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Monday, September 20, 2010

United Nations Check-In: Is the World a Better Place?

Ten years ago, the United Nations set an ambitious goal — to end extreme poverty and improve the lives and health of billions of people worldwide. Now, the 2015 deadline looms. As the 65th UN General Assembly meets this week in New York City, the eight Millennium Development Goals are a major focus of discussion. Melinda Gates, co-chairwoman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jeffrey Sachs, special adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, join Neal Conan to talk about what's worked and what hasn't. We'll also speak with a representative from a country that's come up with innovative ways to meet the goals and help their citizens.

Desmond Parker, chief of protocol for the U.N.
This week's U.N. General Assembly brings together 192 member countries in New York City — with unique customs, languages and demands. One man is tasked with keeping the 8,500 delegates and leaders happy: Desmond Parker, chief of protocol for the U.N. His small team is behind every handshake, photo op, meeting and seating chart, and is often dispatched to fulfill unusual requests from world leaders. Parker joins Neal Conan to talk about what his job entails and how he does it as well as how in the world he ensures that this high-profile logistical nightmare proceeds smoothly.

Ted Turner
In 1997, media mogul Ted Turner promised to donate as much as $1 billion to the United Nations Foundation. Now, the man who created CNN and Turner Broadcasting System Inc., spends much of his time urging more people — wealthy or not — to get involved in global issues. Turner talks about why he gave away so much money, why he chose the United Nations and whether or not it was worth it.

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