World Leaders Gather in New York
Top leaders from over 145 countries are convening in New York City this week as the United Nations opens the 78th session of the annual General Assembly. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend in person for the first time since Russia's 2022 invasion.
The assembly is the most representative body in the United Nations, the world's largest intergovernmental association (see background). For nearly eight decades, the assembly has provided a forum for global security, aid, and cooperation (see past highlights) and is often viewed as the biggest opportunity for smaller countries to represent their interests to the international community.
Leaders from traditional US allies France and the United Kingdom will be absent. The heads from Russia, China, and India—three of the five members of the bloc of emerging economies known as BRICS, which includes South Africa and Brazil—will also not attend. Their absence comes after last month's expansion of BRICS to six more countries, a forum observers suggest aspires to reform the Western-dominated United Nations.