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United Nations Office at Geneva and World Academy of Art & Science Organize a Conference on Global Leadership for the 21st Century

Press Release


The United Nations Office at Geneva and the World Academy of Art & Science have organized a conference on Global Leadership for the 21st Century. The conference was held from the Palais des Nations with 800 participants joining online from around 100 countries.

The conference, held on 15 and 16 December, is the culmination of a one-year joint project to develop cross-sectoral catalytic strategies to address current global leadership challenges.

Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, put International Geneva at the centre of the global efforts. “If we look at the need for a more inclusive and networked multilateralism and at the most important priorities for the next decades, we see that International Geneva is well equipped to lead by example and is already doing so. The answers to our global challenges really do lie within our grasp and we need the mobilization of all actors to seize them,” she said.

Garry Jacobs, President and CEO of the World Academy of Art & Science, stressed that “the World Academy of Art & Science looks forward to further collaboration with the UN on efforts to enhance trust and promote more inclusive and effective multilateralism.”

Based on findings of 16 working groups, a major e-conference in June 2020, and several smaller events involving over 70 partner organizations of the UN system, academia, civil society and 400 experts, the project’s objectives are to develop forward-looking recommendations for dynamic and efficient global leadership strategies, in support of the findings of the UN75 report: “The Future We Want, The UN We Need”.

The two-day conference included thematic sessions on peace and human security, economy and employment, health and food security, environment, financing, education and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. It also examined leadership strategies for a renewed multilateralism through the engagement of civil society, the media, youth networks, social movements, and the private sector. In addition, it examined the integration of research into policy making and implementation.

Over 60 speakers – diplomats and representatives of the United Nations system, scientists and practitioners, civil society actors and journalists, members of academic institutions and youth representatives as well as of the business community - shared their vision, innovative solutions and practical suggestions on leadership strategies for a renewed multilateralism.

All panellists agreed on the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a compass for action and leadership strategies and stressed the need for innovative and inclusive solutions to tackle global challenges. It was repeatedly underlined that people should not only be at the centre of our strategies, but they should also be directly engaged in designing solutions and contributing to a renewed multilateralism.

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