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11 December 2017

UNA-NCA Stands Up For Human Rights

“This year’s commemoration of Human Rights Day marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of seven decades since the adoption of one of the world’s most profound and far-reaching international agreements.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes the equality and dignity of every human being and stipulates that every government has a core duty to enable all people to enjoy all their inalienable rights and freedoms.”

UN Secretary General António Guterres’ message on Human Rights Day.

The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area celebrated International Human Rights Day on December 7, 2017 with its Annual Human Rights Awards Reception at the National Education Association. UNA-NCA members and supporters stood up for human rights recognizing the outstanding work this year’s honorees are doing to improve human rights in their communities and around the world.

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07 December 2017

Human Rights Awards 2017 Remarks by Nancy Rivard

“It is such an honor to receive this award, especially from the Lantos family, as AAI was born in their office in 1996 and they have been a fountain of inspiration and support ever since.

Secondly because my late uncle, Ambassador Jonathon Dean, was president of this United Nations Association, he also was one of my great inspirations and one of the world’s foremost authorities on nuclear disarmament.

All of us want to harvest the fruits of a life well lived, but how do we do that?
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07 December 2017

Human Rights Awards 2017 Remarks by George Jones, Bread for the City CEO

First, allow me to thank you, Councilmember White, for joining us here tonight and for presenting Bread for the City with the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area’s 2017 Human Rights award.

On behalf of our Board Directors, our Staff and all the people we serve, it is my honor and privilege to accept this wonderful award to Bread for the City.

Thanks so much to the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area for recognizing Bread for the City with this prestigious award.

When I began to think about my remarks for tonight’s ceremony, I had no doubt that it would be easy to look on the United Nations Association’s website to find alignment between UNA NCA’s goals and Bread for the City’s. As it turns out, it was easier than I thought. A quick look at United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and I immediately saw that goal numbers 2, 3 and 10, end hunger, ensure good health and end inequality respectively. Those 3 aims describe the social justice issues that Bread for the City has prioritized and focused on for over 4 decades.
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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

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           
Andrew Doll, Programs and Membership Manager, UNA-NCA
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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

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.

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