The UN at 75: JCU Welcomes Robert Bruce Adolph

The Guarini Institute for Public Affairs welcomed retired U.S. Army Special Forces lieutenant colonel and former UN Chief Security Adviso...


The Guarini Institute for Public Affairs welcomed retired U.S. Army Special Forces lieutenant colonel and former UN Chief Security Advisor Robert Bruce Adolph, for a talk entitled “The UN at 75: Aspiration and Reality” on February 18, 2020. Adolph worked at the UN for 20 years and was assigned to four peacekeeping operations. He was twice fired and twice promoted by the UN, and holds the record for having been the only senior security professional in history to be personally relieved of duty by the Secretary-General.

Adolph was first stationed in Sierra Leone as Chief Security Officer of the peacekeeping mission in the fall of 1999. The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNSAMIL) was a peacekeeping operation with the aim of enforcing a peace treaty introduced to end the country’s civil war (1991-2002). The conflict began in 1991 after the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) attempted to remove President Joseph Momoh from power. The illicit trade in the country’s alluvial diamonds, better known as conflict or blood diamonds, played an important role in financing the war. A large part of the diamond fields had been ceded to the RUF as part of the UN-brokered Lomé Peace Agreement (July 1999).

Despite his troubled history with the international organization, Adolph stressed how vital the United Nations are to the wellbeing of millions of people around the world. Millions of destitute people are fed and cared for by the WFP and UNICEF. Peacekeeping efforts, when well supported, can save hundreds of thousands from the horrors of war. He also acknowledged that when providing aid to certain developing countries, bribery and misappropriation of UN funds are inevitable. Therefore, as Adolph concluded: “The UN is imperfect because we are. We dare not permit the unrealistic desire for perfection to become the enemy of the good. However, we must do better!”
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Italy USA Magazine: The UN at 75: JCU Welcomes Robert Bruce Adolph
The UN at 75: JCU Welcomes Robert Bruce Adolph
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