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How can one reform the United Nations?

Discussion Question

Instructions:  This is a 2-part assignment

Read the rubric below BEFORE writing your comment and reply.  

Topic: How can one reform the United Nations?

Part 1.  


Video#1(3:10 min.)   The Elders: When the Security Council fails, the United Nations Fail  "When the Security Council fails, the United Nations fails" (Links to an external site.)

The  Elders is an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela. In this video, prominent political leaders and human rights advocates with “real-world” experiences dealing with the UN, provide reasons for why the UN needs reform and how it should be reformed.     


Video#2 (2:05 min.) The  Security Council Must be Reformed. Kofi Annan: Brookings Institution   (Links to an external site.)

Kofi Annan, who served as the UN Secretary-General from 1997-2006, provides a rationale why and how the power-distribution in the Security Council institution should be reformed.  

Road map: These questions will guide you in formulating a coherent comment, with (1) an introduction to the United Nations, (2) a topic paragraph on problems with examples as evidence of both failures and successes, (3) proposals for reform (the videos) , and (4) a concluding paragraph that presents your opinion on The Elders, Kofi Annan and veto power.


1.                  When and why was the UN created? What is the role of the Security Council, which countries are members, and what special power do they have?

2.                  What is the role of the UN in international relations? Identify two major problems that collective security institutions encounter in their efforts to prevent wars?  (p. 205)   

3.                  Provide an example of 1 conflict in which the UN succeeded in countering acts of aggression because of a multilateral coalition. Explain the factors that led to its success (p. 205-208.) 

4.                  Provide an example of 1 conflict in which it failed to prevent wars and protect human rights because of the veto power. Explain the factors that contributed to this failure (p. 209-231). 

5.                  The “Elders” argue that the conduct of the Security Council members use of the veto is “unacceptable.”  What specific “reform” does each speaker offer” 

6.                  Kofi Annan argues that  the UN structure needs to be “expanded to reflect the interests of the “majority of member countries.” What specific reform does he propose? 

7.                  Do you agree, disagree or both with the views presented by the Elders and Kofi Annan? Why/ Why not? 

8.                  In your opinion, should the members of the UN Security Council be allowed to exercise veto power or not?  


Grading Criteria for the Discussion Board#1:

 Original Post:

Follows instructions (1)

Incorporates readings well into responses, demonstrating excellent understanding. (1)

Relates material to course content.  (1)

Makes insightful, critical comments, supported by facts/examples. (1)

Contributes new information and identifies the source. (1)

Asks critical questions, offers new perspectives that extend the discussion. (1)

Excellent analysis (how? why? connections?), synthesis and evaluation. (1)

Respectful and scholarly tone. Observes netiquette. (See syllabus) (1)

Effectively uses and defines relevant terminology. (1)

Free of any mechanical and grammatical error. No awkward phrases. Varied sentence construction. Adept use of vocabulary. Uses correct in-text and bibliography citation format for new information. (1)


How can one reform the United Nations?




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