U.N. General Assembly: The world's largest family reunion
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff meets with U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday at the United Nations.
September 20th, 2011
06:37 PM ET

U.N. General Assembly: The world's largest family reunion

Member states of the United Nations get together this week for the U.N. General Assembly, an annual gathering to reacquaint themselves, catch up and map out plans for the year ahead. It's not unlike a family reunion, says Bruce Jones, director of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.

"Everybody gets together once a year to pretend that everyone gets along,” Jones said. "Behind the scenes, everyone is scrambling to meet the cool kids or catch up with lost uncles, and there are family fights that have to be resolved.”

There's plenty of new family business to discuss, including the European debt crisis and the fact that Greece’s prime minister isn’t attending because of the financial problems in his country.

“I guess this is the cash-strapped uncle that can’t make it to the party this year,” Jones said. “There’s always a few of those. They don’t normally come from Europe, though.”

There’s the Palestinian bid to be recognized as a member state and the Palestinians' stalled peace process with Israel.

“It’s like the problem branch of the family," Jones said. "Everybody knows that there are problems, that usually everybody is polite when they come together at the annual gathering. This year, it’s not going to be possible to be polite. All the issues are right out for everybody to see.”

And then there are the new faces at the reunion: the leaders of new or transitional governments in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and South Sudan. “I suppose they’re like sort of new arrivals in the family, newlyweds or something who haven’t come to the picnic before and are trying to find their way around,” Jones said.

He said that a big test for the U.N. over the next 10 or 15 years will be helping those new leaders acclimatize in a constructive way.

Click the audio player to hear the rest of the story from CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum:

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Filed under: United Nations • World
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Beardsley Mc Turbanhead

    Durka Durka..

    September 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dijon


    September 20, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The Prophet

    what is the point

    September 20, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. funky bunch

    What a warm fuzzy feeling, like getting together at grandmas on Christmas. NOT!

    September 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RUFFNUTT (kcmo , hut tub repairman & maker of disco balls)

    i waonder if quadafi will show up?

    September 20, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The peoples rupblic of the new modern day american tax slave (the american citizen)

    Yeah but they all sit across the table with those beady little eyes bearing down on eachother and at the same time time nobody trusts anyone .... And this is your new world order so "DEAL WITH IT PEOPLE"!!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. Herbert the pervert with a pocket full of gerbals

    OMG I have herpes!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. Banasy

    I could use a good finger bang about right now this meth is some good stuff O me so hor ny oh me so hor ny!!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    And they *still* can't agree on Palestine.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    sheesh if ur gonna bring ur trollin butt in here & steal someones id u should @ least try 2 make urself believable! anyone with half a brain knows the lst person claiming 2 be banasy is a fraud & a disgusting pig, the real banasy has more class than u!!

    September 22, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joeny

    It seemed being too remarkable reunion as ever before as this year UNGA became so great family members united and friendly treats which could sweep some of the ongoing conflicts around the corners. Event Qadafi should also show up in his unique layers and caps...being so unique one,,great!!!

    September 26, 2011 at 5:37 am | Report abuse |