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15 October 2014

UNA-NCA Hosts Panel on Journalist Safety Internationally

On October 14, 2014, UNA-NCA, in partnership with the National Education Association (NEA), The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and Internews, hosted a discussion panel on The Threats and Costs to Getting the Facts: A Review of Journalism Safety at the National Education Association’s building.

Paula Boland, UNA-NCA’s Executive Director, cordially welcomed participants and talked about UNA-NCA’s mission and opportunities to get involved. The panel was moderated by Kathleen Reen, Vice President of ICT Policy and Programs at Internew, and included George Papagiannis, External Relations and Information Officer for UNESCO, Tom Hundley, Senior Editor at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and Mesfin Erko, a former Radio Journalist and Torture Survivor from Ethiopia and a board member for Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) International. Daaiyah Bilal-Threats, NEA’s Senior Director for Governance, also provided welcome remarks and shared concerns about the threats that journalists face worldwide and how this threat has impacted media. Ms. Reen then started the panel discussion with an overview of the issues, security threats and programs and policies addressing safety issues that would be covered in more depth by the panel.

Panelist George Papagiannis provided the UN perspective on this issue and explained the role of the United Nations in addressing this journalism safety problem. Tom Hundley shared personal experiences of what is like to report in crisis situations, having reported from Bosnia in 1995. Lastly, former radio journalist and torture survivor, Ethiopian Mesfin Erko shared his experience as a journalist in a very conflicted country.  Mr. Erko has grave concerns for the state of journalism in Ethiopia, seeing no hope for improvement if countries like the US do not acknowledge the problem.  image

Panelists then shared ideas and possible solutions on how journalism safety can be protected.  Worldwide, journalists are building new partnerships and reaching out to different organizations that protect human rights and amnesty to increase international attention to this issue and greater enforcement of protections. Freedom of expression, according to Mr. Papagiannis, also continues to be an underlying theme of all the sustainable development goals. 

The panel concluded with a Q&A session and final remarks from each panelist on the future of journalism safety in conflict zones.




16 September 2014

Human Resources Working Group Forming

Do you have Human Resources or Talent Management expertise?

UNA-NCA is looking for human resources professionals to lend their volunteer leadership. We know that human capital is one of the most valuable resources of an organization. We are forming an HR working group to address priorities such as staff development, compensation, benefits and talent management. Volunteering your skills will help build your career portfolio and will enable UNA-NCA to attract and retain high-level talent. This group will work with members of the UNA-NCA board and will provide opportunities for you to learn more about the work of the United Nations in the National Capital Area. If interested, please email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or contact Melissa Wolfe at 202.494.1596.



28 August 2014

Back to School Campaign for Global Classrooms

In honor of back to school, we're launching a fundraising campaign to help us expand our Global Classrooms DC programming.

Our Global Classrooms DC (GCDC) program promotes international affairs education with high school and middle school aged students and teachers through in-class lessons, volunteer programs, and conferences. The program includes a culminating Model United Nations conference at the US Department of State.

Over 2,000 DC Metropolitan area middle and high school students are participating this year in GCDC. Now in its tenth year, GCDC has been a successful collaborative program of DC Public Schools, US Department of State, the Pan American Health Organization, and the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA).

Tangible benefits for participating students include improved readingwritingpublic speaking,critical thinkingcross-cultural understandingconflict resolutionnegotiation, and team work, all skills that will serve students at school, in their families and communities, and on the job in any future workplace environment.

Why Give to GCDC?

GCDC has always been free for all DC public school students. We need your support to keep it open and available to all students, no matter their financial background.

GCDC inspires future generations to become involved with pressing issues on a global scale.

GCDC students develop key skills such as conflict resolution, writing and public speaking.

"I like debating in a country role because you don't have to think about it as yourself. You have to be professional. You are something bigger than yourself -- you are representing a whole country."
-GCDC Student, 6th Grade

Donate Now


Read about Eliisa's experience with GCDC

Read about Elena's experience with GCDC

Read about Mike's experience with GCDC

Read about Bob's experience with GCDC

Read about Mark's experience with GCDC



13 August 2014

Interested in Joining UN Alums?


UNA-USA has created a new affinity group called UN Alums. The objective of this group is enlist persons who have worked for the UN family to enhance the depth of first-hand knowledge, experience and credibility with respect to the UN. The group also aims to enlist persons who will fulfill  UNA-USA’s mission and goals and provide a network of UN alums that facilitates their interest to communicate/collaborate within the framework of UNA-USA and its activities.
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12 August 2014

Recap: "The Future of Africa, In Review"


On August 12th, following the YALI and U.S-Africa Leader's Summit, UNA-NCA’s Africa Committee and IREX held an event at IREX headquarters to summarize and review key highlights, takeaways, issues raised, and action items from these summits. Opening remarks were given by Ambassador Bob Pearson, President of IREX, and Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret.), President of UNA-NCA. Bob Pearson gave a brief overview of the summit, noting five key takeaways, which include the importance of private partnerships and the commitment of the U.S. to those partnerships. Our moderator, Elizabeth Latham, Academic Exchange Officer at the State Department, introduced our three panelists, Nulu Naluyombya, a Washington Fellow from Uganda, Honorable Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, former Deputy Minister for Health for Ghana, and Jon Temin, Director of the Africa Program at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
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31 July 2014

Successful Cyprus Friendship Program


On July 30, 2014, UNA-NCA with the support of UNA-USA and the Alliance for Peacebuilding hosted 34 students from the Cyprus Friendship Program at the United Nations Foundation for a discussion on peacebuilding in their communities. The Cypriots from both the Turkish and Greek sides of Cyprus learned about the role of the UN and how they can get involved in helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Goals. The students shared some issues that they would like to see addressed in the Post-2015 Goals such as peace and security, reducing infant mortality, environmental sustainability and climate change, and resource sustainability. 
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29 July 2014

Panelists Discuss the Human Rights Implications of Female Genitalia Mutilation


On July 29, 2014 UNA-NCA’s Human Rights Committee and the UN Population Fund - Washington (UNFPA)  hosted a panel discussion on the human rights implications of female genitalia mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). With over 60 people in the audience, this well-attended discussion was hosted at Chemonics International in Washington DC. Human Rights Committee co-chair Sultana Ali introduced the program and the panelists who offered an insightful discussion on the practice. The panel was moderated by Sarah Craven, Chief of the Washington Liaison Office of UNFPA and UNA-NCA Advisory Council member. Panelists included Susan Gibbs, Consultant on Women’s Empowerment, Human Rights and Population at the Wallace Global Fund; Maria Jurua, Fellow at Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa and Coordinator of Law and Advocacy for Women in Uganda (LAW-U), and Varina Winder, a policy advisor at the U.S Department of State in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.
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28 July 2014

Discussion on Sustainable Development in Africa with Vivian Lowery Derryck and Mary Bliss

Founder Mary Bliss discusses how her organization, Practical Small Projects is implementing the UN development agenda in Mali.


On July 28th, UNA-NCA held a brown-bag lunch event at the UN Information Center to discuss “Implementing the UN Development Agenda: A Model for Sustainable Development in Africa.” Free for members, the event featured a short video on the work of Practical Small Projects (PSP), a nonprofit working  in Mali  and founded by Mary Bliss who also serves as the organization’s Executive Director. The video was followed by an informal discussion on how models and strategies like those of PSP advance and address UN development goals in Africa, and was moderated by Vivian Lowery Derryck, President and CEO of The Bridges Institute and UNA-NCA Advisory Council Member.
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