The artwork scattered throughout the United Nations headquarters in New York is one of Hugh Dugan’s favorite examples of global representation. Appreciating the United Nations Gifts is an aspect of diplomacy that never subsided for Professor Dugan in his 26 years of experience working with the UN Member States and Secretariat. Professor Dugan previously held the positions of Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for International Organization Affairs (National Security Council, 2020) and Acting Special President Envoy for Hostage Affairs (2019). His expertise in U.S. participation in the UN is welcomed at Seton Hall where he is a Distinguished Fellow for the Center for UN and Global Governance Studies. Like the United Nations Gifts, Professor Dugan brings knowledge of peacebuilding and diplomacy to the Seton Hall community.
His extensive experience and scholarship make Professor Dugan uniquely qualified to discuss the state of the UN today and what is upcoming for the organization. The UN, as described by Professor Dugan, is like a rotating, three-dimensional chessboard. There are many different agencies, coalitions, and facets of the UN itself, in addition to the organizations that partner with it. Despite the UN’s far reach, Professor Dugan senses a challenge for the UN to stay relevant for the world community. The ability to transcend, both in long-term relevance and applicability, is integral for the UN in staying current. Peace processes and diplomacy are slow by nature, but the world is fast-paced, especially considering the rapid advance of technology. Professor Dugan recognizes the timelessness of the UN charter principles may empower the revitalization to come.
For career advice, Dugan encourages students to view the UN as neither a stopping nor starting point. The UN is a multilateral organization with nearly 120,000 personnel; it is the largest international governmental organization. Gaining skills and pursuing diplomacy through other organizations may lead you into the UN. Since the UN is a more stakes-driven organization, understanding the UN charter principles and the inner workings of its mission will help you become a well-informed candidate. Professor Dugan reflected on the most favored, yet challenging time in his extensive career. The period following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of the internet was paramount for the field of diplomacy and the world at large.
Diplomacy is multifaceted and can be achieved through a variety of means. Art, like the United Nations Gifts, is a path to peacebuilding. Athletics, as Professor Dugan is involved with, is also a means to peace and diplomacy. Professor Dugan was recognized by the International Olympic Committee for his work on the Olympic Truce revival. He also is a founder and board member of the Truce Foundation of the USA, a nonprofit organization aimed at fostering trucefulness through international sporting activities. Along with athletics, multicultural diplomacy is an aspect of international affairs that Professor Dugan values. The UN is a product of a Western mindset. Incorporating different methods of conflict resolution to supplement the traditional procedure could build trust and effectiveness at the UN. Like the gifts displayed throughout the UN, diplomatic tools hail from all over the world.
Check out Hugh Dugan’s “The UN and Beyond” column on NewsMax.