U.N. ambassador explains Russia’s foreign policy

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    By Natalie Crofts

    The Russian ambassador to the United Nations addressed students on Russian foreign policy, as well as current topics such as the economy, Monday in a Kennedy Center lecture.

    Vitaly Churkin said the diversity of current problems, including global warming, poverty and the economy, makes working together imperative.

    ?Crisis is a threat, but also an opportunity,? said Churkin. ?The current situation in the world can be used as a motivation for efficient joint work.?

    One current issue shaping the work of the U.N. is the economic crisis.

    ?The global financial and economic crisis has radically changed the geo-political situation,? Churkin said. ?The crisis makes us focus our attention on urgent issues rather than virtual projects.?

    Churkin said the U.N. has an important role to play in finding a solution. He believes the world financial system will have to become more transparent and democratic in order to fix the economic situation.

    Churkin joked that while most countries wish the U.S. would do more, Russia often wouldn?t mind if America did less.

    ?We can?t continue where everything is centralized in one location, where when the U.S. gets a cold everyone else gets the flu,? Churkin said.

    Churkin said Russia will play an increasingly important role in the world with problems like world hunger.

    ?We?re not regarding ourselves anymore as a country who is a recipient of international assistance,? Churkin said. ?Russia, in a way, is reemerging internationally after it has receded a little bit in its international positions compared to where the Soviet Union was.?

    Students, including sophomore Dallas Ralph, enjoyed the opportunity to hear the opinions of someone who works at the U.N.

    ?The way he presented himself was clear and frank, which I really appreciated? said Ralph, who is majoring in international relations ?It was really interesting to hear about the role his country plays.?

    These lectures provide students an opportunity for students to hear from professionals in various situations.

    ?You get to hear all sorts of different perspectives,? Ralph. ?They open your mind to different ways of thinking and it?s really helpful, especially when the lectures are given by people like the ambassador who are at the top of their field.?

    Churkin was appointed the permanent representative of the U.N. in 2006. Prior to his appointment, Churkin has served in various Foreign Service positions since 1974.

    Russia was one of the founding countries of the U.N. and is a permanent member of the Security Council.

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