The Secretary-General of the United Nations - a woman?
Pilar Marti is a UN bureaucrat who rises above her limitations to become a great Secretary-General, one who transforms the UN from inertia to dynamism, from control by five veto countries to a representative world body. Pilar grows with the job, becoming a take-charge person who breaks out of the church-like UN building and confronts the world's problems.
When the United States vetoes a food and water proposal for Somalia, Pilar calls for a Constitutional Convention to eliminate the veto and reform the UN. She attacks the veto with an unusual weapon - the American Constitution. What's good for America - democracy - is good for the UN.
With a devoted bodyguard and idealistic young people, she campaigns worldwide, but especially in America. A nervous CIA and a power-hungry Washington elite respond with intrigue, harassment, diplomatic maneuvers, and ultimately attempts on her life...
Pilar touched the glass cover of the map. The coast of British Columbia with her mother's notes inked in archeological sites. How strange for her to come back from the funeral with only this memento. It was a map from her mother's youth when her mother was passionately interested in theories of first nation migration from Asia. It wasn't even her mother's life work. The sociology department offered her scholarships and later a teaching position and she let her interest in archeology die.
Pilar traced her finger down the coast, remembering how her mother explained that the oceans were lower then. Pilar was only five at the time, but because of her mother's enthusiasm the ancient peoples lived and marched down the coast in her mind. It was the best of her mother.
Her finger stopped at the Queen Charlotte Islands where her mother had made several notes. Yes, this map belonged here, in this office. The map recorded the heroic journey of the first settlers to North America, while the office of the Secretary-General, her office, worked to keep the whole human race moving forward on its journey through space and time.
Pilar lifted her finger from the map. She shivered. She knew why she had picked this map - this was her passionate mother, not the prim, bureaucratic sociology professor. And, the knot in her stomach tightened, had she hung it on her wall for a memento or for a message to herself?
She returned to her desk, wiped her eyes and reached for her water bottle. The coldness of the water shocked her tongue. Reality. Back to work. As she took another sip, her eye caught the picture of the Somali woman under the eucalyptus tree. That desperate, begging stare.
"Here," she said, holding out her water bottle. That's all the woman wanted - water. Why couldn't she get her out of her mind? She had reached the pinnacle of her career, the Secretary-General of the UN, yet her mind focused on this ordinary Somali woman.
She only had a few minutes before the foreign minister came in and she had to study the background paper. Oil. That's what he wanted to talk about. And after him, the Saudis wanted to talk to her at the luncheon - about oil.
The Somali woman wanted water but Pilar's day was centered on oil