On September 23, 2009, President Obama gave his first speech as president to the United Nations General Assembly. The President emphasized the importance of nations and peoples coming together to solve difficult problems and highlighted some of his administration’s early accomplishments, including prohibiting torture, joining the Human Rights Council, and setting timelines for a wind-down in Afghanistan and Iraq. The President encouraged the world community to join the United States in responding to global challenges, and laid out four pillars for such action. These include: 1) controlling nuclear proliferation; 2) pursuing peace; 3) preserving the planet; and 4) promoting a global economy that advances opportunity for all people. The President emphasized that democracy and human rights are essential to all of these pillars. He advocated for a world in which governments are accountable to their citizens and people are free to speak their minds, free to worship, and free from discrimination. Finally, the President promised that the United States “will never waver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny.” Read the full speech here.