Ahead of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly – Can Multilateralism be Rebuilt for a Post-Covid World: A Conversation Between The Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander and Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens

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RUSI hosted a conversation between The Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander and Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens, ahead of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, reflecting on whether multilateralism can be rebuilt for a post-Covid world.

This wide-ranging conversation covered the multilateral response to the Covid-19 crisis to date and will look ahead to the key themes of the 75th United Nations General Assembly - from Covid to climate, and from biodiversity to gender - and will consider the future of multilateralism. The discussion also explored how the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election will shape not just the future of the U.S. but the future of multilateralism.

Speaker biographies

The Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander served as a Labour Member of Parliament from 2007 to 2015. He held various Ministerial positions including: Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for Europe, Secretary of State for Scotland, for Transport and for International Development. Mr Alexander was the UK Ministerial Delegation Leader at WTO Global Trade Negotiations (2008), a Member of the UK Ministerial Delegation to UN Climate Change Conference (2009) and the UK’s Governor to the World Bank. He also served as Shadow Foreign Secretary from 2011 to 2015. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and became a RUSI Trustee in 2017.

Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens became the UN Foundation’s third President and Chief Executive Officer in 2020, after serving four years as Deputy CEO where she oversaw all the Foundation’s policy, advocacy and communications work. Elizabeth is a strategic leader who has worked on the frontlines of peace processes, played an influential role in UN policy innovations from peacebuilding to the Sustainable Development Goals and helped build public-private partnerships to solve global challenges at scale. She is a diplomat and thought leader who served for several years at the U.S. Mission to the UN in New York, including as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) where she led U.S. negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals. She has run international research institutions, led non-profits, and worked with the UN in the Middle East, Nepal, Bosnia and Haiti.

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