#PeacefulMondays: The Super Bowl of Diplomacy

Are you still thinking about Hurricane Irma, the hurricanes that threaten to follow in her wake, or friends and loved ones who were affected by her wrath?

A couple of days ago, I was on the phone with a close friend and learned she has family in Florida. One had a home in the Florida Keys, the belt of islands just south of the Floridian peninsula that bore the full brunt of Irma’s fury. He hasn’t been able to return to his home, and is just one of thousands still displaced or devastated by what Mother Nature decided to unleash.

As we chatted I couldn’t help but note that here I am, a recent migrant to North America, just one degree of separation from a victim of Hurricane Irma. In a flash, the scenes of destruction I’d seen on cable news last week hit even closer to home.

And I was reminded of a truth that periodically rears its wise head lest we forget: for all our insistence on staying in our silos or believing we can “stick to our own kind”, we are connected in more ways than we know. One (wo)man’s glory can soon turn to dust, while another life simultaneously rises from ashes of despair to crests of joy. And as the world turns, so does our common fortune (or ruin) in our countries and as a global community of nations.

Speaking of which…

The 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly is underway, with the bulk of its meetings taking place this week. Before some of you tune out – who cares if a decades-old and questionably effective institution is meeting anyways – I believe this is a moment for us to lean in.

The United Nations General Assembly, nicknamed the Super Bowl of Diplomacy, may be too large, too bogged down by its own scale, or too stagnant in its ways. But it represents something important. It stands for a desire to maintain peace among nations, goodwill with our fellow man, and a brain trust to solve our common challenges.

So that when a (wo)man’s glory turns to dust, another person whose life is in its crest of joy can lift them back up. And when those fortunes are reversed, as they inevitably will be, the goodwill can flow the other way.

That said, it’s getting harder for many of us to exercise this goodwill. Whether we’re weary from helping the world solve its problems while having to neglect our own, whether we feel bullied by other nations, or whether we simply want some respite from relentless man-made upheaval or natural disasters…our heart is often too distracted, too broken or too hurt to care.


Super Bowls have a reason for being. And 72 years makes for a good run and resilient franchise.

The United Nations has (largely) helped us keep the peace since the Second World War, beginning with 26 nations and now encompassing 193. Their meetings and assemblies exist for us, to express our needs and champion our interests.

On Tuesday Sep 19, President Trump will address the United Nations General Assembly for the first time. Having watched some of these addresses by American presidents through the years, I know the impact it makes and the agenda it shapes for the world.

I also believe we’re ripe for a world where diplomacy is shared by more in order to do and be more. In a world that changes so quickly, our UN representatives may not be agile or knowledgeable enough to address our needs to our satisfaction. Rather than sit back and bemoan their incompetence, we can choose to pick up that slack in ways big and small. (More on this from me in the future.)

Here’s wishing you a lovely week ahead. I’ll be watching and reflecting on my Super Bowl.

Questions to ponder



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About the author

Maya Mathias

Maya Mathias is a peaceful leadership advocate, spiritual biographer and soul guide, with a life and career spanning 3 continents and 5 inspired self-reinventions. She is a global leadership veteran, bringing her unique blend of East & West to her leadership development and innovation management practice. Maya’s life began with a lower-middle class upbringing in Asia, surrounded by poultry & vegetable farms and the ‘simple life’. She doesn’t forget her humble roots, and her body of work seeks to bring more equality, justice and personal purpose in troubling times. Learn more about Maya here.

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