38-year-old El Salvador President Nayib Bukele started his first speech at the United Nations by taking a selfie.
“If you’ll just bear with me a second,” he then added, pulling out his iPhone 11, lifting it up to his grinning face and snapping a photo he later posted on Twitter to his 1.1 million followers.
“Believe me, many more people will see this selfie than will hear this speech,”
Bukele while delivering his address called on the United Nations to change with the times and for world leaders to do more to connect with their countries’ youth.
The former mayor of the capital, San Salvador, who took office in June, is a social media savvy .
In his speech, he attributed his election victory to his mastery of platforms like Facebook Live, which he said his political opponents did not fully grasp.
Bukele said his photo was made to prove a point: “This format of gathering in person is becoming increasingly obsolete.”
While saying the U.N. and the General Assembly themselves aren’t outdated, he argued they need to embrace change and technology to stay relevant.
Bukele suggested the assembly could meet by video conference, or send videos to an online platform where other countries’ leaders could watch without having to leave their duties at home.
“One week in the U.N., when we could be resolving issues that are important to our countries, is a waste of time if we keep working in this format,” said Bukele
“Our smartphones,” he said, “are the future of the General Assembly.”
He also proposed the U.N. invite ordinary people to propose solutions to climate change, poverty, hunger and other global problems, and award a prize of perhaps $10,000 to young people who come up with inspiring, “genuine” proposals.