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20 August 2013

Bob Wilbur – An Appreciation by Ed Elmendorf, Past President of UNA-NCA

Remembering former UNA-NCA Communications Vice-President Bob Wilbur

The many friends and colleagues of Bob Wilbur among UNA-NCA members will be greatly saddened to learn of Bob's passing in late June, after many years of battling cancer.

Bob was special for me. After Bob completed his PhD dissertation at Columbia University, he and I worked together on the staff of former US Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg when Goldberg was pulled off the Court by President Johnson to serve as his UN Ambassador during the difficult Vietnam War years.

In Washington, Bob and I were near neighbors, and then close neighbors, for many years. Finally, the late Andy Rice and I succeeded in persuading Bob to take on responsibility as the UNA-NCA Communications Vice-President. Under Bob's leadership, UNA-NCA Communications progressed from skilled amateur to fully professional. I especially remember his work on the UNA-NCA Annual Report. Bob improved the Annual Report from being simply a record of what we had done to a document promoting the organization and its values.

Finally, after using the skills honed in many years of government relations professional work in Washington to strengthen UNA-NCA Communications, Bob then served as the Co-Chair of the UNA-NCA Endowment Committee. During all this time, Bob participated in other UNA-NCA activities as well, particularly Global Classrooms DC (GCDC). He even brought his wife Diane, a DC education consultant, to work on GCDC. Bob and Diane have been loyal supporters of UNA-NCA for many years and hosted events for donors and career dinners for our Young Professionals.

At his wonderful but typically low-key 50th wedding anniversary party, Bob mentioned to me, almost in passing, that I was the friend of longest standing with whom he was engaged on intellectual and policy issues. I valued that observation then, and I will continue to cherish my association with Bob. In sum, Bob and I shared experiences over nearly 50 years – a rare treat for people in these rushed and changing days. This is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Bob Wilbur was a modest man. He didn't make waves. But he made his views known, and he did not hesitate to criticize, when criticism was warranted. UNA-NCA, the United Nations, and the world are the better for Bob.

Ed Elmendorf



26 July 2013

Breaking into International Careers Welcomes Young Professionals and Industry Experts Alike

International affairs experts Will Davis, Mike Beard, and Celia Richa give advice about going into the field


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Last July 24, UNA-NCA and the Young Professionals program hosted a career panel, “Breaking into International Careers” at The Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, with panelists:

  • Will Davis, Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – Washington Representational Office
  • Mike Beard , Executive Director, United Nations Foundation Advocacy and Global Health Director, Better World Campaign (BWC)
  • Celia Richa, Senior International Policy Advocate, Futures Without Violence

The event drew in a hundred of guests, ranging from those with experience in the field, to those who are still in school. US Youth Observer to the United Nations, Brooke Loughrin, moderated the panel discussion, raising questions that addressed the challenges of working in the Washington, DC area, the decision of whether one should apply to graduate school or not, and general career advice for those who want to switch career paths into an international organization. 
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18 July 2013

UNA-NCA’s Global Classrooms DC Collaborates with the Cyprus Friendship Program

Now on its second year, GCDC teens worked with the Cypriot teens in gaining a better understanding of conflict resolution

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Last July 16, students from the Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP) attended an event that was sponsored by UNA-NCA at the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) in Washington, DC. 

John Filson, Program Manager of 3P Human Security at the Alliance for Peacebuilding, spoke about conflict resolution and peace-building processes. The group of GCDC and Cypriot teens participated in a series of skill-building activities on negotiations, and was also given the opportunity to meet and interact with each other. They were able to talk about their different experiences, and share their thoughts on the importance of education to achieve peace and understanding. The Cypriot teens learned about the activities carried out by the UN Association in Cyprus and local rotary clubs and encouraged to get involved upon their return.

CFP is a program that promotes peace and negotiations between the Greek and Turkish communities of Cyprus through youth leadership trainings and workshops that promote trust and friendship between these young advocates. Every summer, CFP gives teenagers an opportunity to travel to the United States in order to gain a wider worldview on these issues. Each Greek-speaking Cypriot teen is paired with a Turkish-speaking Cypriot for their summer trip, and they both stay with a host family for a month. During their stay, they are able to visit several Washington DC institutions, like the Smithsonian museums, and the National Zoo. They also participate in outdoor activities, like a ropes course that serves as a bonding tool to strengthen the trust between the youths. 



15 July 2013

Human Rights Committee Hosts Women’s Potential in the World Event

Together with a distinguished panel of experts, the Human Rights Committee highlighted women's rights in the international setting

UNA-NCA’s Human Rights Committee celebrated a successful re-launch by hosting a powerful roundtable event, “Achieving Women’s Potential: Overcoming the Barrier of Human Rights Issues” at the UN Foundation last June 25.  The event brought together four panelists to discuss the treatment and status of women as a global human rights issue: Manon DeFelice, JD, Executive Director & General Counsel of the AHA Foundation; Dr. Alaka Basu, Senior Fellow, UN Foundation; Saba Ghori, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Global Women’s Issues, State Department; and Layli Miller-Muro, Founder and Executive Director, Tahirih Justice Center. Each panelist gave a brief presentation on the work they do to empower disadvantaged women and advance women’s rights on a global level.

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20 June 2013

Jackson Katz Speaks Out About Violence Against Women

Katz offers his views on gender violence, and how it is essentially a men’s issue

Speaking at TEDTalk last November 2012, educator, author, and filmmaker Jackson Katz discussed the role of men in the issue of violence against women. The Human Rights Committee (HRC) of the UNA-NCA would like to showcase this TEDTalk as a supplement to the inaugural HRC event entitled "Achieving Women's Potential in the World: Overcoming the Barrier of Human Rights Issues" on Tuesday, June 25 at the UN Foundation.

In his talk, Katz explains why calling violence against women a "women's" issue is a problem. Essentially, this gives men the excuse to not pay attention. When we equate "gender" to "women," similar to how we equate "ethnicity" to "non-Caucasians" and "sexuality" to LGBTQ individuals, the dominant group (in this case, men) doesn't get paid attention to. The dominant group enjoys maintaining the status quo while preserving their dominance, which remains unchallenged. As a result, men retain their power and privilege. They remain invisible in the discourse that is primarily about them.

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13 June 2013

Annual Meeting Highlights the Year’s Achievements

The UNA-NCA community gathered to celebrate the successful year, and the newly elected leadership

On June 7th, UNA-NCA held the well-attended 2013 Annual Membership Meeting at The Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. People converged to hear of UNA-NCA’s successful year in reaching over a thousand total members, and having hosted a staggering 2,400 students at youth events, which were all emphasized in the newly formatted 2012-2013 Annual Report. The Annual Report was presented by outgoing UNA-NCA President, Karen Mulhauser.

“Tonight will be about giving thanks,” Mulhauser said as she opened the event. After the Annual Report presentation, UNA-NCA recognized the year’s outstanding leaders and committed volunteers. The Evelyn Falkowski Service Award was given to Stephen Moseley and Melissa Wolfe. Moseley serves as UNA-NCA’s Chair of the Advisory Council and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board, while Wolfe co-chairs the governance committee and has led the UNA-NCA board through two board assessments. She has been leading the UNA-NCA's strategic planning process underway.

The Election Results were also announced by Wolfe, with incoming UNA-NCA President Donald Bliss taking the stage for a few words. The newly elected Board members are all experienced professionals at their respective fields, and will give a fresh take on the UNA-NCA programs and activities.
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13 June 2013

Student Leader Eliisa Carter Shares Her Global Classrooms Model UN Experience

GCDC has given student leaders like Carter a wider worldview 

On May 7th Eliisa Carter, a senior at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, MD enacted the role of Secretary-General at the annual Global Classrooms Spring Model UN Conference.  Eliisa, a senior at Einstein, has been an active Model UN participant throughout high school, interning with Global Classrooms DC and even founding her school's first Model UN club.  These various roles have helped give her “an array of viewpoints” that have enriched her interests, ranging from history to international affairs.  “[It] reinforced my knowledge that Model UN is a wonderful educational experience that any student should try!”

“I am so honored that I was chosen as Secretary-General,” Carter shares of her conference experience. “Giving a speech to hundreds of people at the State Department really showed me that I grew up so much from the time I started at Global Classrooms, and that Model UN has helped me grow tremendously."  Eliisa also participated in the committee on climate change on May 7th, concluding that "there was a sense of camaraderie among the delegates in my committee, which indicates that the delegates this year respected one another and had a great time!"

Learn more about Carter’s experiences through this brief video, produced by the U.S. Department of State's International Organizations Bureau.







15 May 2013

Local Students Propose Global Solutions

GCDC Spring Model UN Conference a Success


SAfricaOn May 7th, over 600 middle and high school students, coming from 30 different schools in DC, Virginia, Maryland, and even Ghana made their way through security at the U.S. Department of State. All were gathering for UNA-NCA’s 10th annual Global Classrooms DC Spring Model UN Conference at the U.S. Department of State and Pan American Health Organization.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, GCDC4Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources, gave the keynote address at the Opening Ceremonies and spoke to the students about the importance of developing a global mindset at an early age.  Senator Timothy Wirth, Vice Chair of the United Nations Foundation, introduced Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield and encouraged students to reflect on the historical importance of the U.S. Department of State and to feel a part of history while they were there.

This year’s Secretary-General was Eliisa Carter, a senior at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, MD.  Eliisa officially opened the conference with the bang of the gavel and gave brief remarks, encouraging students to learn from their Model UN experiences and have fun.  Students then headed to their separate committees where they debated topics like Climate Change, Child Marriage, Cyber Security, and the Situation in Syria, and worked together to pass resolutions. 
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