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09 December 2019

2019 Human Rights Awards Press Release

UNA-NCA Honors Those Dedicated to Improving Human Rights

The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area’s 2019 Human Rights Awards will recognize individuals and organizations working to improve human rights in local communities, and around the world.

WASHINGTON, DC – (December 6,  2019) –  On the evening of Tuesday, December 10th, 2019, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) will host their 2019 Human Rights Awards Reception, an event put forth annually to commemorate the anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In honor of the 71st anniversary of the adoption of this milestone document, UNA-NCA will recognize individuals and organizations working to improve human rights in their communities and around the world. This year’s honorees are The Honorable Michelle Bachelet, Professor Katherine Marshall, Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, The Honorable Vivian Lowery Derryck, and World Central Kitchen. In addition to the recipients, the event will also feature notable speakers and presenters, including DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The Honorable Michelle Bachelet is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the inaugural UNA-NCA Global Human Rights Leadership Award will be presented in her honor. While Bachelet is not able to accept the award in person, she will be featured prominently in the programming. Bachelet assumed her role as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2018, following prominent positions as two-term President of Chile, as well as the country’s Health Minister, and first female Defense Minister of Chile as well as in Latin America. In all of these posts, Bachelet has made clear her commitment to promoting the rights of those most vulnerable in society.

Professor Katherine Marshall, Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue, will receive the Louis B. Sohn Human Rights Award. In an interview with UNA-NCA, when asked about the connections between the UN and human rights, Marshall stated that, “The UN is a secular organization and human rights is in many respects considered its religion… human rights framing and the SDGs are important contributions from the UN.” 

Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, Former U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, will receive the F. Allen “Tex” Harris Human Rights Diplomacy Award. She will be presented with this award for her exemplary service to advancing human rights through the use of diplomacy.

The Honorable Vivian Lowery Derryck, Founder and President Emerita of The Bridges Institute, and a member of the UNA-NCA Advisory Council, will receive the Perdita Huston Human Rights Award. In discussing the significance of the award and its namesake, Derryck reflected on her personal connection with Huston, drew attention to their parallel paths, and stated that, “Receiving this award is the culmination of everything I’ve worked for all these years.”

World Central Kitchen will receive the UNA-NCA Community Human Rights Award; Nate Mook, Executive Director, will accept the award on behalf of the organization. Mook has stated that he finds food security to be strongly connected with human rights issues, and that the work of WCK maintains at its core a commitment to connecting with specific local and community contexts.

The event will be held at the National Education Association, 1201 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20036. Doors will open at 5:00 p.m. for registration, with a reception beginning at 5:15 p.m., and the program running from 6:00 to 8:00. Members of the media interested in attending are asked to register by contacting Executive Director Paula Boland at paula@unanca.org or 202-223-6092 for details.


21 November 2019

Students at the Fall 2019 Model UN Training Conference Propose Real-World Solutions to Malnutrition

All photos credited to Sonia Mey-Schmidt (PAHO/WHO)

On November 14th, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) hosted our annual Fall Model UN Training Conference. Global Classrooms DC, the flagship education program of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), has been partnering with PAHO, the Latin American branch of the World Health Organization, for 16 years. Each fall, we have hosted a Training Conference where several hundred students are introduced to Model United Nations, where they represent a country and discuss current issues with other delegates.

Throughout the day, over 170 students representing 80 countries gathered at PAHO to discuss global malnutrition. We were pleased to have 12 schools from previous years return while also welcoming two new schools to our program, including a home-schooled delegation. The majority of students, who ranged from 5th grade to 10th grade, had never done Model UN before and were putting the skills they had learned into practice for the first time.

paho19-6The topic of the conference was especially relevant, since malnutrition affects every country in the world, whether in the form of obesity or undernourishment. According to the UN, one in three people in the world suffer from malnutrition, and many countries suffer from what is known as the double burden, where a country struggles with both undernutrition and obesity in their community.

The day began with a welcome from Paula Boland, Executive Director of UNA-NCA, who introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Sonja Caffé, currently serving as the Regional Adolescent Health Advisor at PAHO. Dr. Caffé is also a past Fulbright fellow and has worked with the United Nations for over 20 years, first with UNICEF and later with PAHO/WHO. In her speech, she emphasized the importance of addressing the triple threat of undernutrition, obesity, and micronutrient deficiency. She also encouraged delegates to think broadly and propose bold solutions to this critical issue.

Following opening ceremonies, students began by discussing their countries’ views on how best to address global malnutrition. In their speeches, delegates highlighted how malnutrition affected both paho19-4their own countries and the international community as a whole, and emphasized the need for international cooperation to find a solution. These opening speeches were also an excellent opportunity for students to practice their public speaking skills in a professional setting while honing their ability to succinctly condense their argument into short and concise proposals. Students also learned about the advisory role that the WHO plays, specifically in terms of how the WHO fits into a broader UN-led strategy to combat malnutrition.

As each country made their views known and proposed new ideas, it became clear that there was broad consensus on the urgency of the issue. The proposals of these delegates were multifaceted and comprehensive, ranging from addressing how poverty is tied to malnutrition to proposing a data-driven approach to better understand how each country is affected by malnutrition. During the first unmoderated caucus, where delegates can informally meet with others and negotiate directly with other countries, a number of countries formed different blocs that were focused on different aspects of malnutrition. Each of these blocs were made up of like-minded countries who agreed on a set of solutions. By the end of the morning session, delegates had begun writing their draft resolutions, which contained their proposed solutions for the issue.

Once the blocs finished their resolutions, students began negotiating with each other. Blocs that found they had similar views merged their resolutions in a bid to garner more support, and delegates’ negotiating and presentation skills were tested as each bloc attempted to present their resolution in the best possible light to others and to secure their votes. With 80 countries being represented, a resolution had to have the backing of at least 41 countries to be successfully implemented, so delegates were hard at work convincing others that their solutions were realistic and would help solve global malnutrition.

paho19-2By mid-afternoon, the sponsors of each resolution, or those who had written the majority of the text, jointly presented their resolution and took questions from delegates. Questions included how these proposals would be financed, as well as how these proposals would be reconciled with the national sovereignty of each individual country. At the end of the afternoon session, the committee entered into voting procedure, and delegates voted on the 12 resolutions that had been drafted and debated throughout the day. In total, three resolutions passed. The first focused on educating the public about malnutrition and encouraging countries to promote healthier foods. Another recommended establishing an international fund for countries with severe malnutrition to draw from, and the last focused on redistributing food and preventing food waste through international coordination.

Overall, the Dias was extremely pleased with the level of debate throughout the day. Students showed a remarkable understanding of the complexities of malnutrition, and were able to approach the issue from multiple directions. Delegates also showed themselves to be well-researched, and many of them were able to cite statistics that they had prepared ahead of time. paho19-3Despite their relative inexperience with the procedures of Model UN, delegates quickly grasped the rules of procedure and had a vigorous and substantive debate on the difficulties surrounding solutions to malnutrition. The Dias was especially encouraged to see students of all ages participating, with younger students being unafraid to advocate for their own countries and debate with older students. Throughout the day, delegates were prompted to consider the real-world impact of their policies and how every country’s participation is necessary to solve major international problems such as malnutrition.

The Fall Training Conference is part of a year-long curriculum for students who care about their global and local communities, and is implemented through Global Classrooms DC (GCDC), the flagship education program of UNA-NCA. With the collaboration of its partners, GCDC creates a curriculum that uses Model United Nations to cultivate an international perspective, promote understanding of the UN system, and encourage students to interact with others from diverse backgrounds. The curriculum is used by middle schools and high schools from across DC, Maryland, and Virginia, and is an opportunity for students to become more active local and global citizens by being exposed to larger issues and different viewpoints.


The 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. Each year, GCDC also hosts a competitive Model UN conference in the Spring, where students can showcase everything they learned throughout the year. For more information, you can visit our website.

19 November 2019

Fall 2019 Young Professionals Career Dinners Event Coverage

cd2On Saturday, November 2nd, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) hosted the Fall 2019 edition of its semi-annual Young Professionals’ Career Dinners. This signature event of UNA-NCA is an opportunity for young people to discuss global career paths and network with experienced professionals in their fields of interest. This fall’s event began with a networking reception at the United Nations Foundation with nearly 100 guests, followed by introductory remarks from UNA-NCA President, Stephen Moseley, and UNA-NCA Executive Director, Paula Boland.
cd4Moseley recognized the enthusiasm of all of the young professionals in attendance, and applauded their interest in the realm of careers in international affairs. He also expressed his gratitude for the event’s speakers, and assured the participants that the evening would be a memorable one. Moseley then introduced Paula Boland, Executive Director of UNA-NCA.

Boland highlighted October’s UN Month programming, noting that the Fall Career Dinners really serve as an extension of this important month’s events, and emphasizing that the Career Dinners are the signature event of UNA-NCA’s Young Professionals program. She graciously thanked the event’s sponsors, including Stephen Moseley, Tom Bradley, Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret.), Edison Dick, Jordan Hibbs, and Markley Roberts, as well as corporate sponsors, Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA), and Waterford, Inc., in addition to the hosts of the off-site dinners, Heather Hill and Karen Mulhauser.

Boland then introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, Loyce Pace, President and Executive Director of the Global Health Council. She stated, “Loyce Pace comes to this role with years of experience, having been on the ground in more than 10 countries, delivering health programs and mobilizing advocates. She has also held leadership positions in global policy and strategic partnerships at the Livestrong Foundation, and the American Cancer Society,” and commended Pace’s role as a strong advocate for global health.

Pace offered a telling of her personal career journey, acknowledging specifically her beginnings in opportunities she was provided by working with community leaders and local champions who were committed to the same types of things as she. With this, she encouraged the young professionals in attendance to participate in a voluntary capacity at the community level, saying, “It will take you far, not just professionally, but personally,” and highlighted opportunities available through organizations such as UNA-NCA.cd5

She noted that, as her career continued, she noticed more evidently the similarities in issues faced on the ground across the world. For Pace, this connection was important, as she has found that these types of similarities in problems can transfer to similarities in effective solutions. She recognized that what brought her to Washington was likely similar to what brought many of the attendees to the dinners that evening: An understanding that policy and politics matter. Pace was honest with the event participants about the limitations and challenges she has faced in her work, a perspective that certainly was useful for understanding that even those who have achieved major successes have also dealt with struggles along the way. Pace was truly effective in making connections with her listeners through her honesty and her sharing of many personal and career anecdotes, and she concluded her speech with a dedicated portion of time for a question-and-answer segment with the event participants. Pace’s address was evidently well-received, and surely put the participants in the right mindset to engage in successful conversations in the following portion of the evening - the dinners themselves.

cd3This year, participants had the choice of registering for one of six themed dinners, each led by professionals from specific fields. This term’s dinners were: “Careers in the United Nations” (led by Sarah Jackson-Han, Senior Policy, Strategy, and Communications Advisor, UNDP, and Laura Fuller, Head of Communications, UN Environment Programme), “International Law” (led by Angelita Baeyens, Programs Director of Advocacy & Litigation, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and Renee Dopplick, UNA-NCA International Law Committee Chair and Co-Chair of the UN and International Organizations Committee of the ABA Section of International Law), “Human Rights & Journalism” (led by Heather Hill, Director of Communications and Marketing, World Hope International, and Jenn TopperCommunications Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press), “Climate & Gender” (led by Jamie Wen-BessonCommunications Officer, Advancing Gender in the Environment, International Union for Conservation of Nature, and Cara Honzak, Senior Technical Advisor for Population, Health & Environment, Pathfinder International), “International Education” (led by Tonija Hope NavasDirector, Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, and Kristen Shannon, Program Officer, Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, IREX), and “Global Health” (led by Dr. Carol Labor, Principal Consultant, Women's Wellness Group, and Chisina Kapungu, Director of Learning and Organizational Strengthening, WomenStrong International). The dinners were hosted both at the United Nations Foundation, as well as in private homes, and each session was structured in a manner to foster discussion and promote engaging conversation in a uniquely intimate and comfortable setting. Each session’s speakers offered career advice to young professionals eager to learn about the type of work that they do, and the participants and speakers were able to share stories, experiences, and pose questions to one another in a collaborative way.
The Fall 2019 Young Professionals’ Career Dinners were a great success, and UNA-NCA is already looking forward to hosting the Spring 2020 dinners next year!

08 November 2019

Full Coverage of UN Month 2019

UNA-NCA celebrated the United Nations' 74th Anniversary this year focusing on the theme "Our Planet.  Our Future."  Three events were hosted in honor of the organization, beginning on October 8th with the annual Eleanor Roosevelt Happy Hour, celebrating the former First Lady and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  We then hosted UN Environment Program Executive Director Inger Andersen for a convesation with Center for Climate and Energy Solutions President Robert Perciasepe, moderated by the UN Foundation's Managing Director for Climate and Energy, Ryan Hobert.  Finally, UNA-NCA concluded UN Month with a discussion on "The UN and Human Rights in 2019" featuring keynote remarks by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour, followed by a discussion with Ambassador Keith Harper (ret.), former U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Human Rights Council, and Ambassador Sarah Mendelson, former U.S. Permanent Representative to ECOSOC.

Click below to view coverage and learn more!

October 8 - Eleanor Roosevelt Happy Hour


October 18 - Our Planet.  Our Future


October 28 - The UN and Human Rights in 2019


29 October 2019

"The UN and Human Rights in 2019" Event Coverage

By Micayla Costa, Human Rights Committee Member, and A. Edward Elmendorf, UNA-NCA Past President

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Andrew Gilmour and former Ambassadors Sarah Mendelson and Keith Harper focused on the many human rights challenges facing the UN, at a UNA-NCA UN Month forum on Capitol Hill, on October 28th.  Gilmour, the New York Representative for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, placed current problems in a historical context, including the horrors of civil war in the former Yugoslavia, and the Rwandan genocide. Citing differences of perspective among UN Security Council members, including the P5 (comprised of China, France, Russia, the United
Kingdom, and the United States), on the extent to which the Council should engage on human rights issues associated with international security problems, P1010772Gilmour called for an expansive view, as opposed to that of China and Russia.  In terms of other Security Council reforms, Gilmour mentioned changes in composition, and modifications of the use of the veto. With indirect reference to the dialogue in the United States about its overseas engagement, Gilmour said that the UN is engaged in nation-building. He expressed his concern regarding human rights violations in many areas of the world, and called for the protection of people, who bring human rights grievances to the UN, from reprisals by their home governments. 

Serving as discussants prior to open questions and answers, Mendelson, former U.S. Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council, and Harper, former U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council, agreed on the current backlash against human rights. They saw an important absence of global leadership for the protection of human rights, lamenting the current absence of the U.S. from the UN Human Rights Council. They called for the U.S. to re-engage as a member of the Council and to provide new leadership on human rights issues in the Council and beyond. They argued that full deployment of U.S. diplomatic capacities in capitals around the world might, for example, have assured the election of Costa Rica over Venezuela in the recent UN General Assembly election of members of the Council.  The importance of a Council comprised of human rights advocates, with minimal numbers of spoiler states which may discourage action by the Council regarding abuses, was underscored. Harper stressed the importance of UN work to support human rights defenders.

P1010762Gilmour said that the UN’s human rights agenda has evolved considerably over the decades.  For many years, it had been determined solely from the perspective of leading world powers.  More and more, the agenda has become widely global, yet inclusive, as reflected in the universality of the UN’s Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While Gilmour emphasized that the SDGs are only goals and not rights, Mendelson said that the Goals should be seen as a hopeful development, stressing the SDGs’ ability to mobilize young people.      

During the discussion, the speakers stressed the significance of protecting current human rights standards and institutions against backlash attacks from authoritarians and others abroad and at home. Civil society organizations, whose work is at the core of international protection of human rights, face increasing threats, both on a personal level, as well as through regulatory changes which reduce civic space, and limit NGO fundraising. Concerns were expressed about potential threats to the international protection of human rights that could arise from the “Commission on Unalienable Rights,” recently created by Secretary of State Pompeo. 

The speakers stressed the complicated position of ethnic conflicts in regards to human rights, as these cases can often be posed as security concerns, rather than as human rights issues. Considering these situations as ones which concern human rights may expedite their being addressed, before they can evolve into even more difficult issues of international peace and security. 

The uncertainty of the international environment is a critical factor in the realm of human rights.  For example, the unexpected fall of the Soviet Union spawned P1010777a massive expansion of human rights reform in former Soviet republics, and created an international environment which facilitated the establishment of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.  Similarly, LGBTQ issues lacked significant international attention prior to the last decades. This situation has steadily improved, however, and in 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Council established an Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI).  The Independent Expert, a distinguished Costa Rican lawyer, has visited and reported on country performance on LGBTQ matters, and addressed the UN General Assembly’s Committee on Human Rights and Social Issues on UN Day 2019. 

Gilmour observed that UN human rights failures, in part due to their prominence in the public eye, are much easier to identify than human rights successes. Still, Gilmour, Harper, and Mendelson were certain to make note of key human rights successes throughout their discussion, including the UN-mobilized support for the reforms now under way in Sudan, and for the actions of UN peacekeepers in South Sudan in protecting civilian populations.

The event concluded with a full house of attendees, who engaged in informal discussions and networking after the distinguished speakers concluded. This type of continued dialogue and collaborative learning is encouraged under the auspices of the UNA-NCA Human Rights Committee, where new members are welcome, and where multiple advocacy opportunities are currently available.

23 October 2019

2019-2020 GCDC School Year in Full Motion

GCDC launched the upcoming school year with plenty of excitement! GCDC is preparing for the Fall Model UN Training Conference, taking place on November 14, 2019 at the Pan American Health Organization. The conference will focus on Malnutrition in a World Health Organization (WHO) committee and serves as a spring-board for success at the Spring Conference. We are proud to announce that as of October 16th, the conference hit maximum capacity for students - the earliest that we have ever reached capacity.

We have confirmed partnerships with key organizations to enhance the school year for our students. For the second year in a row, GCDC is partnering with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and International Organization for Migration (IOM). GCDC also confirmed a new sponsorship with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). These relationships will be key in supporting and sponsoring the GCDC Spring Model UN Conference, hosted at the U.S. Department of State and Pan American Health Organization. 

GCDC has also decided on the final topics for the 2020 Spring Model UN Conference:

  • World Health Organization - Prevent Malnutrition (SDG #3)
  • International Labour Conference - Integrate Just Transition Towards a Green Economy (SDG #8)
  • International Organization for Migration - Protect Forced Migration Due to Conflict (SDG #10)
  • UN Development Programme - Promote Women’s Political Participation and Leadership (SDG #5)
  • UN Environment Programme - Advance Responsible Consumption for Sustainable Growth (SDG #12)
  • Crisis Topic in the UN Security Council

We're looking forward to another great year for GCDC!

19 October 2019

"Our Planet. Our Future." Event Coverage

By: Abby Bowman, UNA-NCA Program Assistant

On October 18th, 2019, the United Nations Association of the Capital Area (UNA-NCA), in conjunction with the UNA-USA, the UN Foundation, and the UN Environment Programme, presented a highly successful event entitled “Our Planet. Our Future.” This programming was set forth as part of UNA-NCA’s annual October ‘UN Month’ celebration, to commemorate the anniversary of the United Nations. UNA-NCA began the month by hosting another successful annual Eleanor Roosevelt Happy Hour, to celebrate Eleanor’s birthday, the International Day of the Girl, and the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On October 28th, UNA-NCA will host an event entitled ‘The UN and Human Rights in 2019’ with keynote speaker Andrew Gilmour, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.

“Our Planet. Our Future.” was held in the evening on Friday the 18th at the United Nations Foundation in Washington, DC, and highlighted the work of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and its Executive Director, Inger Andersen. The event succeeded in connecting the global and local dimensions of the climate change challenge by joining Ms. Andersen’s remarks with a discussion including former Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe, and moderated by Ryan Hobert, Managing Director for Energy and Climate at the UN Foundation.

The presentation began with opening remarks by UNA-NCA Board President and event sponsor Stephen F. Moseley. Moseley thanked the event’s sponsors, Ambassador Donald T. (ret.) and Nancy Bliss, Edison and Sally Dick, A. Edward and Susan Elmendorf, Tim Barner and Kathy Guthrie, Michael R. Marsh, Northern Trust, Renee Dopplick, Kristen Hecht, Ellen McGovern, and Kimberly and Carl Weichel. He then highlighted the many events of UNA-NCA’s UN Month, and expressed his gratitude for everyone in attendance, as well as the guest speakers.

Moseley then turned the microphone over to Paula Boland, Executive Director of UNA-NCA. Boland shared the UNA-NCA’s intention behind this particular event, “This UN Month, we found it critical to program an event in which we could engage in a discussion about the global climate change challenge. Specifically, we wanted to highlight the work of the UN Environment Programme and its Executive Director, as well as connect the local and global elements of this issue, as aligns with our mission at the UNA-NCA.”

Boland then introduced Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen, to deliver the evening’s keynote remarks.

Andersen was appointed to her prestigious position in February of this year by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. She brings 30 years of experience to this position, and is a global expert in international development economics, environmental sustainability, and policy-making. Prior to her appointment to her current position, Ms. Andersen served as the Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Ms. Andersen brought to this position 12 years of experience in the United Nations, as well as a 15-year career at the World Bank, where she held key leadership roles including Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa, and Vice President for Sustainable Development. Prior to the World Bank, Ms. Andersen was appointed to several roles in the UN, and served as the UN Development Programme’s Water and Environment Coordinator for the Arab Region. She is a committed and passionate advocate for conservation and sustainable development, and carries invaluable experience with her to the position as Executive Director of UNEP.
Andersen took the podium to loud applause and a great excitement from the crowd. She began by detailing the multiple threats that she sees to face our planet and its people. Andersen explained this, stating, “Climate change is eating into our well-being, economic development, peace and stability, and unfortunately unless we take action, it will only get worse. In converting land for agriculture, infrastructure and urban expansion, we have destroyed ecosystems, biodiversity and the services they provide. We are polluting the land, air and sea, causing millions of deaths each year, burdening healthcare systems and, again, destroying nature’s foundations. In reality, though, there is only one threat: humanity. Our reliance on fossil fuels, our pursuit of unrestrained growth, our prioritization of the short-term over the long has caused these challenges. We are our own worst enemy.”

Andersen was also clear to promote the work of the United Nations as a whole, and the role that multilateralism can (and must) play in this effort. She said, “The UN has always been at the core of finding common grounds and the platform where we develop collective action, whether on the Sustainable Development Goals or the Paris Agreement. The environment challenge is one that travels across boundaries, and in a sense, binds nations together. The environment is the platform that can enable multilateral action.”

She thanked those in attendance for their demonstrated commitment to this important cause, and paralleled this with a promise of commitment by UNEP. Andersen closed on a positive note, stating, “There is no excuse. With the multilateral processes in place, and levels of support never seen before, we can recalibrate our relationship with the environment. We can design and implement an inclusive global society that thrives within planetary limits. We can ensure a better future for this planet and all of the creatures that live on it.”

Following Andersen’s keynote remarks, Robert Perciasepe, former EPA Deputy Administrator and current  President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) joined her on stage for a panel discussion. This panel was moderated by Ryan Hobert, Managing Director for Energy and Climate at the UN Foundation. Hobert posed a couple of questions to the two, and Perciasepe discussed the groups he has seen have the most positive (and the most negative) influences in this effort. He said of power companies, amongst other businesses, that, “... they are questioning how they are going to [get to net zero emissions by 2050, amongst other goals], but they are making these public commitments. So there’s a lot going on, which is, I think, helpful.” However, he noted his discontent with government commitment to this work, explaining that he is extremely discouraged by the fact that, “...our government cannot mount the expedition to be a helpful global leader.”

panel Hobert then directed a question to Andersen, asking in the context of the 2020 Convention on Biological Diversity, “How do you see these major moments on biological diversity and climate coming together?” Andersen responded through an explanation on the way in which, “Nature produces the essence of our livelihood,” citing the “magic” of these intricate webs of survival. For her, an understanding of this connection is critical in understanding the far-reaching impacts of recent fast-paced climate shifts.

The panel discussion was then turned towards the audience, and there was a brief moment offered for questions from the event attendees. Interest was demonstrated in how to do one’s part in this global effort, as well as how realistic the implementation of some of these prescriptions proposed by leaders in the field might be.

“Our Planet. Our Future.” was another highly successful event organized by UNA-NCA, in conjunction with UNA-USA, the UN Foundation, and the UN Environment Programme. A strong call-to-action was made by Andersen, Perciasepe, and Hobert directly to the participants of the event, but emphasized that this call should be one that everyone actively chooses to answer. group

09 October 2019

'Eleanor Roosevelt Happy Hour' Event Coverage

By Ian Sloan, Human Rights Committee Member

On October 8th, 2019, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the U.N.A.-N.C.A.’s Human Rights Committee hosted a celebration at ‘The Eleanor’ of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s birthday, and her lasting impact on human rights protection and advocacy efforts.  Guests were provided flyers that included a timeline of the First Lady’s greatest achievements, such as her contribution to the legislation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10th, 1948.  Through reading this timeline, guests were able to take their own journey into Roosevelt’s life and receive some initial or continued motivation to be involved in human rights protection and advocacy. Inspiring involvement in this kind of work was also the main objective addressed by guest speaker, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who spoke once again at this important event, following last year.  In her speech, she emphasized the present necessity of protecting and supporting human rights through our individual efforts and efforts involving coalitions such as the UNA-NCA.

In addition to welcoming the attendance of current UNA-NCA members and supporters such as Representative Norton, the Human Rights Committee was also excited to receive guests new to UNA-NCA, who were interested in learning more about the efforts of Roosevelt, as well as the organization as a whole.  This openness to the public demonstrated that inclusivity and cordiality were established priorities for this event.  These two priorities were also emphasized through the event’s facilitation of a space for socializing through networking, as well as food, drinks, and birthday cake, and arcade game playing between attendees. The event was ultimately another successful celebration and birthday for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a powerful figure who has inspired many contemporary human rights protection and advocacy policies and events, such as the International Day of the Girl, and the social media promotion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.   


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