Tony Banbury on life as a high-ranking U.N. official.

How Does a U.N. Official Work?

How Does a U.N. Official Work?

What do you do all day?
March 29 2015 2:42 PM

The “How Does a U.N. Official Work?” Edition

The assistant secretary-general for field support explains what it’s like to work behind a desk in New York and in crisis situations around the world.

Press conference of Anthony Banbury and Samantha Power on 29 October 2014 in Accra, Ghana
Tony Banbury.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by UNMEER/Aaron J. Buckley

Listen to this episode of Working with guest Tony Banbury:

In this installment of Slate’s podcast about work, host Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money and the New York Times Magazine talks with his brother-in-law, Tony Banbury, who also happens to be a high-ranking official at the United Nations.


As the assistant secretary-general for field support, Banbury is responsible for making sure the U.N.’s peacekeeping and political missions around the world have the personnel, supplies, transportation, and food that they need.

He talks to Davidson about dividing his time behind a desk at the secretariat in New York and in crisis situations around the world, such as the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

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For an extended version of this interview (featuring Banbury’s experience in the Central African Republic) and the transcript, join Slate Plus! Members also get bonus segments, exclusive podcasts, and more. Start your two-week trial at

Adam Davidson is co-founder and co-host of Planet Money. He also writes the weekly "It's the Economy" column for the New York Times Magazine.