Can the U.N. play a proactive role in the economic crisis we are witnessing right now?
Sekari Vaidy SUNNYVALE, CALIF.
The goal of the U.N. is to promote harmonious development throughout the world. We welcome industrialized countries' stimulus packages, but at the same time they should never lose sight of the plight of billions of other people, the poorest of the poor.
What can individuals do to halt the global climate crisis? Carl Sack, VANCOUVER
Climate change is the defining issue of our era. For individuals, changing life patterns is very important. Turning lights off when you go to bed. Using water in a sparing way. There are about 1.2 billion people who do not have access to safe drinking water.
Once he takes office, what's the first thing Barack Obama should do regarding foreign policy? Gilberto Coker OBREGON, MEXICO
I hope the next Administration will continue what the Bush Administration has been doing. I would like President-elect Obama to make the Middle East peace process a priority and take over the climate-change campaign, in which the U.S. has not been actively participating.
How will you take action on the ruling Burmese junta for crimes against humanity? Zam Kham SANTA MONICA, CALIF.
When Cyclone Nargis hit, I told them that while the international community was ready to provide humanitarian assistance, they must look to the future of their country through democratization. I'm willing to visit Myanmar again to urge them to accelerate the process and release all political prisoners--particularly Aung San Suu Kyi.
After the Mumbai attacks, would the U.N. intervene to prevent a total war between India and Pakistan? Arjun Gajulapalli NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y.
While I urge that the perpetrators be brought to justice, at the same time this issue should not affect the relationship between India and Pakistan. Pakistan should fully cooperate in the investigation. And India should try to resolve this issue peacefully.
The U.N. has not been able to stop genocide in Sudan. It allowed Rwanda to happen. Why is it so hard for the international community to do the right thing for the people of these countries? Carlos Moran, ROCKVILLE, MD.
First of all, the U.N. has been doing its utmost to maintain peace and security in Sudan. It was tragic and regretful that the international community was not able to prevent the genocide in Rwanda. We must not repeat this. We must learn the lessons of history.
Now that President Bush is on his way out, do you think the U.N. should hold him accountable for the war in Iraq? Nikunj Sanghvi SUGARLAND, TEXAS
The U.S. and her people have made great sacrifices for the peace and security of Iraq; at the same time, the international community should support the Iraqi people so they can enjoy genuine freedom, peace and stability. Let's not discuss what happened in the past too much. We should learn from the past and do more for the future.
The U.N.'s legacy has been tainted in recent times. What are you doing to reform it? Azad Kariem, ARBIL, IRAQ
My goal is to make the U.N. more transparent, more accountable, more effective and efficient and professional. I think we have made significant progress in that regard.
Which previous U.N. Secretary-General inspires you the most? C.J. Cervantes, AUSTIN, TEXAS
In terms of mission and principles and the way he showed his commitment to peace and security, Dag Hammarskjöld has always been my role model. I would do anything in my power to preserve peace and protect human rights.
Will the U.N. have the same fate as the League of Nations? Warren Chan, KUALA LUMPUR
No, I don't believe so. If there were no U.N., I would have proposed we create one--in which we can discuss all the challenges, all the noble goals and ideals of humanity.