There will be some new faces at the 67th Session
of the United Nations General Assembly this week. Some of them, like Egyptian
president Mohamed Morsy, are headliners, while others, particularly those
who blandly won elections without revolutions, not so much. Here are a
few of the freshmen in the U.N.'s Class of 2012 speaking on day one.
Immediately following Brazilian president Dilma Roussef
and President Barack Obama, the podium will go to Tomislav Nikolic, the
new president of Serbia. Elected and inaugurated in May, Nikolic has
tried to rebrand himself from his previous persona as an ultranationalist
politician, an effort that has worked with hardliners -- Nikolic was ousted
from the Serbian Radical Party in 2008 over fundamental differences over
Serbia's candidacy for the European Union. However, neighbors have chafed
at his statements, particularly his denial that the massacre at Srebenica was
genocide and his insistence that Vukovar, a town in Croatia, is actually
Serbian. Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian, and Macedonian leaders boycotted
Nikolic's inauguration, and if Nikolic veers into sensitive subjects on Tuesday
at the General Assembly, may be the first walk-outs of the session.
Later in the morning, Sauli Niinistö, the
president of Finland, who took office in March, will speak. Finland is
currently vying for a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.
Medina will be followed by François Hollande, the
president of France who succeeded Nicolas Sarkozy in May. Hollande has scaled
back some of his more ambitious proposals to try to generate new momentum
in France's economy, but announced new taxes just before leaving for New York
and will present
his budget when he returns to Paris. In his remarks to the General Assembly,
Hollande is expected to discuss
threats to North Africa, including drought, famine, and radicalization.
Senegal will be represented by President Macky
Sall, whose election and peaceful succession of
President Abdoulaye Wade has been touted as a model
for developing African nations. Last month, facing catastrophic flooding, Sall proposed shuttering
the upper house of Senegal's bicameral legislature to pay for disaster relief.
Janos Ader will be representing Hungary.
The first president elected under
Hungary's new constitution came to power when the previous president stepped
down amid revelations that he plagiarized his doctoral thesis. Ader's ardent
nationalism has troubled others in the European Union.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain will
be one of the day's closing speakers. He assumed office in December of last
year, and while he has spoken at other U.N. events, when he speaks on Wednesday
evening, attention will be squarely on Spain's financial crisis.
And that's just the first day. For a full list of speakers, U.N. Dispatch has
schedule for today.