On June 20, 2012, the Embassy of France hosted a conference organized by the French-American Global Forum (FAGF), the Maison Française and the Monde Diplomatique newspaper about the current state of the United Nations. The event was part of a series called “Le Monde Diplomatique Debates” led by the FAGF.

The event took place in the auditorium of La Maison Française, under the patronage of the Consul General of France in Washington, D.C., Olivier Sérot Almeras, who made the preliminary remarks. About 200 people attended the event.

The panel was composed of Kemal Dervis, former administrator of the UN development Program and current Vice President of the Brookings Institution, Anne-Cécile Robert, journalist at Le Monde Diplomatique, James Traub of The New York Times Magazine, and Charles Kolb, President of the Committee for Economic Development.

The debate, titled “Is the United Nations in Decline?” — a provocative title taken from an article published by Ms. Robert in Le Monde Diplomatique — was moderated by Michael Shank, Vice President of the Institute for Economics and Peace.

As Mr. Shank noticed at the end of the event, there was a “diversity of viewpoints” among the panelists regarding the current state of the United Nations, its role in today’s economic, strategic and development challenges, and its future. Despite the different perspectives, the moderator highlighted several themes where consensus was found. “There is a need for a universal forum,” he said, “that harnesses the social fabric,” “that is democratic” and “that is perceived as legitimate” by the people.

The evening was broadcast live on the French Embassy’s website. Watch the full debate here.