Click the video to see a short documentary about the first-ever U.S. Youth Observer to the UN, Brooke Loughrin
The U.S. Youth Observer to the UN, Nicol Perez, will be giving the keynote speech at Global Classrooms DC's (GCDC) 14th Annual Spring Model United Nations Conference. The May 2nd event is expecting hundreds of middle and high school students, as well as enthusiastic and dedicated educators, parents, volunteers, staff, and guests.
Nicol, a graduate from the University of Florida, worked as the "president of Nourish International, a student-run, non-profit organization that works towards making a sustainable impact on communities around the world. During her time at UF, Nicol spearheaded a project in Guatemala City, alongside 3 other students, where they taught business classes to a group of 50 single mothers living in extreme poverty and provided them with the tools and skills needed to start their own businesses. At UF, Nicol co-founded the Global Leadership Program where elected students spent a semester leading business ventures around campus to raise money to start a Goat farm in Uganda. Later, Nicol studied abroad in Bangkok, Thailand where she volunteered with the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation for a semester. Upon graduation, Nicol received an Outstanding Leadership Award for her work in Guatemala."
Call for Nominations for the 2017 UNA-NCA Human Rights Awards
The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area's (UNA-NCA) annual Human Rights Awards Reception commemorates the UN General Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by presenting the Louis B. Sohn Human Rights Award, the Perdita Huston Human Rights Award, the F. Allen "Tex" Harris Diplomacy Award, and the Community Human Rights Award to individuals and organizations that have made substantial contributions in the field of human rights. We invite you to submit your nominations for the 2017 UNA-NCA Human Rights Awards.Please download the document and submit your nomination to
This is an opportunity for you to honor those you know who are working to further human rights, and we are excited to see who this year’s recipients will be.
1) Advocated respect for international human rights as defined by the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international human rights treaties and instruments; 2) Championed the effective role of the UN as well as regional organizations in the promotion and protection of human rights; 3) Advocated respect for human rights as a priority in US foreign and domestic policies; and 4) Elevated the role of non-governmental organizations in promoting and protecting human rights.
1) Made significant contributions for greater gender equality through increasing economic opportunity, supporting fair and sustainable development, or promoting human rights; and/or 2) Advocated to eliminate discrimination against women and girls around the world, and worked to provide peace and security to vulnerable populations.
1) Advocated respect in American diplomacy for international human rights as defined by the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights treaties and instruments; 2) Made significant achievements in human rights through the use of diplomacy; and 3) Demonstrated leadership in the diplomatic community on human rights issues.
1) Provided leadership to advance the cause of human rights through a local group or organization in the Washington, DC, Maryland and/or Northern Virginia area; and 2) Demonstrated personal and professional contributions to advance the cause of human rights in the public, private, and/or non-profit sector.
The deadline for nominations is April 7, and selection begins in May. Please be sure to submit your nomination forms (click to open, then download) to us at
Full list of award criteria can be found here and the list of past award recipients can be found here .
15 March 2017
UNA-NCA President's Statement: US Leadership at the United Nations Has Never Been More Important
The first member of President Trump's foreign policy team to be confirmed by the Senate was UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. In her confirmation hearing, then Governor Haley testified: "I don't think we need to pull money out of the UN....we don't believe in slash and burn... We need to look at each and every mission, see what we are doing and how to make it more effective... As I've said, you can never win with slash and burn techniques." Since then Ambassador Haley has been the most effective foreign policy spokesperson in the Trump Administration, vigorously taking on Russian aggression in Crimea and the Ukraine, North Korean missile and nuclear mischief, and Syrian crimes against humanity. She has articulated a US foreign policy most consistent with bipartisan US foreign policy since World War II, thereby showing how US leadership at the United Nations is an essential tool in the US national security arsenal.
The unfortunate unfolding of the Trump Administration's proposed deep budget cuts in the funding of the State Department, the United Nations, and Foreign Assistance and its apparent intent to withdraw from UN agencies with which it disagrees represents a stark departure from the post-World War II global order designed, created, and advanced by both Republican and Democratic Administrations. Yes, for a time, the US sought to withhold funding from the UN, but funding was quickly restored after 9/11 when we woke up and realized that we were no longer an oasis, immune from the forces of evil and good in the global community. We recognized that the challenges we face in the 21st century are inherently global and need a global response-- terrorism, pandemics, an interconnected global economy, fair trade, climate change, migration, nuclear proliferation, among others.
While 193 nations may disagree on issues from time to time, for the most part the United Nations has been a strong voice in support of US values and policies from confronting nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea, addressing war crimes and the use of chemical weapons in Syria, providing humanitarian assistance to victims of natural and man-made disasters, advocating for human rights, working for peace and security in conflict areas and creating sustainable and democratic institutions in failed and failing states. Like any complex organization, including the US Congress and the federal bureaucracy, the United Nations faces bureaucratic challenges and conflicting visions. History teaches that the UN is at its best when there is strong US leadership. When the only former UN ambassador to serve as US president, George H. W. Bush, sought UN support to confront Iraqi's invasion of Kuwait, the UN provided critical support for the Gulf war. As the only nation to send an Ambassador to New York for UN management and reform, the US has been successful in advocating for much needed reforms in the UN budget and personnel management, especially when we work behind the scene in quiet diplomacy with like-minded nations. Much more needs to be done. And we are fortunate that the UN has a Secretary General, who is greatly respected and fully committed to UN reform.
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres' recent initiative to strengthen the accountability and effectiveness of UN Peacekeepers demonstrates not only his commitment to address abuses and neglect in need of reform but, perhaps more importantly, it serves a critical US national security objective and fundamental tenet of President Trump's foreign policy. The president has made clear that fighting global terrorism is a top priority, but he also has made clear the the United States cannot be the policeman of the world intervening in conflict situations around the globe and engaging in nation building. Yet, failing states are breeding grounds for terrorist cells. Strengthening UN Peacekeeping, with strong US and NATO support, would provide a cost-effective response to the proliferation of conflicts in areas where the US has no intention of deploying boots on the ground. The president understands that the American public would not support redeploying American troops to places like Somalia and Lebanon. We have done that before with disastrous consequences.
President Trump has proposed substantial increases in the defense budget, and so perhaps it is time for the Defense Department to assume the responsibility for funding UN Peacekeepers. With the US Security Council veto and with the US meeting its substantial peacekeeping funding commitments, the US must approve all peacekeeping missions and can exercise oversight over their implementation. This would be a cost effective tool in advancing the new administration's national security objectives.
In a broader sense, the new Secretary General's commitment to UN reform and the new President's foreign policy reforms offer the potential of a marriage of convenience.
We at UNA-NCA have to make the case. There are many examples of how US leadership at the UN serves the Administration's foreign policy objectives. US active engagement at the UN Human Rights Council has lessened the obsessive focus on Israel and raised important issues about human rights in North Korea, Syria, Sri Lanka, and China. This is effective US diplomatic leadership at work shaping the UN agenda. Member states that may resent US lecturing on human rights will listen when the United Nations speaks for the global community. Many in Congress understand this, and with strong advocacy, Congress will maintain the funding levels for diplomacy, the United Nations and bilateral and multilateral foreign assistance. US leadership at the UN has never been more important. We encourage our members and supporters to take action now!
-Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Retired) President, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area
Please see document prepared by the Better World Campaign and UNA-USA explaining the potential impacts of the Administration's proposed cuts on UN peacekeeping, humanitarian, and global health programs.
07 March 2017
National Capital Area Chapter of the United Nations Association Adopts A Refugee School in Kenya
Funds raised will help build classrooms and purchase school supplies through the nationwide Adopt-A-Future campaign in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Washington, D.C. (March 7, 2016) — The National Capital Area (NCA) chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) announced today that it is adopting the Elnino School in Dadaab, Kenya as part of the Adopt-A-Future campaign which supports refugee education worldwide in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The NCA chapter has set a fundraising goal of $30,000 to help build classrooms and purchase school supplies for the Dadaab School, which serves 928 male students and 668 female students for a total of 1,596 students ages 6 to 13 who have been forced to flee their homes in the midst of devastating conflict.
"We have all seen the heartbreaking images of refugee children who have been forced to leave their homes to escape violence and war," said the NCA chapter of the UNA. "If these children can't get an education in the camps where they are currently sheltering, they won't have the skills they need to either return home, should conditions allow, or to make a life for themselves in another country." NCA residents will make a difference in the lives of students who have already been through so much by supporting the Adopt-A-Future campaign, which seeks to prevent a lost generation of millions of refugee children."
It is currently estimated that over 65 million people around the world have been forcibly displaced from their homes, the highest figure ever recorded. Approximately 600,000 refugees currently reside in Kenya; more than half of these refugees are under 18 years old. The Adopt-A-Future Campaign supports refugee children worldwide, but is currently giving special emphasis to Kenya as the country has absorbed thousands of new refugees from conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Somalia, but has received little media attention and very limited philanthropic support.
All funds raised through the Adopt-A-Future campaign will be matched by the Educate A Child Fund of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nassar of Qatar and other philanthropic partners. To help the chapter meet its fundraising goal, please visit http://www.unausa.org/programs/adopt-a-future.
All donations to the Adopt-A-Future campaign are tax deductible.
01 March 2017
The Refugee Crisis: UNA-NCA’s Response
UNA-USA has launched a campaign to raise funds to support the education of refugee children around the world. We need your help.
There are 70 million refugees and displaced persons in the world, more than the combined population of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand-- the largest number in recorded history.
And more than half of them are children. 80 percent are women and children.
One out of every 113 people on the planet is uprooted-- that's 24 people every minute. They are forced from their homes because of persecution, violence, conflict or natural disasters.
The average length of time a person is displaced is 17 years. Children become adults. Will they have the education and training to be productive members of society when they return home or resettle in a new country?
A refugee child who is not in school is at risk of being abused, trafficked, or radicalized by extremist groups.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) is working to prevent a lost generation by educating refugees children in camps and other settlements around the world. But they need our help.
To put it diplomatically, many of us are concerned that the United States government today is not as welcoming to refugees as we should be and have been historically. We need to step up and take action to address this global crisis, and UNA-NCA now provides the opportunity!
The United Nations Association-- USA has initiated the "Adopt-A-Future" program to provide educational facilities, equipment, textbooks, backpacks, and uniforms to refugee children around the world. For example, it provides support to some 60 schools in two UNHCR camps in Kenya, housing the largest number of refugees in the world.
The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), one of the largest and most active chapters of UNA-USA, is raising funds to support "Adopt-A-Future" and to enable our chapter to provide assistance to schools for refugees in Africa and the Middle East. Please contribute to this worthy cause. Contributions are fully tax deductible.
Ways to contribute:
Mail a check made out to UNA-NCA with “Adopt-A-Future” written on the memo line.
Bring a check or cash to the UNA-NCA office, 2000 P Street NW Suite 630, Washington, DC, 20036.
Call UNA-NCA at 202-223-6092 for contributions through credit card.
Contribute online here and make sure to mark chapter as "DC-National Capital Area" as your local chapter.
We will keep you posted on the campaign and on the schools that we help on our website.
Your support is welcome and greatly appreciated.
With deepest gratitude, Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Retired) President, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area
15 February 2017
Statement by the UNA-NCA President on Whether the Carbon Tax is the Way Forward on Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement
When some of the leading statesmen of previous Republican administrations form the Climate Leadership Council and call for a Carbon Tax, it is time to listen. Former Secretaries of State James Baker and George Shultz, former Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, and former presidential economic advisors, Marty Feldman and Greg Mankiw have proposed a market based solution to combat the devastation of global warming and satisfy US commitments under the Paris agreement.
While we await the evolution of the Trump Administration's policies on climate change and the Paris Agreement and as Congress and the Administration work on tax reform and deficit reduction, it is time to put a carbon tax on the table. In his previous life, Secretary of State Tillerson called for a carbon tax, and Secretary Mattis' Defense Department has recognized the serious national security implications of climate change. Democratic members of Congress from the UNA-NCA region, such as Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressman John Delaney, have previously proposed carbon tax legislation. It is time for the parities to work together in considering how a carbon tax would address many of the global and domestic challenges we face.
UNA-NCA is not endorsing any specific proposal or approach, but we urge both parties in Congress and the Administration to give serious consideration to incorporating a carbon tax in tax reform and climate change legislation.
- Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Ret.) President, UNA-NCA
13 February 2017
UNA-NCA's Cities for CEDAW Initiative
The UNA-NCA Board voted on February 10th, 2015 to form an ad hoc committee for the purpose of supporting citywide legislation, which embraces the principles of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. (CEDAW). On March 3rd 2015, Councilmember David Grosso introduced the legislation. Unfortunately, there was not a hearing and a vote before the 2015/2016 legislative session ended. We are working to have it introduced again and will continue educating and advocating for a hearing before the DC Council Judiciary Committee and a vote this session.
Several organizations have joined UNA-NCA as Supporting Organizations and UNA-NCA is continuing to recruit additional partners to encourage the DC Council to support the legislation and help bring gender equality to the Nation’s Capital. If you are a member of an organization that would like to support this effort, please email
Thank You to all the organizations who have already signed up to support the legislation:
The United Nations approved CEDAW in 1979 and it was signed by President Carter in 1980, but it has not yet been ratified by the US Senate. By supporting a Human Rights bill we can help implement a citywide action plan to ensure equality for women and girls in the economic, political, social and cultural arenas. In 2014, municipalities across the nation began signing onto the Cities for CEDAW initiative, pledging to step up where the federal government has failed and to implement the principles of CEDAW at the local level. DC has the potential to join the ranks of cities that have passed binding legislation, cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami Dade County if the bill is passed. Many other communities have passed resolutions supporting the concept of gender equality.
The key provisions in the bill introduced in 2015 and potentially to be introduced in 2017 are:
·District Government agencies will be required to conduct gender analysis reporting according to the guidelines developed by the Office of Human Rights (OHR)
·The gender analysis will include the collection of disaggregated data and an evaluation of gender equity in the District Government agencies operations
·Each agency will designate a management or executive level employee to serve as a liaison to the OHR to coordinate the completion of the gender analysis
·OHR will develop timelines for completion of the gender analysis
·Annually, OHR will develop a citywide action plan to address any deficiencies identified in the gender analysis reporting
·OHR will present the annual action plan to the Mayor and monitor the implementation of the citywide action plan
·OHR will make available to all District Government agencies training in human rights with a gender perspective
While we continue to urge the U.S. Senate to ratify CEDAW, we believe it is important to build support locally and begin to implement its provisions by passing CEDAW ordinances in as many cities as possible and securing the endorsement of mayors for this approach. This effort will help to raise awareness of women’s issues covered by CEDAW as well as build a constituency of the public and local elected officials. If you are a member of an organization that would like to support this effort, please email
09 February 2017
2017 Call for Nominations for UNA-NCA Board Officers and At-Large Director Positions
According to Article IX of UNA-NCA’s bylaws, the Governance Committee of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) will constitute itself in a Nominating Committee from time to time. The Nominating Committee chaired by past president Karen Mulhauser, wishes to invite UNA-NCA members to submit names of candidates, including themselves, for vacant officer and at-large positions on the UNA-NCA Board of Directors.
According to UNA-NCA's bylaws, each member who has been in good standing for the preceding year should be given the opportunity to submit the name of any member in good standing for nomination for any vacant office or for membership on the Board of Directors. We invite your suggestions for nominees for the positions listed below. Names and a brief statement of the nominee's qualifications should be submitted by March 10th, 2017 via email to
or via fax at 202-223-6096.
Because UNA-NCA intentionally does not elect all its officers at the same time, there are many positions in which the incumbent is either completing a term or can remain in office for another term if re-elected. The Governance Committee seeks candidates that include, but are not limited to, stakeholders from corporate, philanthropic, government, foreign policy, international relations and academic leadership. The committee also seeks nominees that will help enhance the board’s reflection of key diversity dimensions, including geographic region, race, age, gender, education and socioeconomic class.
A Ballot will be sent to members in good standing in May and election results will be presented at the June 8th Annual Membership Meeting. One or more candidates may be suggested below:
Directors-at-large (three-year term) - One or more candidates may be suggested below:
Officers serve in the UNA-NCA Executive Committee which meets every other month and are expected to commit 5-10 hours a week. Officers and Directors at large are expected to attend Board of Directors meetings (minimum of four every year).
According to the bylaws, Board members are expected to participate in defining strategic directions for UNA-NCA, to fulfill financial and managerial oversight responsibilities, to volunteer time to UNA-NCA Committees, to recruit members, to help to identify new funding sources, to assist in fundraising, and to make annual gifts that represent significant and meaningful commitment, with full appreciation for the person's financial ability and other obligations.
The Board adopted an annual contribution policy of $500 ($200 from each Board member and $300 “give or get”). The policy enables every Board member to be recognized as a Global Citizen in the UNA-NCA Annual Report. Board participation and compliance with this policy will be taken into account by the Governance Committee during this year’s nomination process.
If you have any questions about the positions vacant please do not hesitate to contact Nominating Committee Chair Karen Mulhauser at
, and Executive Director Paula Boland at
or at 202.223.6092.