‘No one-size-fits-all solution to global terror,’ says U.S. diplomat to the UN Michelle Sison

Virginia-born Ambassador Michele Sison is the U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Her parents are from Pangasinan

Virginia-born Ambassador Michele Sison is the U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Her parents are from Pangasinan

By Cristina DC Pastor

Ambassador Michele Sison, who is the U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said defeating terrorism and its “poisonous ideologies” requires an action plan that will address the conditions that feed radicalization.

The U.S., she said, supports a proposal that each member country develop its own action plan against terrorism with the UN coordinating the overall effort. Such plans, “tailored” to each member country, should involve the national and local governments, the private sector, youth, women, religious and educational leaders, and civil society.

Speaking before the UN General Assembly on February 12, Sison, a first-generation FilAm born in Arlington, Virginia, said, “different countries have different perspectives on this challenge,” and that there is “no one size fits all approach” to addressing the scourge of global terror.

“We may even disagree about the precise factors that drive radicalization in our diverse societies,” she said. “There is truly no ‘one size fits all’ solution to these challenges. For this reason, we strongly welcome the Secretary-General’s recommendation that national action plans be tailored to local conditions. Our governments have learned lessons over many years that local perspectives and conditions must be accounted for.”

The remarks of Sison, a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service, were in support of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s “visionary initiative” to fight terrorism by preventing extremism. Bombs and military might are not enough to neutralize the “new war of ideas.”

“Addressing the conditions conducive to terrorism – and implementing human-rights based counterterrorism programs within the rule of law – are so very critical,” she said. “Defeating terrorists on the battlefield is not enough.”

She stressed, “We must find ways to prevent our people from being radicalized in the first place, making them vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.” At a recent Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism in New York, Sison noted how many world leaders have “reaffirmed their commitment to preventing and countering violent extremism.”

Sison was born in Virginia in 1959. Her parents, Pablo and Veronica Sison, trace their roots to Lingayen, Pangasinan, according to a State Department bio. She has two sisters, Victoria Sison Morimoto and Cynthia Sison Morrissey.

Sison was previously married and has two daughters, Jessica and Alexandra.

A graduate of Political Science from Wellesley College, Sison also studied at the London School of Economics. She joined the State Department in early 1980s, starting as a Consul in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She held a series of consular positions in U.S. posts in Togo, Benin, Cameroon and Ivory Coast, until becoming Consul General in Chennai, India from 1996 to 1999. Following her confirmation in 2004, she became the U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates in 2004, and later Lebanon in 2008.

“During her tenure as Ambassador (to the UAE), the U.S. has expanded its military and law enforcement cooperation with the United Arab Emirates, as well as increased trade, investment, and people-to-people programs,” says a State Department statement.

 



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