Barbara Crossette
Journalist and Author

Hot Topics at the UN, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010 at 4:00 PM at the New Canaan Library

Co-sponsored by the United Nations Committee of New Canaan and New Canaan Library

Barbara Crossette was The New York Times Bureau Chief at the UN from 1994-2001. She served as Editor of the UNA-USA magazine, the InterDependent, and currently writes and blogs for the magazine, which is published online at Earlier, Ms. Crossette was the Times chief correspondent in Southeast Asia and South Asia and is at present the UN correspondent for The Nation. Two of her books, So Close to Heaven: The Vanishing Buddhist Kingdoms of the Himalayas and a book of travel essays, The Great Hill Stations of Asia, are available today, thanks to Elm Street Books. She taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of journalism, and was a Fulbright teaching fellow in journalism at Punjab University in Chandigargh, India and the Ferris Visiting Professor on Politics and the Press at Princeton University.

Ms. Crossette has been the recipinent of multiple journalism awards, including, in 1991, the George Polk  Award for foreign reporting for her coverage of the assassination in India of a former prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1999, 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 2010, she received the Shorenstein Prize for her writing on Asia, awarded jointly by centers at Harvard and Stanford.

Barbara Crossette is a trustee of the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the publications board at the Foreign Policy Association. 


Alice Knapp, Executive Director, New Canaan Library

Andre Fouilhoux Houston – Houston Family

Introduction of Speaker
Pete Runnette
Co-Chairman, UN Committee

AddressBarbara Crossette
Hot TOpics at the U.N. 2010

Questions and Answers

Many thanks to the generosity of the donors to this lecture series.
Katherine Houston Bradford
Marianna Houston
Jean Houston
Andre F. Houston

Ann Andresen
Diana Baker
Bank of New Canaan
Louise Besson
Arthur Bettauer
Susan Blabey
Catherine Brinkerhoff
Guy and Margaret Brossy
Drs. David and Charlotte Brown
Alison Caesar
Elizabeth Lloyd Carter
Carole G. Clarkson
Andrew M. Clarkson
Zula Crichton-Brigham
Lilou C.R. Culhane
Simone Demou
Francis Edwards and John Clausen
Elizabeth Erb
Janet Eberman
Laura Einstein
Sally Finger
Walter Jack Foster
Jack D. Gunther

Alan and Loni Haas
John and Reba Haley
Kenneth H. Hannan
Bernard and Carmen Hampl
Wendy and Roderick Johnson
Al and Jane Knaus
New Canaan Advertiser
Wilbur Miller
New Canaan Library
Melita Moore
Katherine McCauley
Tom and Ann Piper
Pete and Alice Runnette
Frances T. Salent
Diana Wege Sherogan
Ruth Smithers
Hudson Stoddard
Frances Storrs
Teresa Tarnowski
Joan M. Taylor
UN Committee of New Canaan
UN Study Group
Dawn Watson
Abby Wise

About Anita Houston

For over 50 years, until her death on March 16, 2007, Anita Houston was so prominent an advocate for the United Naations and international cooperation among nations, that she was designated by official Town Proclamation on her 90th birthday in October 2002, as “New Canaan’s Ambassador for World Affairs.”

According to local author and her longtime friend, Hudson Stoddard, “Mrs. Houston spent a spectacular share of her long and fruitful lifetime in this town gathering up willing and talented volunteers to work with her on various worldly events  and causes throughout the years. She also enlisted an outstanding array of diplomats and international savants to visit this community and to share their insights on the world scene.”

In tribute to Anita for her long service as chairperson and member of the UN Committee of New Canaan and head of her UN Study Group, an endowment was started for an annual lecture to be delivered on a topic related to international affairs and the United Nations. With the New Canaan Library as co-sponsor, and the Houston family as its most generous donor, the first lecture was given four years ago by UN Senior Advisor Gillian Sorensen. Three years ago we were honored by British diplomat and author, Rory Stewart, and two years ago we heard a presentation by the New York Times UN Bureau Chief, Neil MacFarquahar. Last year we were privileged to hear a talk from Barbara Crossette, journalist and author with a long and distinguished career of reporting on the UN. This year we are delighted to hear from Alex Prud’homme on a critical humanitarian issue affecting us all. 

The United Nations Committee of New Canaan

The Committee was started in 1952 in response to President Eisenhower’s appeal to local communities to honor the US-UN relationship on the date in October (the 24th) when, in 1945, the UN was founded. The Committee has recognized the date annually, raising the UN flag at Town Hall on October 24 each year. It presents speakers throughout the year on international topics. Recent talks were given by David Rohde on his kidnapping by the Taliban, by Ahmed Rashid on Afghanistan, and Margaret Catley-Carlson on Water. The Committee’s Aid Afghanistan School Project (2004-2008) was dedicated to funding a two-year “catch-up” school curriculum for Afghan girls denied access to education during the Taliban rule. That effort included an exchange of photographs taken by our Afghan students and students at NCHS which were exhibited at the Carriage Barn in 2006 in conjunction with the New Canaan Society for the Arts and Voices of September 11. Building on that effort, five generous donors provided funds for computers for the Kabul schools of our Afghan partner, one in particular, Pete moyer, donated tuition at the American University of Kabul for an AAE graduate.

Aid Afghanistan for Education (AAE)

AAE was founded in 1996 by Hassina Sherjan, our partner in the Aid Afghanistan School Project. Hassina left Afghanistan as a refugee in 1979 and returned even before the initial defeat of the Taliban, to participate in the construction of her country. She has since founded many schools for girls as well as a textile factory to employ Afghans (

Model United Nations Club, New Canaan High School

The Model UN Club at NCHS provides students an opportunity to explore the challenges, the history and the many humanitarian functions of the United Nations. Eac year students with a strong interest in international relations and issues act as delegates from the nations of the world as they debate current political issues. The NCHS Club was formed in 2003, and has grown to its current roster of 85 active students. Led by three faculty advisors, and positioned as an “academic sport” they attend weekly meetings before or after high school to prepare for upcoming (usually 3-4 day) conferences. This year those include high scohol hosted conferences (at Horace Mann and at home vs. New Fairfield) and college hosted conferences at Brown University, Princeton, U. of Pennsylvania, and Cornell. A booster club has been organized to help the students with fundraising activities to defray travel expenses. The Club’s goals include the promotion of a world view and the development of skills in research, critical thinking, persuasion, collaboration and leadership.