging long before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. How did we get here and what we can do about it? The UN's top advocate for refugees, High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, has some answers. In fact, his passion for helping the world's most vulnerable has come at a cost. He recently tested positive for COVID-19 himself.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

"All over the industrialized world, the refugee issue has been manipulated for political reasons…it has become popular to say 'Let's get rid of them. Let's send them away. Let's not rescue them at sea.'" The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has faced an uphill battle in getting the leaders of the world to care about refugees for years. But, he says, the recent increase in the politicization of refugees as disease-carrying hoards truly makes his blood boil. Not only, he says, because it's morally wrong, but also because it's not an efficient way to handle the problem. His conversation with Ian Bremmer was part of a new episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

"I think that there are still positive forces, there are still leaders in the world who think in the right way, but…it's very 50/50." The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has plenty to keep him up at night but when it comes to the fate of refugees in a post-pandemic world, it's not all doom and gloom. The refugee situation in Sudan and South Sudan, he tells Ian Bremmer, is one cause for hope. Their conversation was part of a new episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

When the pandemic first took hold earlier this year, refugees around the world braced for the worst. Tightly packed camps with poor hygiene seemed like viral hotspots in waiting. But these nightmare scenarios largely did not come to pass, or at least haven't yet. Even still, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (who recently contracted the virus himself) tells Ian Bremmer in this week's episode of GZERO World that the coronavirus has upended the lives of millions of refugees in countless ways. Countries that were already limiting their number of refugees closed up their borders entirely. And today, as nationalist sentiments and straight-up xenophobia become ever more prevalent, 80 million people, or one percent of the world's population, find themselves displaced.

In an interview with GZERO Media, Colombia's President Iván Duque discusses early missteps in global coordination on pandemic response that he feels exacerbated the spread of the virus. "If we all had acknowledged what was really going on in Asia, maybe we would have taken faster draconian measures to protect the world," he told Ian Bremmer.

While Colombia was initially praised for a swift and successful approach to COVID-19, infection rates and cases have spiked in recent weeks as lockdown restrictions ease in order to alleviate strain on an already battered economy. In the conversation, Bremmer and Duque also discuss the Venezuelan refugee crisis, and how economic fallout of the pandemic has forced at least 100,000 to leave Colombia and return home.

Long derided as the European Union's "problem child" Greece has shown itself to be a model for pandemic response and economic recovery within theEuropean bloc. And as the EU enacts a massive economic bailout plan, one that Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis likens to the "Marshall plan" of the post WWII era, the leader of this Southern European nation thinks the future looks bright.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Greece's unlikely COVID success story: Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis

"At the time, people were not aware of the economic pain that this would actually entail, but we did succeed in crushing the epidemic during its early stages." Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tells Ian Bremmer how a country that was only just recovering from a crippling economic crisis managed to mount a quick and effective response to the coronavirus and how it has continued to keep it at bay. But as winter comes, will he be able to keep the virus from spreading? Mitsotakis spoke with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Greece's unlikely COVID success story: Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis

With over 80 million people displaced worldwide, or one percent of the global population, refugee advocates were terrified that the coronavirus would tear through camps and communities. And while that largely did not come to pass, the pandemic has been devastating in other ways, as countries that were already limiting refugees closed their borders entirely.

On GZERO World, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi takes stock of how the pandemic has upended refugee communities worldwide. Shortly after Ian Bremmer spoke to Grandi, news broke that the High Commissioner, himself, had contracted COVID-19. The episode begins airing nationally in the US on public television Friday, October 9. Check local listings.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

The United Nations has been working for over a decade on a global framework to govern cyberspace. But will it ever happen if global powers benefit from having no rules for cyber war? Find out in a livestream discussion, "Digital Peace: Trust and Security in Cyberspace," presented by GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — on Wednesday, October 14 at 11a ET/8a PT/4p BST.

Watch our UNGA livestream events at https://www.gzeromedia.com/unga/livestream. (No registration required.)

Meredith Sumpter, CEO of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, will moderate the panel, which includes:

  • Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director, Cyber Policy Center, Stanford University
  • Marina Kaljurand, Member, European Parliament; Former Chair, Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
  • Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust, Microsoft
  • Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford
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Watch this interview from our UN General Assembly partner, Microsoft:

How do we build a more sustainable, inclusive, and fairer future as we recover from COVID-19? At this year's #UN75, Microsoft President Brad Smith chatted with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

On October 7th, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — presented a live panel discussion, "Digital Inclusion: Connectivity and Skills for the Next Billion Jobs," about the acceleration of digitalization, the changing workforce, and the need for digital access for all.

The conversation was moderated by Sherrell Dorsey, founder and CEO of The Plug, and our panel included:

  • Kate Behncken, Vice President, Microsoft Philanthropies
  • Lisa Lewin, CEO of General Assembly
  • Parag Mehta, Executive Director and Sr Vice President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
  • Dominique Hyde, Director External Relations, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director, Energy, Climate & Resources, Eurasia Group

Also featured: special appearances by Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former president of Chile, and Doreen Bogdan-Martin of the International Telecommunications Union.

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Watch: Tolu Olubunmi in conversation with World Food Programme's Enrica Porcari about how digital technology is the flexible backbone of humanitarian response.

This content is brought to you by our 2020 UN General Assembly partner, Microsoft.

Watch UN Innovation Room conversations weekly on Thursdays at 9 am EDT through October 15th: https://www.gzeromedia.com/unga/livestream/

#gzeroWithMicrosoft #UNGA #UN75

On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Protests and violence continue to escalate in Belarus as pro-democracy demonstrators demand the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko, whose landslide reelection in August is widely viewed as illegitimate. GZERO Media spoke to Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius of neighboring Lithuania, a nation that has become a staunch ally of the opposition movement in Belarus and is providing refuge to Lukashenko's main challenger Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

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When the coronavirus came to Greece in March, the country was only beginning to emerge from a decades-long financial crisis that had brought it to its knees. Citizens feared the worst, but instead the country responded swiftly and effectively, and cases have stayed down. In an extended GZERO World interview with Ian Bremmer, Greece's Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, talks about his country's pandemic response, its "improved brand" on the European stage, and recent tensions with neighboring Turkey.

When the coronavirus came to Greece in March, the country was only beginning to emerge from a decades-long financial crisis that had brought it to its knees. Citizens feared the worst, but instead the country responded swiftly and effectively, and cases have stayed down. On GZERO World with Ian Bremmer, Greece's Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, talks about his country's pandemic response, its "improved brand" on the European stage, and recent tensions with neighboring Turkey.

In an extended interview with GZERO World, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde joins Ian Bremmer to explain how European nations were able to overcome political divisions and act quickly to prevent an all-out economic catastrophe on the continent.

What most worries European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde about the future of the global economic recovery? "Hubris," she tells Ian Bremmer in a new GZERO World interview. Hubris on an individual and national scale.

Watch the episode: Christine Lagarde, Leading Europe's United Economic Pandemic Response

If Brexit has shown the world anything, it is that deep-seated political dysfunction is by no means confined to the United States. But as Europe comes together to avert an economic catastrophe caused by COVID-19, will Brexit throw the entire continent back into chaos? European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde tells Ian Bremmer in a new GZERO World interview that she doesn't "see any trace" of that happening.

Watch the episode: Christine Lagarde, Leading Europe's United Economic Pandemic Response

"I want to make it very clear: it was not Greece that engaged in any escalation or provocation." Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis defends his country's handling of an increasingly tense diplomatic standoff with neighboring Turkey over maritime disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The exchange is part of a wide-ranging interview show host Ian Bremmer for GZERO World that covered Greece's remarkably successful COVID response, its "improved brand" on the European stage and recent Turkey tensions. The episode begins airing nationally in the US on public television this Friday, October 2. Check local listings.

Ian Bremmer looks at how 27 nations in the European Union were able to put aside decades of inter-continental grievances and come together to aggressively and almost immediately respond to the economic toll wrought by the coronavirus. One person, in particular, played an outsize role in bringing about that unlikely outcome: Christine Lagarde.

Watch the episode: Christine Lagarde, Leading Europe's United Economic Pandemic Response

Watch: Tolu Olubunmi in conversation with Dr. Samira Asma from the World Health Organization on how they are advancing health data innovation in the age of COVID-19.

This content is brought to you by our 2020 UN General Assembly partner, Microsoft.

Watch UN Innovation Room conversations weekly on Thursdays at 9 am EDT: https://www.gzeromedia.com/unga/livestream/

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"The jury is out" European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde says when asked if things in Europe will get economically worse before they get better. "All I know is that it's going to be a journey, and probably a long journey." Her conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of a new GZERO World episode.

In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

GZERO Media caught up with Japan's Permanent Representative to the UN Kimihiro Ishikane during the 2020 UN General Assembly. In an interview with Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerald Butts, Ishikane talked about pandemic response, and how it has impacted the broader picture of US-China relations. Regarding a global fissure potentially caused by the world's two biggest economies, Ishikane said: "China is not like the former Soviet Union. Our system is completely intertwined, and I don't think we can completely decouple our economy and neither is that desirable." He also discussed the legacy of Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest-serving prime minister, who stepped down recently due to health complications.

The world's two biggest economic powers threaten to create a "big rupture" in geopolitics, but "we are not there yet," UN Secretary-General António Guterres tells Ian Bremmer. In an interview for GZERO World, the leader of the world's best-known multilateral organization discusses the risks involved as the US and China grow further apart on key issues.

Watch the episode: UN Secretary-General António Guterres: Why we still need the United Nations

Movses Abelian, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management, acknowledges that this year's gathering of world leaders presents unique challenges. But, he says, the work of the UN continues. For two decades he has had a pivotal role in organizing thousands of key diplomatic meetings during these important weeks in NYC. In this video, Abelian explains the General Assembly, how it has worked in the past, and what to expect this year.

GZERO, Microsoft & Eurasia Group @ UN General Assembly 2020
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Panel: Working together to protect cyberspace

Our October 14th livestream discussion, "Digital Peace: Trust and Security in Cyberspace," presented by GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group - focused on the need for a global framework to govern cyberspace.

The panel was moderated by Meredith Sumpter, CEO of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, and included:

  • Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director, Cyber Policy Center, Stanford University
  • Marina Kaljurand, Member, European Parliament; Former Chair, Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
  • Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust, Microsoft
  • Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford

A major theme that emerged from the discussion is how the healthcare sector has become more vulnerable to cyberattacks due to the pandemic. But this sector also poses a major opportunity for governments and other actors to work together on protecting the world from such attacks — with huge resources already being mobilized to do so.

Keep reading... Show less

An interview with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi

An extended conversation with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grande.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (who recently contracted the virus himself) tells Ian Bremmer in this week's episode of GZERO World that the coronavirus has upended the lives of millions of refugees in countless ways. Countries that were already limiting their number of refugees closed up their borders entirely. And today, as nationalist sentiments and straight-up xenophobia become ever more prevalent, 80 million people, or one percent of the world's population, find themselves displaced.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi on COVID-19's impact on refugees

With over 80 million people displaced worldwide, or one percent of the global population, refugee advocates were terrified that the coronavirus would tear through camps and communities. And while that largely did not come to pass, the pandemic has been devastating in other ways, as countries that were already limiting refugees closed their borders entirely.

On GZERO World, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi takes stock of how the pandemic has upended refugee communities worldwide. Shortly after Ian Bremmer spoke to Grandi, news broke that the High Commissioner, himself, had contracted COVID-19. The episode begins airing nationally in the US on public television Friday, October 9. Check local listings.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

The Graphic Truth: What are vaccine hackers hacking?

While governments around the world race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, intelligence services and criminal organizations see an opportunity: to steal vaccine research, keep tabs on the competition, or hold critical information for ransom. The vaccine manufacturing process involves a wide group of public and private organizations that have access to sensitive vaccine and manufacturing details as well as the personal information of trial participants. In addition to the risks of stolen intellectual property or personal information, hacks could also delay or derail elements of the quest for a viable vaccine. Here's a look at what hackers are after at each stage of the vaccine development process.

The invisible threat to global peace

One of the biggest threats to 21st century international peace is invisible. It recognizes no borders and knows no rules. It can penetrate everything from the secrets of your government to the settings of your appliances. This is, of course, the threat of cyberattacks and cyberwarfare.

During the coronavirus pandemic, cyberattacks have surged, according to watchdogs. This isn't just Zoom-bombing or scams. It's also a wave of schemes, likely by national intelligence agencies, meant to steal information about the development and production of vaccines. Attacks on the World Health Organization soared five-fold early in the pandemic.

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Why COVID-19 will widen the global digital gap

The coronavirus pandemic has radically accelerated the adoption of digital technology in the global economy, creating an opportunity for millions of new businesses and jobs. However, it has also left millions jobless and exposed yet another vulnerability: hundreds of millions of people lack access to this technology.

To be sure, this divide was already present before COVID-19 struck. But unequal access to the internet and technology is going to make the multiple impacts of the pandemic much worse for offline and unskilled communities, among others. In fact, there is not a single global digital gap, but rather several ones that the coronavirus will likely exacerbate.

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