William Davis (Director, UN Information Center)

18.05.2011 - Interview conducted by Katie Dickmeyer

Q1: At the moment there is a debate about the composition of the UN Security Council: several actors are calling for an enlargement of the council, both in terms of permanent and non-permanent members, with old and emerging powers as India, Brazil, and Germany asking for a seat. Do you think that the current configuration of the council, established after WWII and reflecting the balance of powers in the 1950's, should be revised?

There’s been a lot of discussion about Security Council reform and the general assembly is debating it now as they have for the past few years. I think most people agree that the composition of the Security Council needs to be updated to reflect the world that we are living in today, a world very different from when the Security Council and the UN were created 65 plus years ago. But the trick is how to get agreement between our member states in order to do that, and certainly the members of the permanent five are going to be the key voices in that debate—and they are far from unanimous in terms of their views on how to reform and revise and expand security council membership. So I think this is an issue that is going to continue to be debated for some time yet.

Q2: As the Director of the UN Information Center, whose mission is to raise awareness about the role and the conduct of the United Nations, how are new technologies, especially the social media, changing your work and which possibilities are they offering to pursue your goals?

New technologies are turning out to be immensely useful and we are still feeling our way. Obviously, we’ve got a website, we’re taking advantage of YouTube by interviewing our visiting UN officials for short three minute interviews when they come to town, we’re tweeting and we now have Facebook pages not only for the UN Information Centre here in Washington but also for the UN headquarters in New York as well. So we’re learning as we go with all of these new tools, but they are turning out to be a great way to reach a new, younger audience in particular.

Thank you for your time.