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07 December 2017

Human Rights Awards 2017 Remarks by Ambassador Keith M. Harper (ret.)

First, I’d like to thank Ambassador Jorge Lomonaco for his kind words and friendship throughout my tenure in Geneva.  Jorge is the consummate diplomat – distinguished ambassador, out of central casting.  My predecessor Eileen Donahoe told me right before I left for Geneva that the position was incredible because of the important work you will get to do but, as well, the incredible people – your ambassadorial colleagues.  They are fascinating, incredible people who you will learn a ton form. That certainly was my experience.  But on top of that, for some, you will become close friends that will last beyond Geneva.  And Shelby and I are grateful for the friendship of Jorge and his extraordinary wife Claudia.   

I also was to publicly express my deep gratitude to my wife and partner, Shelby Settles Harper who is here today. It is indeed true that when you serve abroad for your nation, your entire family serves.  And Shelby was an exceptional ambassadorial spouse – a diplomat in every sense.  She’s the rock for our family and I want to thank her for her love and partnership. 

I want to United Nations Association of the National Capitol Area – what a humbling honor.  More humbling still because of my co-honorees who have so devoted their life to improving the life of others.   
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07 December 2017

Human Rights Awards 2017 Remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

Excellencies, 
Distinguished honorees,
Colleagues, friends 

It is an honor to receive this award, which I humbly accept on behalf of all my staff – some of whom work in conditions that are extremely menacing and harsh. 

Almost two months ago, I went on mission to Libya – a country so broken, so dangerous, it is practically the only place in the world in which the UN cannot maintain a permanent presence. And yet my remarkably courageous and dedicated colleagues go there weekly – knowing that each trip may risk their lives – to look into a truly shocking range of human rights abuses, and to advocate and assist with practical steps towards change. 

Prior to that mission, I had spent a few days in Silicon Valley. The shock of these deep dives into such radical extremes of human experience is quite extraordinary. In Silicon Valley, I met digital engineers working on artificial intelligence techniques to map the wiring in our brains. In Libya, thousands of people, mainly migrants, are subjected to slavery, trafficking and sexual violence, and almost anyone may be the object of arbitrary violence by armed groups. The need to re-assert the primacy of people's human rights is absolutely evident, and urgent. 
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07 December 2017

Press Release: Human Rights Awards


December 5, 2017           
                                                                                          
Contact:
Andrew Doll, Programs and Membership Manager, UNA-NCA
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


United Nations Association of the National Capital Area will host Human Rights Awards Reception at National Education Association in honor of the 69th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Washington chapter of historic NGO to recognize four human rights advocates

Washington, D.C. – 5 December 2017 – The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) is pleased to announce that it will commemorate International Human Rights Day on Thursday, December 7, 2017 with its Annual Human Rights Awards Reception from 5:15-8:00 pm EST at the National Education Association. UNA-NCA will recognize the outstanding work that individuals are doing to improve human rights in their communities and around the world.
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30 November 2017

Reform and Strengthening of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Would Serve Important US National Security Interests

A REPORT OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL AREA
By Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Ret.) and Richard Ponzio, Chairs, UNA-NCA Peace & Security Committee

Reform and Strengthening of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Would Serve Important US National Security Interests

Executive Summary:

On September 20, 2017, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2378 on Peacekeeping Reform. The resolution affirmed that the prevention of conflicts is a primary responsibility of States and that peacekeeping operations should support political solutions. The Resolution endorses the Secretary General’s structural reforms of the peace and security pillar, calls for an annual comprehensive briefing of the Security Council by the Secretary General on Peacekeeping Reform, encourages strong support for the African Union, and urges that more women be recruited for Peacekeeping Operations.

The UNA-NCA UN Peacekeeping Reform recommendations advanced in this report reinforce the UN Secretary General’s recently announced peace and security Secretariat reforms. These proposals aim to strengthen the capacity of UN Peacekeepers to serve agreed UN goals that are also consistent with important US national security objectives. Specific recommendations fall within seven categories:

I.      Ensure achievable, realistic and adequately resourced UN Security Council Mandates that serve clearly defined political strategies.

II.     Implementation of the Secretary General’s governance reforms that streamline the UN bureaucracy and integrate peacekeeping with UN peace building, human rights and humanitarian objectives, vesting overall strategic responsibility in a senior UN executive and delegating operational responsibility to the field.

III.    Enhance readiness and training of military and police personnel and strengthen mediation capacity.

IV.    Hold Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) accountable for peacekeeping performance and a zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation and abuse.

V.     Promote gender integration at all levels.

VI.    Adapt US Leadership to Changing Circumstances.

VII.   Meet US funding obligations while ensuring efficient use of US taxpayer money by establishing effective oversight and exit strategies.
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29 November 2017

Fall Model UN Training Conference Engages Area Students in Solving Global Refugee Crises


For almost 15 years, the Pan American Health Organization, the Latin American branch of the World Health Organization, has graciously hosted the UN Association of the National Capital Area’s Fall17MUN1(UNA-NCA) Fall Model UN Training Conference. Each fall, several hundred students acting as country delegates have discussed a variety of current issues.

On November 16, nine schools (four from DC, four from Maryland, and one from Virginia) attend the conference, with 187 total students who participated and represented 94 countries in the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), more students than any other previous fall conference before. Over the course of the day-long conference, the students came together to discuss protecting the Human Rights of Refugees.

Fall17MUN3 The conference highlighted the vital work of UNHCR, as well as the diversity of issues in many different refugee situations around the world. In the morning, students were welcomed by the opening ceremony featuring Executive Director of UNA-NCA Paula Boland, Global Education Managing Director Nicole Bohannon and keynote speaker Dawn Calabia. Ms. Calabia is currently serving as a Board Director-at-Large at UNA-NCA, and is an honorary senior adviser to Refugees International on human rights, forced displacement and advocacy. She is also the Secretary-Treasurer of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group and a founder and commissioner of Women’s Refugee Commission.

Following the ceremony, students began the UNHCR committee session to discuss how to best protect the human rights of refugees from the country’s perspective that they were representing. Students learned about the key role of UNHCR in leading international action to protect refugees and to solve the many refugee crises around the world.

As the committee moved into writing their resolutions for the second part of the day, students had the opportunity to engage in international conversations and hone their writing, negotiation, and public Fall17MUN6speaking skills. The conference concluded with the delegates presenting their joint solutions to protect the refugees around the world to the entire committee.

Under UNA-NCA, Global Classrooms DC also functions as a year-long Model United Nations program for students who care about their global and local communities by cultivating an international perspective, understand the UN system, and interact with other students from diverse backgrounds. It is an opportunity for students to be exposed to larger issues and different people to become more active local and global citizens in the future. 

Fall17MUN4The Global Classrooms DC Fall Model UN Training Conference is implemented by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, which is a Chapter of UNA-USA. Global Classrooms DC also has a year-round program that offers reduced-cost global education curriculum.

For more information, visit www.unanca.org/what-we-do/global-classrooms-dc.

Global Classrooms DC also hosts a Spring Model UN Conference at the US Department of State and PAHO. This year, the conference will be held on April 27, 2018.



04 November 2017

UNA-NCA Participates in the 2017 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Expo


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From November 4th to November 7th, 2017 , UNA-NCA members, Toyshebia Napper, Stephanie Asher, Lanice Williams, and Wes Rogerson, participated in the  American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Expo in Atlanta, GA. Highlighting UNA-USA, through the lens of the Global Goals, our team was able to network with thousands of attendees, receiving contact information for over 400 public health workers (which was reported to be the third largest list gathered by a booth during this year’s conference.). During the expo, UNA-NCA representatives engaged with conference-goers who had a wide breadth of experience--from students, professors, public health consultants, former UN officials, and others. Conversations ranged equally, and connections were made between the UN agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of public health, climate change, gender equality, and more. Many attendees asked how they could make the connection between the SDGs, the UN agenda, and their hometowns. UNA-NCA representatives were able to speak to their own experiences as local UNA-NCA volunteers, committee heads, and advocates. Our team related the importance of SDGs and their impact on local communities. As we know, the SDGs and related targets are just as crucial to global public health as it is to public health in the US.  Many of the attendees were eager to connect with a local chapter.  Also, several attendees expressed interest in developing chapters on various college campuses. We look forward to many more connections made from this conference and in the future between APHA and UNA-NCA. 
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01 November 2017

UNFPA Worlds Apart Report


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Mr. Arthur Erken, Director of UNFPA, Division of Communication and Strategic Partnerships, and Editor in Chief of UNFPA's new report, "Worlds Apart: Reproductive Health and Rights In An Age of Inequality,"  presented the findings and his experience in meetings with leaders and local citizens around the world, emphasizing the gains made in countries such as India, Vietnam, Indonesia Rwanda, Lesotho and Jordan. In all of the successful cases of lowering maternal and infant death, he cited and described the narrowing of the gaps in wages for women, increase in the levels of education for women and girls, and the reduction or discrimination against women in the workplace. Concurrent with these social, educational and economic changes, come the opportunities for more clinical heath support for both prenatal care and examinations during pregnancy, qualified and experienced birth attendants, and counseling and access to contraceptive planning and practices. In turn the increased adoption of family planning practices, results in fewer children, more opportunity for women to then participate in the economy with greater training and work skills, increases in household income, and then better overall family health for all members of the family. He stressed the chain and linkages between improved maternal and child health and the key sustainable development goals adopted by the UN in 2015 and building on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals accomplished from 2000 to 2105, particularly increased levels of Girls education primary and secondary schools, the increases in policies for women to access paid opportunities in the work place, and the growing recognition by countries around the world that economies grow. With the greater opportunity and participation of women in economic endeavors beyond the traditional unpaid agricultural labor, an unequal burden is often placed on women, who also have large numbers of children born out of the absence of both education and availability of reproductive heath services.  
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31 October 2017

GCDC Educator Professional Development Workshop Provides Open Forum and Skills Development


On October 20, 2017, InterAction, an alliance organization in DC of 
US-based international organizations, graciously hosted the Global Classrooms DC Professional Development Workshop. Thanks to a generous grant from the Rotary Club Foundation of Washington, DC, the DSC_0585all-day session was geared towards middle and high school teachers from private, public charter, and public schools in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Educators shared their best practices to prepare their students for the upcoming Fall Training Model UN Conference, as well as sustaining year-round Model UN and global education programs.

Model UN is a great opportunity to involve students in international affairs through teaching them about UN actions and global issues, in addition to them participating in simulations where they are assigned countries to represent and advocate for on different issues – just like in the real United Nations. The activity is also one of the most 
effective ways to teach students writing, negotiation, researching, and public speaking skills. As a member of the GCDC Community, the year-round program, teachers get access to a full school year of 9-unit curriculum on UN policies, procedures, and global affairs to prepare the students. 
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