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27 October 2017
UN Day Concert at the Colombian Ambassador's Residence

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Speech given by Stephen Moseley, President of UNA-NCA on October 27th for the Embassy Series at the Embassy of Colombia:
 

I am honored and delighted to be included in this evening’s program of the Embassy Series, so ably led by Jerome Barry, coming together on the International Day of the UN, celebrating the 72nd year since the signing of the UN Charter on October 24, 1945.

I am especially honored to be able to represent the UNA-NCA this evening in the residence of the Ambassador of Colombia, and in the presence of Ambassor Reyes and his colleagues, as their work and leadership with the all of the citizens of Colombia to bring about the Colombian peace accord is a great achievement. This is so noteworthy for all of us engaged in peacebuilding and development around the world, and at home in each of our countries, including here in the US and our own communities. I believe, and that United Nations will come to see, the detailed implementation plan for the Peace in Colombia is a great model to be watched and understood for its potential application not only to insure continued and lasting peace after conflict, but also could will be a model for planning and investment by other countries to be applied for long term  prevention in advance of violent conflict and civil war within a country.

With this as a backdrop, let me share with you very briefly some background about the purpose and activities of the UN Association here in the National Capital Area. This is a part of both a nationwide association in the US with 80,000 members in some 180 chapters across the county. There is also a related World Federation of United Nations Associations represented with citizens in 100 other countries. I am honored to serve as the nearly full time volunteer President of this largest US Chapter, which has 1200 members from the greater DC area including all of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. We are devoted to helping  our residents and citizens understand the work and mission of the United Nations and to help advocate for a strong and effective engagement with and support of the UN by our citizens and by our US government administration and the Congress. We also express our opinions about way to enhance and improve the work of the UN.

We therefore provide education  programs  for some 1500 students throughout the area at some 200  middle schools grades 5th to 8th and in high schools grades 9th to 12th. For our members and outside guests we offer monthly events with speakers, panels and discussion and work groups on the subjects of peace and security, international law, Human Rights, including programs specifically on women’s rights, and on the full range of sustainable development goals addressing poverty alleviation, education, health, equitable growth and opportunity for all, and on the actions needed locally and globally for a sustainable environment, including the necessary attention to climate change from man made emissions. 

Our members are about 35% young professionals and students from all of the universities in the area, and the other 65% of members are diplomats, active and retired, business leaders, academic leaders and specialists, and both current and former staff in the World Bank, the UN and other multilateral agencies, NGO leaders, and former staff from various government agencies, including federal, state and local leaders. I hope more of you will join us in the year ahead. A few program examples include the recent review of the first two years of the implementation of the SDG’s- so called sustainable development goals for 2015 to 2030, with a panel made up of 7 ambassadors here, and presented and hosted by UNA-NCA with Georgetown University. Last month we organized a panel on the crisis with North Korea; and next month a program jointly with USIP will examine ways to improve the effectiveness of peace keeping operations and conflict prevention; and then in December our annual awards ceremony will recognize 4 noteworthy champions of Human rights, three in the international context, and one in the local community context. One of the awardees and speakers will be the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zaid al Hussain of Jordan. I hope in the many of you will also participate in these and future programs.

Here in Washington our Association is deeply engaged this year more than ever in education and advocacy  through meetings with our  representatives in congress and the administration about the acute needs for full engagement with the UN and for the full funding support needed now more than ever to meet the international UN agency work in Peace keeping and peacebuilding, human rights, humanitarian assistance for those in famine zones, and for the 65 million people now displaced and in desperate refugee situations. The US contributes approximately 25% of the UN budget. This is not an easy time to talk about UN needs here in our political climate in Washington, but based on my own and colleagues visits to our leaders this week particularly, I am more optimistic that there has begun again to be a greater understanding of these needs and for positive engagement in peacebuilding and long term sustainable development. But yes, there is still so much more to be done to face realistically the crises of ongoing violent conflict, extreme human rights violations, and the continued suffering of more than a billion people still living in extreme poverty. In the next few weeks I remain hopeful, that much of the threatened huge US budget cuts for UN operations, will be restored to the US budget. 

I will just end my comments to commemorate this year’s UN Day, by quoting from Secretary General Guterres’s speech to a gathering in the Central African Republic last Tuesday, on UN Day, where he was with officials and with the UN peacekeeping forces there:

He said, our world faces many grave challenges, widening conflicts and inequality, extreme weather and deadly intolerance, and security threats including nuclear weapons. We have the tools and wealth to overcome these challenges. All we need is the will.

When we achieve human rights and human dignity for all people- they will build a peaceful, sustainable and just world. Referring to the UN charter signed in 1944, "We the Peoples" of the nations of the world have the responsibility together to make this vision a reality.

Check out gallery pictures and more info here.





 

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