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Archbishop Justin Welby will become the first Archbishop of Canterbury to address the United Nations Security Council when he takes part in an open debate on Aug. 29.

Karen Pierce, the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the U.N., invited the archbishop to brief an open debate on “mediation and its role in conflict prevention.”

The archbishop’s visit is one of two discretionary events being organized by the United Kingdom during its rolling presidency of the U.N. in August.

“Over the years, the U.N. has been increasing the amount of effort it puts into mediation,” Ambassador Pierce said at a U.N. press conference. “I think everybody agrees there is still more that could be done there: there is more that we can do to share best practice; there is more we can do to talk about what works.

“A lot of countries — both off and on the council — have very personal experiences of how mediation has helped resolve conflict, or see off the threat of conflict, and we want to tap into that knowledge.”

Pierce reminded journalists that Welby is a member of U.N. Secretary General António Guterres’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation.

“He has a particular offering to make,” she said. “We wanted to have a briefer who we hope council members will enjoy hearing from. I have heard the archbishop speak. I think he will be a very good contributor.

“I do know that he comes often to the United Nations and takes his contribution to it seriously.”

The invitation is “a really exciting and significant moment,” said Jack Palmer-White, the Communion’s representative to the U.N.

“Not only does his participation as an expert briefer for the debate acknowledge his own expertise on matters of peace and reconciliation, but it is also an opportunity to draw attention to the vital work of mediation, conflict resolution and peace-building going on around the Anglican Communion,” Palmer-White said.

Adapted from ACNS

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[Living Church General Convention]