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14 June 2017

Edison W. Dick Accepts Inaugural Edison W. Dick Advocacy Leadership Award

Thank you, Congresswoman Morella. You were a superb representative for the 8th Congressional District and still are a wonderful internationalist and supporter of the United Nations. Your presentation is very meaningful to me.

I greatly appreciate the current leadership of UNA-NCA for devising this important theme for tonight- thank you, Don, Steve, Paula. Immediate Past President Ed Elmendorf is also a co-conspirator in this effort. I am deeply honored and humbled by this award. However, there are many people with whom I should share it.

David Scotton has been an inspiration and mentor since I first became involved with UNA-NCA. His dedication and knowledge have been of invaluable support to me and to UNA. Happily, David remains co-Chair of our Advocacy Committee and an influential voice for the UN in Washington. Melissa Kaplan has been a diligent and superb co-Chair of the chapter’s Advocacy Committee for the past 4 years. I am confident she will remain at the center of our advocacy efforts for many years. I am also pleased our incoming Vice-Chair for Advocacy, Lyric Thompson, is here tonight.

I would like to play tribute to an individual who could not be with us tonight due to a conflict. Steve Dimoff was the Director of NA’s Washington office during the entire time that I served on the National Board of Directors.  He certainly inspired the effort to recognize the importance of advocacy as a necessary furtherance of policy for our organization. He was as knowledgeable as anyone regarding our executive and legislative branches of government. He was key to implementing UNA’s Advocacy effort. I was privileged to work very closely with Steve - he deserves a good chunk of this award. Finally and most importantly, I would like to thank my family for their everlasting support. I am delighted that Sally and our son, Warner, are here tonight.

UNA-NCA has a vibrant advocacy program. This is due to both the proximity to the levels of government and the power and strength of the chapter itself. Our claim to be the best chapter in the entire UNA system is valid but is met with a certain amount of skepticism in other parts of the country. Nevertheless, we work closely with other chapters and with the UNA-USA Advocacy Committee which does an outstanding job. I believe the Committee Chair, Mel Boynton, is here tonight. Tribute must also be given to UNA’s dynamic Executive Director, Chris Whatley. UNA’s advocacy effort has been skillfully advanced and enhanced as a result of UNA joining forces with the UN Foundation and its Better World campaign.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Kathy Calvin, Peter Yeo, Jordie Hannum, Micah Spangler and BWC’s leadership team for spreading the message about the importance of the UN in the world and the necessity for a vibrant United States role in the organization - especially during this difficult political environment.

UNA’s Leadership Summit, with its strong advocacy component, begins on Sunday. There are so many important advocacy issues to be addressed. Not the least of which is full funding for the UN - or as John Whitehead said, “In full, on time and without conditions.” Currently, we are facing devastating impacts of cuts to United Nations funding. There are also the myriad peace and security issues, the entire arena of sustainable development goals, including global health and climate change- especially after last week’s actions on the Paris Accord’s human rights problems abound. I do not have to recite the litany of advocacy issues for this audience. Advocacy also entails providing basic facts to skeptical or unfamiliar audiences - for example, such as those on Capitol Hill or at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. It is often necessary to explain that 88% of Americans support an active role for the US in the UN and that total United States. Funding for the United Nations amounts to a horrifying 0.2 percent of the total federal budget.

I am looking forward to working with our chapter and everyone here to further this advocacy initiative. Thank you again for this honor and thank you all for coming.



12 June 2017

2017 Board Election Results


UNA-NCA is delighted to confirm the election of the following candidates for vacant positions on our Board of Directors. 

Officers (2-year term):

  • Vice President, Advocacy: Lyric Thompson                                          
  • Vice President, Communications: Sandra Coburn
  • Vice President, Development: Timothy Barner
  • Vice President, Finance and Treasurer: Scott Stiens
  • Vice President, Programs: Christina Hansen
  • Vice President, Young Professionals: Laura Blyler                                  

Directors-at-Large (3-year term):

  • Diane Adams
  • Patricia Beneke
  • Dawn T. Calabia
  • Heather Lane Chauny
  • Renee Dopplick
  • Michael R. Marsh
  • Michael Onyemelukwe
  • Ambassador Lynn Pascoe
  • Richard Ponzio
  • Ambassador Osman Siddique

Student Representative (1-year term)

 Bradley Wiggins (The George Washington University)

UNA-NCA wishes to thank the following individuals for their service on its Board of Directors:

Thomas Bradley, Kristen Cheriegate, Kasara Davidson, Vanessa Francis, Melissa Kaplan, Jessica Mueller, and Jesse Nickelson.


Bios for all Board Members may be accessed here

These results were announced at the 2017 UNA-NCA Annual Meeting June 8, 2017. 



08 June 2017

Closing Remarks From Outgoing UNA-NCA President, Ambassador Donald T. Bliss

As I complete four years as President of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), let me express my deep gratitude to our members, volunteer leaders, supporters, and dedicated staff for making this such a rewarding and enlightening experience. Thank you for the honor and privilege.

image 1I wish I could say that I am leaving you in a better place. We all know, however, that we are facing something of an existential crisis. There are voices in the US Administration and Congress that are questioning the value of the post-World War II global order. We face proposals to slash funding for the UN, foreign assistance, and diplomacy and to withdraw from international organizations and international treaties. Perhaps even more disturbing, we face a lack of understanding by the American public and many opinion and policy leaders about the multifaceted work of the United Nations and the values embraced in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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31 May 2017

Educator Appreciation Reception 2017

Over 30 educators and guests gathered at the United Nations Foundation on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 to celebrate the work of educators, including teachers, parents, and Model UN advisors. The reception was organization by UNA-NCA in partnership with the Culturfied Foundation and the program included a panel discussing Global Educators in the 21st Century, with many perspectives shared by the speakers and audience participation.

Megan Penn, UNA-NCA Director of Global Education, moderated the panel with Amy Trenkle, an eighth grade teacher at Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, DC, and Luis Mendez, a U.S. Foreign Service Officer and Una Chapman Cox fellow at UNA-NCA. Their opening statements highlighted the importance of including global education in the US, the DC area and internationally.

Luis Mendez shared his personal experience visiting public, public charter and private schools throughout his year-long fellowship through the State Department, teaching students about his life story. Mr. Mendez has been dedicated to inspiring thousands of students to reach for their dreams through educating them on the importance of the United Nations, along with supporting Model UN programs and clubs in the schools that he visits.

Amy Trenkle emphasized that in Model UN, students are able to take charge of their own learning. For educators to succeed, they need to constantly talk to their students and embrace what they want to learn and how they would like to learn it. She referenced her use of field trips, such as museum visits and outside classes, as a way to present a more interactive approach in the learning process.

During the question period, educators from DC, Maryland and Virginia also stressed the importance of raising awareness on international issues and creating global citizens through global education programs like Global Classrooms DC and Model UN. The discussion and event also sparked curiosity in new teachers interested in learning more about our program, who want to create their own Model UN clubs. To top off the event, all guests participated in a raffle with prizes donated by Culturfied Foundation that went from a spa day basket to Starbucks gift cards and wireless speakers.

UNA-NCA is grateful to all its educators, volunteers, partners and sponsors, and looks forward to having another successful school year!




24 May 2017

Statement from UNA-NCA President on the Administration's Budget Proposal


If we have learned anything during the 72 years since the founding of the United Nations, it is that real progress is made through international cooperation and diplomacy--from the Marshall Plan to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In August 2015, the global community—193 member states of the United Nations—unanimously agreed upon Sustainable Development Goals that would mobilize governments, civil society and the private sector to address the underlining causes of global instability-- such as extreme poverty and rising income inequality, killer diseases like malaria, polio, measles, and HIV/AIDS, inadequate education and skills training, gender inequality, and the lack of sustainable institutions that foster the rule of law and inclusive societies.

Since the allied victory in World War II enabling the creation of global institutions that are premised on US leadership and enshrine US values, it has become increasing clear—in Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and in threats like terrorism and nuclear proliferation-- that the military alone does not provide the solution.
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16 May 2017

Senate Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is Critical to US Security, Energy, Trade, and Economic Interests


Given recent troubling events in international waters and substantial losses of valuable US mineral and offshore energy resource rights, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area urges Senate Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to meet compelling national security and economic interests
.

On May 9, 2017, The International Law Committee of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, in partnership with the American Society of International Law and the International Law Section of the American Bar Association, held a symposium of leading experts on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The unanimous conclusion of these experts is that Senate ratification of UNCLOS is critical to US national security, energy, trade and job creation interests and objectives.

The experts included Ambassador to UNCLOS John Norton Moore (Ret.), Walter L. Brown Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, Douglas R Burnett, International Law Advisor to the International Cable Protection Committee, Myron Norquist, leading scholar on UNCLOS, and Ruth Wedgewood, Edward Burling Professor of International Diplomacy at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. UNA-NCA expresses appreciation to Bob Craft, Chair of the International Law Committee  and the entire committee, including Wes Rist of the ASIL and Renee Dopplick of the ABA, for organizing this event.
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10 May 2017

Hopeful Despite Challenging Times: Students gather at the U.S. Department of State and PAHO for Annual Global Classrooms DC Model UN Conference



On May 2, 2017 UNA-NCA had the pleasure of welcoming nearly 700 students, educators, parents, volunteers, and guests to the Global Classrooms DC (GCDC) Annual Spring Model United Nations (UN) Conference, hosted at the U.S. Department of State and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). 


Students from 5th to 12th grade came from nearly 40 schools and groups mainly in the Washington DC metro area, but also as far as Texas. Across eight total middle and high school committees, delegates debated solutions to addressing rising sea levels, access to primary education, human rights of refugees, technology for sustainable cities, and the situation in Somalia. The students discussed these topics as representatives of countries from every corner of the globe through the UN Environment Programme, the African Union, the UN Human Rights Council, a Special Summit of the UN General Assembly, and the UN Security Council.

Donald_T._Bliss
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27 April 2017

Now, More Than Ever, We Need Your Support!


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For more than 70 years, the United Nations has been the cornerstone of a new world order, preventing another catastrophic world war that would no doubt be the last. Longstanding bipartisan support for US leadership at the UN is under challenge in some quarters.

There have been proposals to slash funding, withdraw from UN organizations, and revisit the value of treaty commitments. Funding for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) with its lifesaving programs for women and children has been terminated. The US commitment to the Paris Climate Change Agreement is under attack.

Like any human institution, the United Nations is far from perfect. Highly respected Secretary General António Guterres is fully committed to UN reforms, and US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has stated that she is committed to working with him to achieve a more efficient and effective United Nations. The challenges facing the global community have changed, and the United Nations must change to respond to these challenges.

We at UNA-NCA see this as an opportunity to demonstrate how US leadership at the United Nations will greatly enhance US national security, diplomatic, economic and defense interests. US leadership means fully funding our UN obligations. But this will require public education and strong advocacy.
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