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SRSG Marta Santos Pais presenting the report to the UN General Assembly in July 2016

Rain Barrel backs UN Secretary-General on Bullying

Long involved in efforts to stop violence against children (including at UNICEF and in our work with Cartoon Network Latin America on the successful Stop Bullying: Speak Up! campaign), Rain Barrel was asked by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, to help prepare her team’s report on the long-term negative consequences of bullying, including cyberbullying, on children worldwide.

Rain Barrel Associate Roberta Brangam, who headed the UN editorial team at Headquarters until 2010, took on the daunting assignment to bring a vast body of studies and documents into a powerful report of a tight (!) 25,000 words.

Remembering Miguel d'Escoto

President Miguel d’Escoto invited Rain Barrel director Paul Hoeffel to join his cabinet as his speechwriter, aware of his career in journalism and work with the UN. After Paul toned down the president’s fiery introductory broadside to the General Assembly into acceptable UN-ese, Miguel admonished, “That’s not me. Write with fire in the belly. We want to wake people up, not lull them to sleep.” 

Paul’s remembrance of Father Miguel first appeared on the UN staff website, Iseek, in August 2017

63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

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When Miguel d’Escoto, a long-time Sandinista political figure and priest from Nicaragua, was elected President of 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly, he approached Rain Barrel in search of a speech writer and communications advisor. Paul agreed to join his cabinet fulltime and over the course of d’Escoto’s controversial tenure (2008-9) produced scores of speeches covering the range of issues taken up by the world’s most representative body.

Among a range of progressive initiatives, d’Escoto campaigned to restore the rightful place of the General Assembly as a uniquely representative international forum for consultation on issues affecting all 193 UN member states.

As speech writer, Paul was at the center of the campaign to raise awareness and support for the reform of the international financial architecture, a move propelled by the unfolding global economic recession that devastated economies around the world. d’Escoto’s term also coincided with the first Israeli invasion of Gaza, in which he criticized the Security Council for its inability to prevent the mass destruction that took place in early 2009.

Rain Barrel was honored to help articulate the messages of such an historic and activist GA presidency.