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19 June 2019
UNA-NCA Hosts Successful Annual Membership Meeting
By Alexander Oddo, UNA-NCA Program Assistant

On Friday, June 7, 2019, The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) hosted its Annual Membership Meeting at the United Nations Foundation. The event included a reception, ceremony, and discussion on The U.S. and the UN in Threatening Timeswith the Honorable Chris Van Hollen as a special guest and speaker. 

The Annual Membership Meeting is held every year to highlight UNA-NCA’s recent accomplishments and continued work. The meeting began with networking, a hearty amount of shrimp cocktail, and keynote remarks by UNA-NCA President Stephen F. Moseley. President Moseley then introduced the Honorable Chris Van Hollen, the junior Senator for Maryland, who was the recipient of the UNA-NCA Arthur W. Johnson Leadership Award. The award recognizes servant leaders who embody the values of the United Nations like Arthur W. Johnson, a great friend and supporter of the UN Association’s mission. For many years, Art was active in UNA-NCA because of his conviction that the UN Association plays a critical role in educating and advocating for international cooperation through a strong and effective United Nations. He and his wife, Anne Hale Johnson, have been loyal supporters of UNA-NCA. Thanks to their continuing support, UNA-NCA has been able to thrive and make a difference in the community over the years. Art served on the UNA-NCA Board of Directors since 2005 and previously on the Advisory Council. He chaired UNA’s “Adopt a Minefield Campaign” and during his watch, UNA succeeded in having a minefield removed in Afghanistan.

The Honorable Chris Van Hollen, elected to the United States Senate by the people of Maryland in November 2016, exemplifies Arthur W. Johnson’s commitment to UNA through his diligent work to promote equal rights, equal justice, and equal opportunity. Senator Van Hollen is a strong advocate for fully funding the United Nations and protecting wildlife. He has a long record of supporting legislation which aligns with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in subcommittees on the Department of Interior, Environment, Consumer Protection and Foreign Operations. His top priorities include creating more and better jobs; strengthening small businesses; and increasing educational and job training opportunities for individuals of all ages and in every community. 

Following Senator Van Hollen’s remarks, UNA-NCA President Stephen F. Moseley and Executive Director  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  presented the 2018-2019 UNA-NCA Annual Report. The report highlighted the chapter’s successes throughout the year, including its UN Day celebration at the Embassy of Italy featuring the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore; the graduation of the 2019 class of the Graduate Fellows Program; the 15thannual Spring Model UN Conference put on by GCDC; two Young Professionals’ Career Dinners Series; five educational programs focusing on human rights and peacekeeping; a Universal Periodical Review (UPR) orientation; and three Lobby Days on Capitol Hill. 

Following this, Jill Christianson, UNA-NCA Director-at-Large, announced the 2019 Board Election which can be viewed here.

Nominations Committee Chair, Jill Christianson, announces the new members of the Board of Directors

UNA-NCA thanked the following individuals for their service on its Board of Directors: 
Sandra Coburn 
Christina Hansen 
Jud Nirenberg 
Thomas Riesenberg

The UNA-NCA Edison W. Dick Advocacy Leadership Award was then presented to David Scotton, former UNA-NCA Vice President of Advocacy and former Chair of the Advisory Council. The award honors a UNA-NCA member who displays a commitment to international leadership and UN advocacy just as former UNA-NCA President Edison W. Dick has shown throughout his legal career and work with UNA-NCA. 

Jill Christianson received the Evelyn Falkowski Volunteer Service Award for her generosity, passion for global education and social justice advocacy. Just as Evelyn Falkowski was persistently dedicated to the mission of the UN Association, educating and mobilizing Americans for a strong US-UN partnership when she was Executive Director, in addition to generously recruiting volunteers and donating to UNA-NCA, Jill Christianson cultivates international relationships to advance SDG-focused practices in education, labor organizing, and human rights advocacy. She guides the International Relations work at the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest labor union that represents 3 million public education employees in the United States. Through NEA’s membership in Education International, Jill builds common ground with leaders of national education unions. 

Gender justice is prominent in Jill’s intersectional and multinational approach, such as in advocacy with women educators at the UN Committee on the Status of Women. In a multi-year project to curb School-Related Gender-Based Violence in Kenya and other African nations, she partners with UNGEI and Education International. Whether advancing national policy or interpersonal communications, respect and human dignity are integral to Jill’s work. 

As a strong ally of the UNA and UNA-NCA, Jill’s leadership is evidenced through hosting and sponsoring several conferences and events, including UNA-NCA’s Human Rights Awards since 2017. In DC, Jill’s focus includes support for the Global Campaign for Education as it advocates for SDG 4 on education. Jill partners with the Child Labor Coalition, which focuses on curbing child labor. For several years, she has been her organization’s lead on the US ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

An admirer of Carter G. Woodson’s model of being a servant leader, Jill seeks to put her passions and skills into service. This sense of responsibility in addressing injustices and making the world a better place was nurtured in Jill by her mother. Jill holds degrees in Intercultural Communication from American University and in Multicultural Education from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. 

The final award presentation at the Annual Membership Meeting was the UNA-NCA Richard and Anne Griffis Program Leadership Award, which was given to the UNA-NCA Peace and Security Committee. Richard and Anne Griffis contributed greatly to furthering the cause of the United Nations Association for decades. Richard served as President of the Connecticut chapter and, after relocating to DC, was actively involved with UNA-NCA. As Vice President for Programs, he played a critical role strengthening the work of program committees and integrating the organization’s growing network of young professionals. During his last years at UNA, Richard served as Chair of the Human Rights Committee and contributed greatly to the success of the annual Human Rights Awards program. Anne Hungerford Griffis also was a longtime member and supporter of the United Nations Association. She served as co-chair of UNA-NCA’s UN Week Committee, and represented Church Women United on the Executive Committee of UNA-USA’s Council of Organizations in Washington, DC. Anne is remembered as a devout advocate for women and children’s rights, as well as a supporter of the UNA-NCA Global Classrooms DCprogram. Richard and Anne’s examples of advocating for human rights and the values of UNA-NCA are reflected by the UNA-NCA Peace and Security Committee,led by Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret.)and Richard Ponzio.

The Peace and Security Committee seeks to increase public understanding, encourage US leadership, and make recommendations that will strengthen the core mission of the United Nations, set forth in Article I, Section 1 of the UN Charter, “to maintain international peace and security.” In partnership with like-minded organizations, such as the Stimson Center, the US Institute of Peace, and the Alliance for Peacebuilding, we organize programs, assemble experts, advocate for US leadership and funding, undertake studies, and propose initiatives that will improve the effectiveness of the UN’s peace and security mission. 

After convening two roundtables of experts, the Committee issued a Report: Reform and Strengthening of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Would Serve Important US National Security Interests, including 25 specific recommendations to strengthen UN Peacekeeping missions. The Committee is currently engaged in studying UN Mediation, Peacebuilding, Sanctions, and Special Envoys by convening experts and organizing programs to explore ways to improve the UN’s effectiveness in these areas. They are advised by two former UN Undersecretaries-General for Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe and Jeffrey Feldman. The Committee works with UNA-NCA’s Global Classrooms, Graduate Fellows program, and Committees on Sustainable Development, International Law, Human Rights and Advocacy to promote the UN’s peace and security mission.

The Annual Membership Meeting concluded with congratulatory remarks by Paula Boland to awardees, UNA-NCA staff, volunteers and Program Assistants, and the audience. 

Join UNA-NCA today if you want to attend next year’s Annual Membership Meeting and help plan our other events!