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Weekly News Update February 15-19, 2021

Off the Record Conversation with Ambassador Nikki Haley Hosted by The Buckley Program, Wednesday, February 17

New Haven, CT – The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale hosted a virtual webinar with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (2017-2019) Nikki Haley.

“I hope that he uses his voice as a force for good,” Haley said of Trump. “I hope that he uses it in a way where his energy and momentum really catapult new faces, new voices, but also kind of keeps those fighters of the conservative movement that have worked so hard to kind of get us to this place.”

Foreign policy was a central theme of the evening, with discussion focusing on Haley’s work on the United Nations Security Council. Praising Trump’s “tough on China” approach, Haley said that a number of issues, including China’s aggression in the South China Sea and actions during the pandemic, made the country the United States’ biggest adversary.

For nearly two years, Ambassador Haley served as America’s chief diplomat to the United Nations where she was a fierce champion for human rights and worked continually to counter American adversaries in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela. Before being confirmed by the Senate to represent the U.S. in the United Nations, Ambassador Haley served in the South Carolina House of Representatives and later was elected twice as the Governor of South Carolina. There she secured South Carolina’s largest education reform in decades, prioritized economic development that helped lead to record-low unemployment and over $20 billion in capital investment, and guided her state through multiple natural disasters as well as the aftermath of the tragic shooting at the historically black Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston. The child of Indian immigrants, Ambassador Haley continues to believe that America is a land of opportunity and hope for all. During the 45-minute-long discussion, Ambassador Haley answered questions submitted by the audience.

For years, the Buckley Program has invited the most recognized and influential leaders and thinkers in America to challenge our students and engage in honest and respectful dialogue,” said Lauren Noble, the Founder and Executive Director of the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale. “Free inquiry is at the heart of a liberal education and remains at the core of our mission at the Buckley Program. We are thrilled that Ambassador Haley has agreed to join us, interact with our members, and offer her invaluable perspective on the most pressing issues of our time.”


37th anniversary of Mqbool Bhat Commemorated

By: Dr. Imtiaz Khan Washington, DC.

Kashmiri diaspora commemorated the 37th anniversary of the martyrdom of Kashmiri icon Maqbool Butt with a renewed commitment to achieve the hero's dream: self-determination as prescribed by the United Nations, international law, and moral justice. Since his execution, February 11 has been observed by all Kashmiris as a black day of mourning for the martyr of a brave Kashmiri statesman. This year’s webinar was attended by speakers from the United States and abroad. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum said, “11 February is a somber day but at the same time a day of remembrance and a day to revitalize our resolve to be true to the mission of Martyr Maqbool Bhat. Maqbool Bhat's life has inspired countless Kashmiris to persist in the struggle for self-determination against India's intransigence. His vision of a free and fair Kashmiri self-determination on its sovereign destiny did not die with his death. He gave his life for the cause because he believed in it with all sincerity and honesty.” Maqbool Bhat gave a lesson to the generations to come that it is very hard but only choice to accept martyrdom instead of slavery. His courage demonstrated such savagery would backfire, and intensify the Kashmir resistance. Dr. Fai added, while we must pay rich tributes to the memory of this great martyr, our true tribute will be emancipation of the Kashmiri people from under the Indian brutal occupation and senseless subjugation. Javed Rathore, , President of Kashmir Solidarity Council said that this year, the observance featured webinars because of Covid 19 pandemic and prayer meetings around the world to advance the Kashmiri cause of self-determination mandated by international law, and the principles of simple justice. Javed Rathore continued: “Indian authorities could jail Maqbool Bhat and silence him by execution but they could not silence his ultimate desire - the struggle for the people of Kashmir. The spirit of Maqbool Bhat is alive. Today, he is an inspiration to millions of Kashmiris and those striving for human rights and human dignity.

Claire Bidwel, Chairperson, “Let Kashmiris Decide” Scotland,discussed in detilas her initiative to shake the conscience of the world leaders to come to rescue the leader of Kashmiri political resistance movement – Mohammad Yasin Malik. Her signature campaign has already received thousands of responses all over the world. Ariful Haq Arif, senior most journalist who knew Maqbool Bhat personally when he met him in Karachi, quoted him saying, “We faced every form of torture with the belief that this (new) challenge we are facing will ultimately bring revolution to our thinking.” Arif said that Maqbool Butt was certainly a charismatic leader who gave his today for the betterment of tomorrow. His dastardly death will inspire living Kashmiris for ages. Dr. Zulfiqar Kazmi, a well-known scholar said that Maqbool Butt was undoubtedly, a selfless leader and we, the people of Kashmir miss him dearly. His dastardly death will inspire living Kashmiris for the ages, just as Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination did in the United States. Sardar Shoaib Irshad, the organizer of the webinar, quoted Maqbool Bhat Shaheed, “The children of oppressors are provided with all the luxuries and comfort of the world, but the children of resistance leaders are not attracted to these kinds of luxuries and comfort. They get satisfaction from struggling against the system of oppression.” Dr. Akhlaq Barlas, prominent Kashmir scholar and leader said, Maqbool Butt was hanged by India's authorities for protesting their illegal and iron-fisted occupation of Kashmir since 1947. Kashmiri diaspora must get united and seek representation from all zones of the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Mohammad Arshad Shah, (Canada) said, Maqbool Bhat had previously been tortured and inhumanely imprisoned as part of India's state sponsored terrorism in the disputed territory of Kashmir. We must intensify our activities so that his mission remains alive. Sardar Naseem Iqbal (England), a well-known community leader, urged everybody to take a leaf from the long history of Kashmir which is full of trials and tribulations. Those who contemplate on the past will ultimately come closer to achieve their objective – the freedom for the people of the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Sardar Zulfiqar Roshan Khan spoke from Islamabad that the sacrifice of Shaheed Maqbool Bhat will never be wasted. The blood of Kashmiri martyrs brings the goal for freedom and justice nearer. Sardar Zubair Khan said that the lesson of the martyrdom of Bhat Sahib is that we should be consciously ready to give sacrifices for the cause as was demonstrated by our leader. Sardar Aftab Roshan Khan said that Maqbool Bhat has given us an important message that we may have to give more sacrifices till the whole nation is liberated. Tariq Khan, Canada said that the decision of Raja Farooq Haider, the prime minister of Azad Kashmir to announce February 11th a holiday is the right step in the right direction. But on this day, we must highlight the contribution of Maqbool Bhat to our younger generation through organizing seminar, debates and conferences. Raja Liaqat Kiyani, President, Kashmir House, Washington said that people of Azad Kashmir are united in pursuing the mission of Maqbool Bhat irrespective of their party affiliations and political beliefs. Sardar Zarif Khan, President, Washington Chapter of Kashmir Solidarity Council and the emcee of the event, said Maqbool Butt was undoubtedly, a selfless leader and we, the people of Kashmir miss him dearly. While paying tribute to Shaheed Maqbool Bhat, Zarif said that worldly luxuries meant nothing to Bhat. He always preferred a day of freedom to a life of luxuries without any freedom. At the conclusion of the event, it was demanded that the Government of India return the mortal remains of Shaheed Maqbool Bhat and Shaheed Afzal Guru to their relatives in Kashmir. It has been a sacrilege to have kept them in India for thirty-seven callous years respectively. Other speakers included: Hamid Malik; Shakeel Ahmed Janjua ; Sajjad Baloch; Zahid Khan; Aftab Khan; Azmat Khan; Mujeeb Kazi ; Raheel Shaikh

For more information:


Pathways to a Brighter Future for North Korea's Economy

February 18, 2021

The Korea Society hosted a discussion about scenarios for North Korean development and inter-Korean economic integration. Seoul National University economics Professor Byung-Yeon Kim, former World Bank economist and a consultant on Asian affairs Brad Babson, and NK Pro analyst Peter Ward join Korea Society President Tom Byrne in conversation. Together, they investigated what domestic reforms will be necessary to empower development and forecast potential roles for South Korea, the U.S. and the international community. Korea Society Policy Director Jonathan Corrado moderated audience questions.


CSocD59 Multi-stakeholder Forum on the priority theme

United Nations 59th Commission for Social Development - CSocD59 Multi-stakeholder Forum on the priority theme "Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all”.


Security Council: COVID-19 vaccines in contexts affected by conflict and insecurity

United Nations Security Council Open debate on ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in contexts affected by conflict and insecurity.



  • The President said this morning that he is in contact with UN Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener and closely following developments in Myanmar.

  • He urged the military to allow Ms. Schraner Burgener to visit, assess the situation and brief the General Assembly accordingly. He said, “It’s not too late to listen to the will of the people.”


  • This morning, the President is convening the second meeting of his Gender Advisory Group. The meeting is currently underway.

  • In line with a recommendation made at the group’s last meeting, he is speaking about enhancing the relationship between the General Assembly and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

  • He is listening to the group’s perspectives on recent trends and actions related to the Beijing Declaration and achieving equality for women in all spheres.

  • This morning he also welcomed Ambassador Alie Kabba of Sierra Leone, who just joined the group as the newly elected President of the Bureau of the UN Women Executive Board, replacing Ambassador Jukka Salovaara of Finland.

  • Other expected topics of discussion include engaging with women’s civil society organizations, violence against women, and links between the private sector and gender equality issues.


  • On Twitter yesterday, the President sent his warmest congratulations to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on making “herstory” as the first African and first woman Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

  • He said that a strong multilateral trading system is key to ensuring an inclusive and sustainable global economic recovery – and that he looks forward to working together.


Celebrating America’s Re-entry into the Paris Agreement

February 19 marks the date the United States will officially rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, a historic multilateral effort to reduce global emissions and combat the harmful effects of climate change.

UNA-USA is pleased to be joined by U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry and UN Secretary-General António Guterres in celebrating this important moment in the opening plenary session of the 2021 Global Engagement Summit.


- H.E. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

- John F. Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

- Elizabeth Cousens, President and CEO, United Nations Foundation



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