- By Colum LynchColum Lynch is Foreign Policy’s award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. He previously wrote FP’s Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He was also the silver medal recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize for a three-part series documenting the U.N.’s systemic failure to protect civilians in Darfur, Sudan. Colum’s investigations have uncovered an American spy operation in Iraq, Russia’s monopoly of the $1 billion-a-year U.N. aircraft leasing market, and a Chinese diplomatic campaign to silence U.N. investigators scrutinizing Chinese arms deals in Africa. His deep digs into the U.N. bureaucracy have exposed sexual misconduct by U.N. blue helmets from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and documented monumental dysfunction in the U.N. office charged with rooting out misconduct and corruption. He now devotes his reporting chops to documenting President Donald Trump’s efforts to reorder the international system. Born in Los Angeles, Colum received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. Before moving to FP, Colum reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. He has appeared frequently on national news programs, including the Lehrer NewsHour, as well as on MSNBC, NPR, and the BBC.
Michelle Bachelet, the executive director of U.N. Women, announced today that she would step down from her U.N. post and return to her Chilean homeland, fueling speculation that she plans to run for president in Chile’s November election.
At the close of the U.N. Conference on the Status of Women(CSW), Bachelet announced: "This will be my last CSW. I’m going back to my country."
A medical doctor who served as Chile’s former defense and health minister, Bachelet in 2006 became the first woman elected president in Chile.
Bachelet retained enormous popularity when she stepped down in 2010. But under Chile’s constitution the president is barred from serving consecutive presidential terms, and so Bachelet accepted a request by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to head up a newly established U.N. agency that focused on the promotion of women’s rights. While Bachelet has not declared her intentions to run for office, her return to political office in Chile has been long anticipated.
Following the announcement, Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted that Bachelet’s departure from the U.N. was a “major bummer.” She credited her with preventing the collapse of the women’s rights conference, which tonight adopted a consensus statement condemning violence against women and underscoring women’s sexual reproductive health rights. The consensus almost unraveled after Egypt insisted the final document include a waiver that would allow states, based on their own customs and religious practices, to ignore their obligations under the agreement. "She is awesome and helped save #CSW 2013," Rice tweeted.
Ban also offered up praise for Bachelet, saying “her record of achievement includes new steps to protect women and girls from violence, new advances on health, and a new understanding that women’s empowerment must be at the core of all we do at the United Nations. This is a stellar legacy, and I am determined to build on it. I thank Ms. Bachelet for her contributions and wish her every success as she embarks on the next chapter in her extraordinary life. She will always have a home at the United Nations.”
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