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05 November 2014

UNA-NCA hosts the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Association

On Friday, October 31, guests gathered at the UN Foundation to hear Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, engage in a lively conversation that delved into the extensive work of the IAEA, beyond its engagements with nuclear plants around the world.  Director General Amano summarized, “we are often described as a nuclear watchdog in the media but our activities are much more extensive.”  IAEA is its own independent organization, rather than a specialized UN agency, and has its own membership with 162 member states.

While we may first think nuclear, attendees learned about the strides IAEA has made in the world of health care and disease prevention. In addition to contributing to the continued eradication of small pox, IAEA has helped develop technology to reduce the spread and instances of bovine spongiform encephaloparthy, otherwise known as mad cow disease. With the recent spread and threat of Ebola, IAEA has been focused on developing technology to detect the disease faster, from four days to four hours, saving crucial treatment time. Several of the most heavily impacted countries have requested use of this new test and are working closely with IAEA.

Amano also stressed the struggles some African nations currently face in detecting and treating cancer. From his travels, Amano indicates that cancer is often viewed as a developed nations’ problem but deaths caused by cancer are greater than deaths from HIV, AIDS and malaria combined in developing nations.  Today more than 16 African countries lack the nuclear based medical machinery to detect and treat cancer and the amount of development funding received for this need is only 2% that of what is received to address HIV. While IAEA is not able to provide much money, they are able to provide much needed training and help eliminate some of the social stigma that exists around cancer treatment in certain parts of the world. While many believe cancer affects only the developing world, IAEA reaches beyond the boundaries to provide much needed tools around the globe.

Director General Amano also emphasized that honesty is an integral part of communication relating to nuclear energy and that countries need a diverse “energy mix.” Prevention and mitigation are necessary for nuclear plants, as well as having a strong, deep defense so that if one system fails, there are back-ups.  While countries ultimately create their own laws and guidelines for nuclear energy and waste, the IAEA serves as a valuable resource for creating new technology and research to better inform these policies.

The IAEA is a diverse agency focused on enhancing technology, addressing energy and environmental challenges, and improving the treatment of widespread diseases.

28 October 2014

UNA-NCA is excited to announce a new membership benefit!

We have partnered with the Peace Operations Training Institute (POTI) to give UNA-NCA members a 10% discount on all POTI classes and 5 classes for free. Members in good standing will receive their discount code via email by the end of October.

POTI’s curriculum includes general introductory courses on peacekeeping as well as more detailed courses on international humanitarian law, the conduct of humanitarian relief operations, peacekeeping ethics, the protection of civilians, mine action, the role of women in peace and conflict resolution, the prevention of violence against women, and related topics. In addition to these individual courses, POTI offers specialty certificates focusing on specific professional areas. Each year the United Nations Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations “welcomes” the programs and courses they offer.

UNA-NCA members receive a 10% discount and the following courses for FREE:

1.       Principles and Guidelines for UN Peacekeeping Operations;

2.       Core Pre-deployment Training Materials;

3.       Implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on the Women Peace and Security Agenda in Africa;

4.       Implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on the Women Peace and Security Agenda in Asia and the Pacific;

5.       Implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on the Women Peace and Security Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Register for classes!  Don’t forget that you will need a discount code to register and current members will receive this via email in the next 3-5 business days. 

Want to become a member or need to renew an expired membership? Do so today and do not forget to select UNA-NCA as your chapter of choice! Note: New/renewed membership takes up to 2 weeks to process.

28 October 2014

Celebrating UN Day - From the League of Nations to the UN Today

On October 24, 2014, UNA-NCA hosted  “Celebrating UN Day - From the League of Nations to the UN Today” at the President Woodrow Wilson House to celebrate the 69th Anniversary of the United Nations.

Guests were welcomed at a cocktail reception on the main floor of the house and the weather was nice enough to enjoy the setting sun on the balcony overlooking the president’s beautiful gardens.  The event’s special guest, the Honorable Bathsheba Nell Crocker, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Organizations Affairs, confirmed by the Senate on September 18, 2014, was introduced by Ambassador Donald T. Bliss, who shared a few words from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s UN Day message and recognized the merits that got Honorable Crocker to where she is today.

Hosted in the gallery featuring artwork from scenes of World War I, the main program included speeches from Dr. John M. Cooper, historian, author and educator from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Dr. Walter Dorn, Professor of the Defense Studies at the Royal Military College.  Dr. Cooper highlighted Woodrow Wilson’s legacy as an essential force in the League of Nations that laid the foundation for the United Nation, emphasizing the principals that led him to be a key player in the creation of the League. He also remarked on how UN has adapted to new generations, and as consequence, has altered from what President Woodrow Wilson had envisioned.

Dr. Dorn started by acknowledging the history of the Woodrow Wilson House and the Presidents’ role in the founding of an international cooperative body, as well as the importance of this cause. Dr. Dorn marveled: “Nations can now gather together to discuss world problems. Just imagine, one hundred years ago, in 1914, there was nothing to regulate security issues, there were no rules for democracy, no rules to make peace.” He expressed admiration for President Woodrow Wilson and his goal to stop the next generation from venturing into another world war, emphasizing that, while not a flawless system, it is the only body that currently discusses and debates international stances to large-scale problems.

In celebrating the 69th anniversary of the UN, it is important to recognize where the organization started and where it is headed as conflicts and challenges becoming increasingly more international in scale.

24 October 2014

UNA-NCA is hosting a 2nd conference on the Post-2015 MDGs

UNA-NCA is convening a 2nd Post-2015 MDGs consultation, this time in Baltimore, Maryland.  Like the first, the Maryland Inter-generational Consultation on the Post 2015 Development Goals, will feature round table discussions on how to take local and global action under the UN's development agenda

The November Consultation is a follow up of last year’s Consultation held with community leaders in the Washington DC metro area, at The George Washington University. Last year's  Washington DC consulation was one of 12 consultations held across the country last year to address the Post 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), from which the results were compiled and reported to the Secretary General of the UN, the Maryland Inter-generational Consultation will be held this fall with the guidance of the official Post 2015 Development Agenda to discuss local and global perspectives about setting priority goals for social, economic, and environmental progress in our world and in our own communities during the years 2015 to 2030. 

When: Tuesday, November 11, 2014
               2:30pm - 5:30pm (check-in begins at 2:00 pm)

Where: John Hopkins University 
                 Glass Pavillion - Levering Hall
                 3400 N Charles Street
                 Baltimore, MD 21218

Through round table discussions the Consultation will elicit refinements, changes, and additions to the goals so that they can be considered by both local and global leaders as benchmarks for development progress – both globally as well as locally - for the period 2015 to 2030. The outputs of the Baltimore consultation will be a compilation of collectively determined recommendations on how to engage communities to take action under the new Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Goals for Discussion: 

1. End poverty in all its forms and reduce inequality within and among countries
2. End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all all ages, including special attention to equal access for heath services for women and girls
4. Achieve gender quality  and empower all women and girls
5. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, and access for all to modern energy
6. Promote sustained , inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
7. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact on the seas, forests, and air for sustainable development
8. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development , provide access to justice for all,  and take action to build peace within communities and to stop violence, especially in our cities
9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation to benefit people everywhere
10. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development with renewed emphasis on transparent government and good governance, and public-private partnerships 

11. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all  
If you are in Maryland or in the Baltimore community and would like to attend, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to receive an invitation.

 Thank you to our sponsors:
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22 October 2014

Fall Career Dinners Were a Success!

On Saturday, October 18, 2014, The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area hosted the Young Professional Career Dinner Series at the UN Foundation with over one-hundred attendees. This signature, bi-annual event invited young professionals to engage with Washington's top professionals in their chosen field.

The event began with a networking reception and Keynote speaker, Linda Jamison, Vice President for Global Talent Development and Human Resources of the US Institute of Peace. Ms. Jamison established the framework for the career-focused dinners. She brought an understanding of the recruiting and hiring aspects in international careers, spoke about skills that have contributed to her success, and gave advice to the young professionals.
Ms. Jamison touched on some key points for preparation in an international career. She advised young professionals to travel abroad, learn a new language and “never burn bridges.” Other advice given throughout the evening include, being prepared or preparing yourself for the career you want; doing something you’re really interested in despite what others may tell you; building networks and staying connected to people in your line of work; and finding something that makes you unique and sets you apart from everyone else.
Following the reception, participants departed to their respective dinners, five of which were held at private homes of speakers throughout the DC Metro Area. The distinguished speakers came from an array of fields and organizations including three UN Agencies, the Department of State, International Law firms and many other leading organizations.

Each dinner featured prominent professionals who shared their stories, answered questions, and offered salient advice based on their experiences in the industry. Participants felt this was an opportunity to be challenged, motivated and receive mentorship from speakers as well as to network with other young professionals.

Thank you again for all our speakers and hosts, without you this event would not be possible.

22 October 2014

“A World in Turmoil – the Role of the UN” with Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the UN

On October 20, 2014, UNA-NCA hosted “A World in Turmoil – the Role of the UN” with Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations in honor of the 69th Anniversary of the United Nations.  The gathering took place in the United Nations Foundation and included partners, leaders, senior members, and major donors from UNF, UNA-NCA, and UNIC.

Honorable Eliasson explained how the world is facing some of the most challenging times ever, stating: “We find ourselves in a period of test for international institutions and international governments.”  He suggested that a solution to some of these tests would be found in helping countries understand that international interests are also national, that while we all have Plan B’s, there is no “Planet B.”

Eliasson outlined the 3 pillars of the UN: peace and security, development, and human rights.  In discussing peace and security, Eliasson talked about the combined dangers of what’s happening in Syria and Iraq, with ISIL as a product of the war in Syria.  A military and a political strategy must be implemented in order for the approach to be more inclusive and effective, and the government should bring Sunnis into the solution.

The UN has been developing a new generation of goals where international development, another of the pillars, will have a big role. Today approximately 2.5 billion do not have toilets, and clean water remains a luxury in many places, said Eliasson.  Technology, trade, migration, urbanization and industrialization all make negotiating the next iteration of development goals harder to set and to negotiate.  According to Eliasson, the success of these goals will lie in being known to not only foreign ministers, but also by the private sector, civil societies, and others in the government.

The third pillar for the United Nations is human rights, though Eliasson admitted that, currently, only 3% of the UN’s budget is channeled to this area.  Elliasson indicated that this is changing in the UN’s strategy because, “if one pillar is weak, the whole system is weak.”  Additionally, from his experience as a mediator, he knows that “one of the first signs of a conflict is human rights violations,” so the UN is becoming more proactive at the human rights stage rather than waiting for the mass atrocities.

Honorable Eliasson concluded his presentation by outlining the factors that give him hope for the future:

    • Women – indicating confidently that “this will be the century of women for the benefit of not only women but men too” and that resistance to this actually shows that women’s empowerment worldwide is getting serious;
    • Youth – Eliasson observed that youth around the world approach problems from an unbiased perspective, focused on solutions, despite the debt and other uncertainties and setbacks they face after school
    • Knowledge -  Eliasson was excited about what knowledge post education we need knowledge, along with the power of technology, science, and research could and would do for climate, health, and exposing corruption, among others
    • International cooperation – Eliasson said that the UN and its leaders recognize that it is the only international effort currently focusing on the 3 pillars, and that the UN needs to not only be a catalyst for others to act but to take lead in that action when possible.
The Honorable Eliasson closed with what he felt like the UN’s true role in the world is: to be both a reflection of the world as it is and a reflection of what is should be and to actively work toward diminishing the gap between those two.

22 October 2014

UN Month Happy Hour – A Toast to Eleanor Roosevelt

The UNA-NCA Happy Hour on Thursday October 9 was all about First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  A sampling of her well-known quotes were handed to guests as they arrived.  Flyers with photos and timeline facts about major events in Mrs. Roosevelt’s life were given out.  Some participants wore period hats of the 1940s – 50s.  A toast was made in honor of the First Lady’s 130th birthday, and an actress playing Eleanor Roosevelt showed up to make a few remarks and to lead the singing of that signature song from Franklin Roosevelt’s Presidential re-election campaigns, “Happy Days are Here Again.”  [For the record, ‘Eleanor’ refused to lead the singing of Happy Birthday, characteristically calling it ‘unduly self-congratulatory.’  However, she did pose the question as to whether being “65 times 2” would allow her to collect Social Security twice.  Indeed!]

Although lighthearted in nature, the purpose of the Happy Hour was to honor the First Lady as both an historical American political figure and an international human rights advocate.  While many people are familiar with Mrs. Roosevelt’s years in the White House as First Lady, far less are familiar with her work at the United Nations as Chairman of the Commission which drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  And very few people know about the work Mrs. Roosevelt did for the American Association of the United Nations after she left the U.N.  It is our hope that the Eleanor Roosevelt Happy Hour becomes an annual UN-Month event which serves to entertain and educate the public about the incredible legacy of human rights advocacy and activism inspired by the exceptional efforts of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.  For more information on getting involved with the Human Rights Committee please contact Christina Hansen at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Sultana Ali This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

17 October 2014

Young Professionals Board Seeks Leadership Positions

UNA-NCA Young Professionals Board Of Directors Positions – Open for Applications

Come join the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, UNA-NCA, a nonprofit organization serving the greater Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas. With the help of over 5,000 members, volunteers, and supporters in the greater Washington area, UNA-NCA works to build public knowledge of the UN, strengthen UN-US relations, and aid the UN in achieving its goals. 

UNA-NCA is recruiting leaders for the re-launch of our newly minted Young Professionals program. We are seeking young professionals to fill several volunteer leadership positions on the UNA-NCA YP Board of Directors to start this Winter. 

The UNA-NCA Young Professionals program cultivates future globally minded leaders in international affairs, spanning nonprofits and the public and private sectors through professional development programming and leadership and mentorship opportunities.

UNA-NCA Young Professionals is currently accepting applications for five (5) YP Board Leadership positions.

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