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02 June 2020

UNA-NCA Stands in Solidarity

 

“Lasting peace can only be built on the premise that all people have equal rights and dignity.”

-United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 

 

This has been a traumatic week for our nation. We write to you today to both reflect on these national tragedies and reaffirm our commitment to the safety and well-being of our members and community. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others have brought to the surface racial inequities that continue to impact our society. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionately devastating impact on the health and economic status of our communities of color. It has also confirmed what we already knew—that deep racial disparities continue to exist in our nation. 


The creation of the United Nations institutionalized the notion that all persons are entitled to the same rights and dignity. Our work to defend the United Nations is a reflection of our communal belief in these guiding principles and a recognition of the importance of international solidarity and cooperation to forge a better future. 


As our communities across the country continue to demand justice, we maintain our work to realign the United States with the democratic principles of the UN. To stray from her framework is to stray from the fundamental ideology and to forget the lessons of the previous century. The United Nations was forged in the shadow of atrocity and genocide, representing a global will for a more just society. We stand in solidarity with those who continue the struggle for equity across the world and in our own neighborhoods. We reaffirm our commitment to preserving and defending universal human rights, whether that is the right to the highest attainable level of health or the right to life. 


We stand in solidarity and in demanding an end to this injustice. Black lives matter now and always. We will continue to raise our voices in favor of universal human rights; we will work to defend the World Health Organization in its campaign to provide healthcare to the world’s most vulnerable and seek to dismantle systems of oppression and disenfranchisement. We are committed to building a world in which bigotry and xenophobia do not exist.


Stephen F. Moseley, President

Paula Boland, Executive Director

United Nations Association of the National Capital Area


 



01 June 2020

Statement on Nationwide Protests

by Hon. Teta V. Banks, Ed.D. 
Chair, National Council United Nations Association of the USA Member, World Federation of UNAs 

The United Nations Association of the United States of America extends our condolences to the family of George Floyd and all other victims of racial violence. As we advocate for human rights, we condemn those who deny those rights to any men and women - in this case, to men and women and children based upon the color of their skin. The protests, demonstrations, and riots we now see in the streets of our nation are demands for justice and change. The cry, once again, is “No justice, No peace.” While we advocate for civic action, we know that violence begets violence. However, we also know, as Dr. King stated that “violence is the language of the unheard.” And we know that the struggle for civil rights in America has continued into the 21st century. 

In the midst of the year in which we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Charter, we find ourselves in mourning and in outrage at a convergence of pandemics- the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic of racism. While we were yet in “shut down” as a country and as a world due to the novel coronavirus, the ever-present pandemic of racism ignited again the smoldering embers of 400 years with the murder of an African American man, George Floyd, by law enforcement in Minneapolis. The anger, frustration, and pain lay bare the soul of America’s original sin of slavery and its centuries-old aftermath. The convergence of this social cancer with the COVID-19 that has killed over 100,000 Americans, with a disproportionate number of African Americans, bears witness to the social disparities that now translate into medical vulnerabilities and precious lives lost. 

Our reality is a conundrum far beyond a Dickensian dualism. 

In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic with over 100,000 Americans dead and more than 3 million people dead worldwide, in the midst of CDC and NIH reports as well as African American scholars noting and explaining the impact disparities of the novel coronavirus on populations of people of color based on historically continuous systemic inequalities, in the midst of a fabricated friction attacking the World Health Organization, in the midst of a continuum litany of African American individuals’ deaths/murders at the hands of a nation’s law enforcement ( individually and collectively), and now in the midst of demonstrations, protests, and violence in our cities throughout our nation, we find ourselves forced to see “more clearly” and see ”anew” the realities that are our America. 

And we see this reality in a dichotomous lens. Our nation is touting the great step into space once more since a decade with the SpaceX venture to the International Space Station via public-private Tesla-NASA partnership, the United Nations is commemorating its 75th anniversary after its Charter that proclaims never again the “scourge of war” for succeeding generations with the commitment to protect human rights in that historic Universal Declaration of Human Rights document, nations throughout the world are in the midst of strategizing and implementing the Agenda 2030 of the Sustainable Development Goals that address every element that impacts sustenance of human life and our planet. 

We are forced to see more clearly the good, the bad, and the ugly. But we have seen this before. Yet, today with the “urgency of now” we must not only see but act. We must not only advocate but commit. We must not only be a voice but be a vehicle of change. Gandhi told us, “Be the change you want to see.” 

How each of us chooses to be the change will be our decisions. For our UNA members, we can choose the ballot, we can choose the advocacy actions, we can choose education. We can choose to march, to teach, to speak the truth to power, to pen the ideas of change, to be social change agents. Whatever the means, we refuse to be the “unheard.” Individually and collectively we, as UNA, have a charge to keep. That charge is written into the very document creating the existence of the United Nations. It reads: “We the Peoples of the United Nations determined... to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war ... to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person...” 

In these times of conflict, in these wars, let us stand strong in the faith of our founding document. Let us not waver nor falter in our commitment to human rights for all. Let us not be bowed nor bent to inhumane ideologies. Let us not fear to uphold the higher laws of humanity. Let us reaffirm that the UNA stands for human rights. We stand for justice. We stand for the future of humanity. 




21 May 2020

Global Classrooms Hosts PD Session for Educators

Despite the cancellation of the Spring 2020 Model UN Conference, Global Classrooms DC has remained committed to providing global education engagement opportunities for their network. In the effort to adapt, the GCDC team hosted a virtual Professional Development (PD) session via Zoom on May 14th for educators involved in the GCDC program. The PD session typically happens during the Spring Conference, and serves as an open forum for educators to build skills relevant to their Model UN programs. 

During the session, the Global Classrooms DC team welcomed educators from Cabin John Middle School, Muslim Community School, and Templeton Academy. The session focused on connecting educators involved in the GCDC program and setting goals for both the program as a whole and individual groups involved. It was an excellent opportunity for educators in the program to get to know each other, while also recognizing the opportunities and challenges that presented each of their individual groups. 

The session started off with a “speed-dating” style activity that allowed educators to build rapport with each other and discuss their involvement with GCDC. Some noted the immense growth of their own Model UN groups over the past couple of years with the GCDC curriculum, while others were fairly new to the program. The educators were also asked to share a global issue that they are passionate about, to which they recalled topics ranging from climate change to inter-state conflict to the failure of institutions. They also specified that their passions have increasingly been influenced by the students that they work with. 

Once the participants got to know each other, they gathered to reflect on their experiences and came together with the GCDC team to identify common goals for the program. The objective of this activity was to identify how collaboration can provide new ideas and perspectives while also inspiring solutions that are innovative and shared. As students are taught valuable life skills, like collaboration, through Model UN, it’s critical to ensure that educators use these same skills to focus on what they want their students to achieve from the program. 

By recognizing the various motivations that drive each Model UN program in the previous activity, the educators were able to engage in a collaborative process. As such, the educators came to the consensus that personalizing the experience for students is crucial for preparing them for their futures. By identifying the skills that each student wants to achieve, both educators and the GCDC staff can better tailor their experiences for success. One participant also identified the impact of speakers that work on issues directly related to the global topics discussed in the classroom. 

The session concluded with each educator creating a personal goal through a Google Form for their own Model UN group and encouraged to relate to the shared goal created. Once the next school year starts, the GCDC team will reshare the collaborative and individual goals with all of the participants. Overall, since the participants were both veterans of and new to the program, it was a great opportunity for them to learn from each other. The educators and Global Classrooms team engaged in meaningful conversations that will have a lasting impact on the ability of our future generation to discuss global topics. 

Didn’t have a chance to attend the PD session? Watch the full video here




19 May 2020

Congratulations to UNA-NCA's 2020 Graduate Fellows!

On April 27th, the 2020 cohort of UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows completed their semester-long examination of the United Nations system and its role in addressing the pressing global issues of our time. Led by UNA-NCA’s Nancy Donaldson, Tom Bradley, Soonhoon Ahn, and Ed Elmendorf, the 23 Graduate Fellows, hailing from twelve countries and nine universities, examined various global issues from the perspective of the UN, participated in weekly conversations with UN thought leaders, and collaborated with Soonhoon and volunteer mentors on their professional development. Over the course of 14 sessions, held on Friday of each week, Graduate Fellows studied such topics as reforming the UN system, financing the sustainable development goals, and meeting the challenge of climate. In addition to their readings and coursework, Fellows had the unique opportunity to conclude their weekly examinations with conversations alongside UN heavyweights such as Robert Orr, Special Adviser on Climate Change to the UN Secretary-General, and Patricia Beneke, professor at Georgetown University and former Regional Director for the United Nations Environment Programme, as well as NGO and government executives like Anthony Pipa, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and former chief strategy officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development and Micah Spangler, Director of Advocacy and Humanitarian Affairs at the Better World Campaign.

With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the program was forced to adapt swiftly. While marquee events such as the Global Engagement Summit were cancelled, the management team stepped up to the challenge – moving the program to a virtual format while continuing to supplement the weekly curriculum with visits from prominent guest speakers. Likewise, Fellows continued to demonstrate their commitment to the program by remaining active, curious, and engaged throughout. Upon concluding the program, the Fellows offered high praise for the program. One Fellow noted that “the biggest strength of the program is the effort and passion everybody in the leadership team puts in. It shows how much you believe in us and are open to supporting us,” while another added, “Thank you very much for all your effort and motivation. You are a fantastic team! I am grateful to be part of the fellowship, and I hope I can stay connected with you.” Congratulations to the 2020 Graduate Fellows and to the UNA-NCA management team!

 

 

 

 



18 May 2020

Bylaws Amendments and Revisions for Membership Approval


Late last year (2019), UNA-NCA’s Board of Directors appointed a Bylaws Task Force to review the organization’s Bylaws and provide recommendations to ensure one of the organization’s governing documents reflected current and best practices (the Bylaws were last amended in June 2015). The review was also necessitated by a desire to update position descriptions and titles of the President and Executive Director to better reflect their roles, as well as reflect practices of similar organizations. In addition, UNA-USA had recommended several changes as part of their chapter review that required updating. UNA-NCA’s Board of Directors reviewed several iterations of the Bylaws revisions, providing feedback and recommendations throughout the process, and strongly endorses the amendments before you.

Attached you will find revisions to UNA-NCA’s Bylaws, which must be submitted to the organization’s membership in good standing for approval by a two-thirds majority vote. The remainder of this memo serves to outline and frame the key amendments and revisions to the Bylaws for your review. Please refer to the attached Bylaws to view the full set of proposed changes (proposed changes are indicated in redline in the attached).

Please note that the changes detailed below address significant changes to the Bylaws. They do not address changes resulting from minor copy edits, formatting, use of “may” versus “shall” (we deferred to Bylaws chair’s recommendations), or various title changes for consistency and as a direct result of the shift from “Executive Director” to “President” and “President” to “Chair” and “Vice Presidents” to “Vice Chairs” (of which there are many instances).

As noted above, the changes in the Bylaws are focused around three main points:

  • Titles of Board Officers and Directors:
    • Updated position descriptions and titles of the President and the
      • Executive Director of UNA-NCA now reflect their respective responsibilities and duties (Article V: Officers, Executive Committee, and President, 1. and 7.).
      • It should be noted that the title change is intended to better reflect significant growth in leadership responsibility of the Executive Director over the years since the Bylaws were last reviewed in 2015 (for example, under the previous Bylaws, the Executive Director has served on the UNA-USA National Council rather than the President as stated) and to reflect the increase in pattern of similar nonprofit organizations using the title of President for Executive Directors.
    • The new descriptions are drawn from the best practices of Board Source, a respected advisory group for nonprofits.
    • The other title changes of UNA-NCA officers who are Vice Presidents are also therefore changed to become Vice-Chairs of the Board for each of their current respective areas of responsibilities; otherwise, this is not a substantive change and reflects no changes in responsibilities (Article V: Officers, Executive Committee, and President, 4.).
    • These title changes have been substituted wherever needed and throughout the various sections of the Bylaws to ensure consistent use of titles (throughout).

  • Agreement with the UNA-USA Chapter Affiliation Guidelines, to include:
    • Inclusion of non-dues paying members who are 25 years of age or younger to the membership category (Article III: Membership and Institutional Sponsorship).
    • Process for voluntary and involuntary removal from elected office (Article V: Officers, Executive Committee, and President, 6.).
    • Annual Chapter report submission required by March 1 of each year (Article V: Officers, Executive Committee, and President, 11.)
    • Removal of stand-alone clause around annual IRS 990 reporting (Article XIV: Finances and Fiscal Administration, 6.); subsumed into Article XIV: Finances and Fiscal Administration, 2.c.
    • Process concerning voluntary and involuntary chapter dissolution (Article XIV: Finances and Fiscal Administration, 7. and Article XVII: Chapter Dissolution).
    • It should be noted that all of these changes or additions are already reflected in UNA-NCA’s current practices and the language is being updated now to reflect those realities.

  • General Updates to Align with Best Practice in Board Governance:
    • Amendments to the language and powers of the Governance Committee to reflect current practice. For example, a separate Nominating Committee is appointed to manage board recruitment (Article X: Nominating Committee).
    • Added language codifies the Board’s practice of a Human Resources Task Force, which carries out the performance review of the President and addresses compensation and benefits for UNA-NCA’s employees, under the Governance Committee (Article IX: Governance Committee, 4.).

It is the Board’s opinion that the changes highlighted above and redlined in the attached document, reflect the current reality of day-to-day processes, bring the organization into alignment with best practice and current nonprofit trends, as well as UNA-USA requirements, and ensure compliance with legal regulations. Therefore, the Board requests that membership vote in favor of the revisions.




11 May 2020

UNA-NCA Welcomes New Global Education Director

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UNA-NCA wishes the best to Global Education Director Nicole Bohannon, and welcomes Jaiya Lalla as Global Education Managing Director

After more than 3 years at UNA-NCA, our Global Education Director Nicole Bohannon will be moving on to pursue a graduate degree in the UK. Nicole's last day in the office will be June 5, 2020. 

During her time at the UN Association, Nicole has vastly enhanced our signature education program Global Classrooms DC (GCDC). During her leadership, the program has brought in new audiences, partners, and program offerings, as well as creating a more sustainable and well-rounded program. We are sincerely grateful for her contributions.

We are pleased to announce that Jaiya Lalla will be promoted to Global Education Managing Director, effective June 8, 2020. Jaiya brings extensive programming and Model UN experience, including holding previous positions in the U.S. Senate, at the Peace Corps headquarters, the U.S. Department of State, Women’s Watch-China, and the National Endowment for Democracy. She previously served as a GCDC Program Assistant, where she worked to organize the program's Model UN Conferences and to make Global Classroom DC more dynamic. For the past six months, Jaiya has served as the GCDC Deputy Manager, getting full training experience before assuming the director role. 

"I started at GCDC as an intern Program Assistant in the summer of 2015 while I was still a student at GW. I could not have imagined the growth, challenges, and joy that working within the UNA-NCA family has brought me, and I couldn't be more grateful for all of it. I will cherish the memories of students coming to the State Department, ready to debate our amazing topics; of parents and teachers unable to contain their pride and joy seeing their kids excel; of volunteers ready to run their Model UN committees, despite the early start of our conferences; of partners beng just as excited as the GCDC team to highlight critical issues."

"Even through this uncertain time during a pandemic, I know that Jaiya will do a phenomenal job in the Director role. She has learned an enormous amount of skills and information since she started as a Program Assistant in September 2019. I'm proud of her progress, and UNA-NCA is incredibly lucky to have her."

- Nicole Bohannon 

GCDC_Director_Transition

We wish Nicole much luck in her studies and welcome Jaiya in her new role!

You can learn more about our Global Classrooms DC program here.



07 May 2020

Letter of Hope from the President of UNA-NCA

Stephen F. Moseley, UNA-NCA President

Dear UNA-NCA colleagues, supporters, and members,

During this difficult time in the face of the global health pandemic and economic crisis, I want to extend my best wishes to and your families for your health, safety and wellbeing. 

The dedication of our staff and the many volunteer leaders of our programs drawn from our Board of Directors, Advisory Council, membership, and partner organizations, has made it possible to continue and transform most of our programs through the wonderful virtual platforms that have become almost second nature to many of us.  

The year 2020 is an important milestone in UNA-NCA’s ongoing mission of advocating for vigorous U.S. engagement with the United Nations. In recognition of the United Nation’s 75th anniversary, there have been already many outstanding statements of support from citizens, private institutions, and leaders in city, state, and federal government. Over and over again, these individuals and institutions acknowledge that, despite our differences, our well-being as both a nation and as global community rests upon a United States being a committed, patient, and proactive participant in multilateral institutions like the UN. 


Our present circumstances have made the linkages between public health and economic opportunity readily apparent; strengthening both across the world will require mitigating the impacts of global warming, creating pathways towards lasting peace and security, and supporting sustainable development solutions. Moreover, economic disparities and greater risk of disease are too often influenced by historical and continuing discrimination against people of color and migrant populations, in favor of families with historical and multigenerational wealth. As an active participant in multilateral fora, the United States has the ability to broker policies that insure more equal access to goods through fair and open trade, to be a champion of human rights and civil liberties, and to help create new beginnings for the world’s nearly 100 million migrants and displaced people suffering from countless hardships.


Without U.S. leadership, we continue to witness an increase in human rights violations, an inclination towards authoritarian policies, and a disregard for the global commons. Working in collaboration with organizations like the World Bank, The World Health Organization, and related agencies, the United States can recommit itself to the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and begin reversing these trends towards nationalism, division, and retrenchment.


The absence of U.S. leadership was sadly on display this May 4th as the United States failed to attend a virtual gathering of the G-20. The G-20 states used this opportunity to collaborate on addressing the global pandemic as well as pledging their support to a new global fund that will help bolster fragile food systems across Africa depended upon by 250 million people. When questioned as to why the U.S. is not participating in the creation of this new global fund, an unidentified spokesperson for the Trump Administration said it was already doing enough as one of the largest donors to global health and relief programs and therefore would not join with the other G-20 countries. 


UNA-NCA began with a citizens’ movement to found the UN in 1945 and dedicated itself to conducting citizen advocacy around the need for continual and energetic U.S. engagement with the UN, including that the U.S. meet its financial commitments to the new multilateral organization.. During the more recent period of global development, UNA-NCA has been devoted to the long term need for fair and equitable social and economic development; championing these causes through its support for both the Millennial Development Goals and, now, the Sustainable Development Goals.  We can now see that our very survival depends upon achieving these goals together. A lack of U.S. leadership will surely undermine the work of all nations to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in the years ahead, goals that are essential to the prosperity of our children and grandchildren. 

In response to the need for social distancing, UNA-NCA has adapted quickly by devising new programmatic structures that have ensured the continued participation of over 1,200 students from grades 5 to 12 in UNA-NCA’ Global Classrooms DC Model UN Conference, of 25 Graduate Fellows in UNA-NCA’s highly-selective semester-long course dedicated to exploring the UN system, and of the 35% of UNA-NCA members who are young professionals who take part in a variety of UNA-NCA activities such as our Career Dinners, Coffee Chats, and special discussion series in the areas of Peace and Security, Sustainable Development, International Law, Human Rights, and Gender Equity. Another core component of UNA-NCA’s work is advocacy: communicating to both the public and policymakers how U.S. participation accelerates progress in domains such as global health, education, refugee resettlement, respect for human rights, peacekeeping, and sustainable development. 


As a part of the UN’s 75th anniversary, The Secretary General has launched the UN75 consultation process, inviting individuals and organizations alike to submit their opinions and insights into how the UN can further its goals in the decades to come. UNA-NCA members are invited to take part in this consultation process and will find more information as to how they can participate in this week’s UN Express. Once input from around the globe is received, a “plan for action” will be submitted to the Secretary General.


This week we launch UNA-NCA’s spring fund raising appeal, asking UNA-NCA members to donate, whether monthly, annually, or semi-annually, at whatever level they feel most comfortable. These gifts, from more than 250 individual donors, support more than 50% of our programs and operations. We are also most fortunate to receive donations from very generous individuals and family foundations, accounting for about a fourth of our budget. Special bequests, income generated from sponsors of our key open public program events, support another quarter of our programs costs.

Unfortunately, the current pandemic has forced us to cancel or postpone several key fundraising events  since January. For that reason, we are asking that your donations and sponsorships be made by June 30, 2020, to ensure that we maintain adequate funding for our programs and staff. An anonymous generous donor to UNA-NCA has agreed to match, dollar for dollar, up to $500 for each donation made before June 30th, up to a total of $10,000. Another donor has committed $5,000 to match any elected UNA-NCA Board member’s contribution above $500 in 2020.

Please be generous in your support for our programs at this challenging time. 

This global pandemic is shining a light on our global connectedness. UNA-NCA, with your participation and support, will be a champion of both the essential role the UN plays in our global community and the necessity for U.S. leadership within the UN system, including human rights, peacekeeping and peacebuilding , as well as for climate change protection.  

Thank you again for your support and participation in the UNA-NCA – citizen’s organization and movement to keep us globally engaged for everyone’s betterment. 




29 April 2020

First-Ever Cabin John MS Virtual Model UN Conference Proves To Be Successful

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The pandemic has changed how Global Classrooms DC functions overnight. Through the disappointment of having to cancel the Spring 2020 Model UN Conference, our team has been working with various schools to support their efforts to continue Model UN.

As an example of how MUN clubs are adapting,  Cabin John Middle School hosted its first-ever online conference on Saturday, April 25. After being inspired by the success of the virtual Alice Deal Model UN Conference (ADMUN) on April 4, a fantastic group of parents from Maryland set out to create their own virtual experience with their students. Although they had never hosted a virtual session before, all of the parents – Audré Park, Shreelata Durbhakula, and Bouchra Araji – took on the challenge of hosting a conference with students from Cabin John, as well as Bells Mill Elementary and Alice Deal Middle School.

All students had been preparing for the GCDC Spring Conference, and had individual assignments for countries and committees they were intending to represent. To make the most of students’ work, Ms. Park, Ms. Durbhakula, and Ms. Araji hosted three Model UN committees based of the GCDC committees meant for April 2020: the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Over the Zoom platform, students from Cabin John Middle School served as the virtual Committee Chairs, running the session as if the students were convening together in person.

For the IOM committee, the student delegates discussed “Protecting Against Forced Migration Due to Conflict”. The group developed a singular resolution that focused on funding “existing and new peacekeeping groups” and utilizing social media to educate more people about migrants.

For the UNEP committee, the delegates had two competing resolutions. The students debated different methods to “Advance Responsible Consumption for Sustainable Growth”. One paper emphasized the use of renewable energy, especially in “[limiting] oil, coal, and natural gas implants; [enforcing] restrictions on the usage of non-renewable resources; [and investing] more money in geothermal and hydroelectric power sources.” The other paper discussed stopping pollution and reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Finally, for the UNDP committee, three resolutions came out of the delegates’ work, all brainstorming ideas on “Promoting Women’s Political Participation”. The first group created a Political Participation Among Women Programme (PPAWP), that will seek to establish an education program that assists women in participating politically. The second group emphasized educating the public on women’s discrimination in the workplace. The final group proposed “creating programs showing younger girls the positions of women in power” to inspire them to leader their own countries.

Over the course of the two and a half hours of committees, the students worked together, despite the inability to convene in person. The event will set the stage for future virtual sessions, within their own schools and outside of them, as well.



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