Barbara Crossette, UN correspondent for The Nation and the author of several books on Asia, was The New York Times bureau chief at the UN from 1994 to 2001 and before that a Times chief correspondent in Southeast Asia and South Asia. She was also a diplomatic correspondent in Washington and a reporter in Central America, the Caribbean and Canada and deputy foreign editor and senior editor in charge of the Times’s weekend news operations. Before joining the Times, she was an editor and writer for The Birmingham Post in Birmingham, England.
In 1991, Crossette won the George Polk Award for foreign reporting for her coverage of the assassination in India of a former prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi. In 1998, she won the 25-year achievement award of The Silurians, a society of New York journalists, and the annual prize for international reporting from InterAction, a coalition of more than 150 international nonprofit aid and development organizations. In 1999, she received the Business Council of the United Nations’ Korn Ferry Award for outstanding reporting, and in 2003 the United Nations Correspondents’ Association’s lifetime achievement award. In 2008 she received a Fulbright Award for contributions to international understanding and in 2010 the Shorenstein Prize for her writings on Asia.
Ms. Crossette is the author of "So Close to Heaven: The Vanishing Buddhist Kingdoms of the Himalayas" and a book of travel essays, "The Great Hill Stations of Asia." In 2000, she wrote a survey of India and Indian-American relations, "India: Old Civilization in a New World," for the Foreign Policy Association. She is a co-author of a chapter on India in a 2009 survey of global stakeholders, "Powers and Principles: International Leadership in a Shrinking World," published by Lexington Books for the Stanley Foundation.
Crossette has been a member of the adjunct faculty of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; a Fulbright teaching fellow in journalism at Punjab University in Chandigarh, India; the Ferris Visiting Professor on Politics and the Press at Princeton University; and a seminar leader on the UN and international affairs at Bard College. Since 2003, she has led journalism workshops in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos and continues to work with Cambodian reporters covering the Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal. She was a Knight International Press Fellow for 2004-2005 in Brazil.
Born in Philadelphia, Ms. Crossette received a B.A. in history and political science in 1963 from Muhlenberg College, where she is now on the board of trustees. She is also a trustee of the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She writes regularly for the online news Web sites of the United Nations Association of the United States and is a member of the publications board at the Foreign Policy Association.
As Republicans in the House of Representatives gear up to fundamentally change Washington’s relations with the United Nations, the Obama administration’s top official dealing with international organizations struck back forcefully last week, calling critics out of date and a threat to American policy gains.
From the beginning of his administration, moves by President Barack Obama to reintegrate the United States in the human rights work of the United Nations have been welcomed worldwide. The US joined the four-year-old Human Rights Council last year for the first time and has sent people experienced in the field to work with it.
In the decade that William H. Luers was president and CEO of the United Nations Association of the United States – from the second term of Bill Clinton’s presidency, through the administration of George W. Bush to the arrival of the Obama team -- relations between Washington and the UN passed through tumultuous years. The euphoria at the end of the cold war had dissipated and new tensions arose. The invasion of Iraq fractured relations between the US and the UN leadership. The investigation into corruption around the “oil for food” program to aid Iraqis living under sanctions gave ammunition to the UN’s enemies, even though most of the wrongdoing occurred outside the organization’s control.