World leaders face a slew of multilateral summits over the coming month, including the BRICS meeting in South Africa, the G20 in India, and the UN General Assembly in New York. This rare convergence of top-tier international gatherings is a symptom of the increasing importance of high-level summitry in international diplomacy.
The United Nations’ ability to carry out its mission has been severely constrained in recent years by its member states. And many of its agencies are now facing funding shortages that could severely curtail their work. In fact, multilateralism of all stripes is under strain, from the International Criminal Court to the World Trade Organization—to the World Health Organization.
Having essentially stumbled into the business of being an analyst and commentator on multilateral matters by chance, I often feel uncomfortable offering others career advice. But if I cannot be of much help as a career planner, what I’ve learned over the past two decades does allow me to offer some tips about how to be a policy wonk.