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30 November 2016

How the United Nations Advances President-Elect Trump's Foreign Policy Change Agenda

By Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Retired); President, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area

Strong US leadership at the United Nations would greatly enhance President-elect Trump’s Foreign Policy Agenda.  Why?

Because US investment in the United Nations is a cost-effective use of taxpayer dollars to serve US military, diplomatic, economic, and national security interests.  For example, UN Peacekeepers are one-eighth the cost of US boots on the ground. And history shows that US leadership is critical to the UN’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Combating terrorism and defeating ISIS and its metastasizing clones is clearly a top priority of the new administration.  Yet, failing and failed states are breeding grounds for terrorism.  Instead of sending US troops to places like Somalia, Lebanon, Mali, South Sudan, or the Congo or asking the US military to engage in nation building, UN Peacekeepers can be employed at much lower cost. That’s why there are currently 125,000 UN Peacekeepers operating in 16 conflict zones on four continents—the world’s largest military deployment.

UN peacekeepers are often undertrained, underequipped, and sometimes have been charged with abuse and negligence, but they are being held accountable and the UN is committed to improving standards of conduct.  With strong US and NATO advisors and support, they can be a very cost-effective, disciplined and accountable force to secure the peace in conflict zones.  And as a permanent member of the Security Council, the US can veto any peacekeeping mission, shape the authorization and mandate, and exercise regular oversight.  Lasting peace can be sustained through the collaborative work of the UN, regional organizations and Member States by mediating disputes and building sustainable democratic institutions under the rule of law.  Nation building should be a collective not unilateral responsibility.  If President-elect Trump wants to strengthen US security and make America safe, this is a very efficient way to do it around the globe.

At any given moment, 30 ships at sea, 70 aircraft in the sky, and 5000 trucks on the ground enable the World Food Program to deliver food, much of it the beneficence of US agricultural productivity, to 90 million people in 80 countries, reducing the threat of instability in failed and failing states.  Reducing chaos, the United Nations provides humanitarian assistance to people devastated by natural or manmade disasters and to 70 million refugees and displaced persons, mitigating the harsh effects of global instability.

US citizens safely travel throughout the world because aircraft and airports adhere to global safety and security standards and pilots effectively communicate with ground controllers in the same language.  UN statistics show that you are safer on a transoceanic flight than you are driving to and from the airport.  The UN vaccinates over half the world’s children reducing the threat of communicable diseases that do not respect sovereign borders.  UN specialized agencies harmonize global standards and ensure cooperative working relationships that advance US national security interests.  Instead of negotiating separately with 193 countries bilaterally, the US can protect our citizens and strengthen our economy most efficiently by establishing global safety and security standards in air travel, enforcing fair and balanced trade agreements, facilitating global telecommunications and postal services, protecting food security, containing pandemics and communicable diseases, forecasting tsunamis and hurricanes, and fighting human trafficking, trade in narcotics, counterfeiting,  and the sale of antiquities to fund terrorist organizations.

The United Nations is only as effective as its Member States enable it to be, especially the permanent five members of the Security Council.  If President-Elect Trump seeks a better working relationship with Russia, the Security Council is a continuing deliberative forum that can facilitate this.  This October, Russia and the United States quickly reached agreement on the next UN Secretary General, António Guterres, the first former head of government to hold that position.  On many issues Russia, China and the US work effectively together as they have, for example, in supporting the Colombian peace agreement with FARC, opposing the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, or imposing sanctions on Iran and North Korea.  Despite the challenging complexities of Syria, Ukraine or Yemen, the UN’s work in resolving dozens of conflicts in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, including Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Haiti, Namibia, and Mozambique, has enhanced global stability while saving US blood and treasure.

Reaching agreement among 193 States, or even the permanent five on the Security Council, is rarely easy, but effective US engagement can shape an agenda consistent with US interests and values.  We can support friends like Israel and defeat the agendas of hostile States.  The US will not prevail on every issue at the UN but when the US is fully engaged and leads through effective diplomacy, its influence is unparalleled, bringing results like safer skies and the eradication of small pox and soon polio.  Supporting the United Nations does not mean that the US succumbs to globalization or world government.  Rather it enables the US to take the lead in shaping and influencing global affairs that directly impact the safety and security of Americans.

The United States is the only country that sends an Ambassador to the UN for Management and Reform.  The US mission at the UN, with the support of allied States that share our commitment,  has worked to streamline the UN bureaucracy, fight corruption, promote accountability and transparency, efficiently manage the budget, and encourage meritorious hiring and promotion. To give two recent examples, audit reports are now made public, and officials have contracts subject to performance reviews.  While progress has been made, more remains to be done. Continuing progress depends upon US leadership.

Advancing national security involves more than fighting fires and crisis response.  Addressing the systemic causes of conflict and terrorism requires collaborative efforts to raise global standards of living and economic opportunity.  In the words of the 2016 Republican Party Platform, “Foreign assistance is a critical tool for advancing America’s security and economic interests by preventing conflicts, building stability, opening markets for private investment, and responding to suffering and need with the compassion that is at the heart of our country’s values.” Over the past fifteen years, under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, extreme poverty was reduced by 50 percent and infant and maternal mortality by 60 percent.  The proportion of girls and boys in elementary school increased from 40 to 85 per cent and deaths from diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB were dramatically reduced.

In September 2015, 193 nations in the UN General Assembly agreed to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which envision private sector-public-civil society partnerships to create jobs and economic progress, eliminate extreme poverty, and promote good governance and the rule of law.  US leadership in implementing these Global Goals will address the underlying causes of conflict, terrorism, and the refugee and migration crises, and serve, in the words of the Republican Party Platform, as a “catalyst for private sector investment to fight corruption, strengthen the rule of law, and create new markets for American goods and services in a competitive global economy.”

Consistent with President-Elect Trump’s statement to the New York Times that he has an “open mind” on climate change, the US should be a leader in shaping the implementation of the Paris climate agreement by encouraging private sector innovation and investment in clean energy alternatives and technologies that would create domestic jobs and markets for US exports.

US dues to the regular UN budget are $621 million annually, and the US pays about $2.4 billion for Peacekeeping, out of a four trillion dollar US budget, less than one-tenth of one percent.  Beyond that, voluntary contributions of dollars and expertise are made to UN programs that serve the US national interest. This is a cost effective use of taxpayer money and consistent with the Republican Party Platform which expressly affirms a “strong commitment to international development and diplomacy,” which is “far less costly both in dollars and in human lives than military engagement.” As has been demonstrated time and again over the past 75 years, when the US leads at the UN, real progress is made, and US national security is advanced.

18 November 2016

Global Classrooms DC Fall Model UN Conference: Work Together for a Better World

On Friday, November 18, 2016, UNA-NCA's Global Classrooms DC (GCDC) Program hosted its Fall Model UN Training Conference and Professional Development Workshop at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Over 190 students from schools in the Washington DC metro area, ranging from 5th to 11th grade, attended to discuss access to primary education. 

luis_is_so_awesome The event began with keynote speaker Una Chapman Cox Fellow, and U.S. Foreign Service Officer  Luis F. Mendez. Luis recently served at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City where he lead a team that conducted analysis and public relations for Mission Mexico's $2.3 billion security assistance program, the Merida Initiative. Luis is with UNA-NCA supporting the GCDC program for the 2016-2017 school year, before he takes on the post of Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of Political Affairs come summer of 2017. 

Luis spoke to the audience about his first Model UN experience, where he froze while giving his opening remarks to the committee. Luis overcame those nerves, however, and went on to win best delegate. 

"I am feeling inspired. Having been a Model UN participant for years, I know what you have to offer the world." - Luis F. Mendez, on his path from Model UN to the U.S. Department of State

Luis goes on to talk about how the difference for many children in achieving their dreams so often is not drive or intelligence, but opportunity. Luis emphasized this with two stories from his travels, one about a student who strived against the odds to have the opportunities, and one who did not. Luis tied their stories to the opportunities the students at the conference were about to experience; encouraging them to think about the opportunities in front of them, and the opportunities that so many other students must fight to achieve.

"When children can’t go to school that not only affects their families’ health, but the health, economy, and security of their countries. In today’s interconnected world, all of that can affect the United States too." - Luis F. Mendez

Luis ended with three central lessons that he learned through Model UN that he has turned to "time and time again" as a diplomat: don't be afraid to fail, listening to all voices matters, and changing the world can't be done alone - you must work with others and make allies to push any agenda. (You can find the full text of Luis' speech here).

The delegates were enthusiastic as the first committee session began. Quickly after opening the speaker's list, delegates eloquently made opening remarks on the positions of their respective countries and ideas for moving forward in the committee. Through moderated and unmoderated caucuses, delegates worked together to build a consensus and tackle the challenge at hand. 
"I learned that preparation is important and it is critical to speak your mind." - 5th Grade Student

After resting and relaxing at lunch, the delegates returned for the afternoon session to continue on the resolutions they had drafted and wanted to present to the committee. Meanwhile, the professional development workshop commenced to help educators effectively implement GCDC and Model UN curriculum in their classrooms and clubs. 

As the afternoon progressed, the students developed seven resolutions, and started the processes of merging them. By the end of the afternoon, two resolutions were presented to the committee for discussion and debate. 

"Today, I learned the importance of teamwork and peaceful cooperation." - 7th Grade Student

In the end, the delegates voted on to pass one of the two resolutions. The dais and Director of Global Education, Megan Penn, then spoke to the students, wrapping up the conference as they transitioned into the closing ceremonies, votingwhere some delegations received honorable mentions for contributions to the committee throughout the day.

As the schools wrapped up, and headed onto the school bus to end a truly extraordinary school day, students shared their thoughts, emotions, and experiences with the staff. One student summed up their lesson with this:

"The world has a lot of problems, but if we work together, we can make a better world." - 8th Grade Student

To find out more about Global Classrooms DC, including opportunities to volunteer and upcoming conferences, click here

Want a unique way to get involved? Support a Delegate and make an impact by providing opportunities for students, the same opportunities, as stated by keynote speaker Luis F. Mendez, that make all the difference.

17 November 2016

What have the UN Sustainable Development Goals to do with Muslim Americans?

Dr. Iqbal Unus, a board member here at UNA-NCA,  has lead an extensive life and career on the evolving Muslim presence in America, gaining distinctive insight into its growth. He's provided the following thoughts on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and what they can do for Muslim Americans. The original blog post can be found here

What have the UN Sustainable Goals to do with Muslim Americans?

A lot that matters.

Such as caring for the neighbor in need, near and far. In today’s global village, the far away neighbor is as near as our newspaper, radio, television or just the social media. And what happens to that neighbor – far away, yet so close – is a matter of concern to us and affects our own welfare.

Whether it is world peace, or hunger and sickness, human beings are interconnected across political boundaries and cultural barriers. Transmission of disease, transfusion of ideas, transportation of commerce, all demand from us the responsibility to act globally even as we busy ourselves with matters of local import.

For over 70 years now the United Nations has been the hope and the channel for those who seek to care for the neighbor far away – in matters of peace, hunger, health, education and a myriad other things. The United Nations Association of National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), a non-profit association of members, volunteers, and supporters in the greater Washington area, dedicated to helping the UN achieve its goals – has worked “to build knowledge, understanding, informed opinion, and new ideas on the United Nations, its specialized agencies, and its relationship with the United States.” UNA-NCA has worked “with foreign policy and political decision makers, schools of all levels, and other organizations in the National Capital Area on such issues as conflict resolution, nuclear non-proliferation, global health, and sustainable development.” It has worked to “build public support for constructive US leadership in a more effective United Nations.”

Advocacy, outreach, education and networking are the four pillars of UNA-NCA’s work with the U.S. Congress, with universities and other non-government organizations, with schools students, and with young professionals. Through a variety of programs, UNA-NCA seeks to help the public at large understand and appreciate the work of the United Nations, and be motivated to act.

One area of focus that demands and deserves our attention is the commitment of the United Nation’s member nations to a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Adopted on September 25, 2015, these 15-year goals present “an unprecedented opportunity to bring the countries and citizens of the world together to embark on a new path to improve the lives of people everywhere, building a better world with no one left behind.”

From ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all across the world, each goal has specific targets to be achieved. And achieved they can be if all – governments, the private sector, civil society and people like us – do their part. Let’s tell everyone about SDGs, not only to widen the circle of those who care, but also to contribute to a sustainable future by taking necessary actions in normal everyday life. Here are some examples of what we can do: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/

A word to the community leaders.

Your leadership is critical in motivating others to care for our neighbors around the world, starting by associating with the UNA-NCA. Please share your thoughts with your community to educate them about the critical need and purpose of the United Nations in today’s world, and encourage them to become members and participants in UNA-NCA.

Your leadership matters.

14 November 2016

You Can Now Buy Historic Book on UNA's History!

On November 1st, UNA-USA and UNA-NCA launched the release of UNA-USA: A Little Known History of Advocacy and Action. The book launch marked and celebrated the legacy of UNA's history, dating back to before the United Nations was even created.
jim_and_dulcie The groundbreaking book, first of it's kind, is now available for purchase. The book details the story of of the creation of the United Nations Association— the decades-long campaign to promote the UN to the US public, the role of Eleanor Roosevelt, the decline of popular support, Track II diplomacy with Iran and the Soviet Union, and much more. The book draws on a wealth of archival material and personal interviews to tell an honest, and long overdue, story of the UNA-USA's persistence, problems, and achievements.

(Lead author Jim Wurst along with editor and contributor on Eleanor Roosevelt chapter, Dulcie Leimbach)

Robert Orr, UN Undersecretary-General and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, said, "This volume not only serves as an authoritative history of an important organization, but also provides important insights into network-based organizing and governance as it is evolving today."

Laurence Peters, Director of UNA-NCA's Graduate Fellows Program, in his review of the book, said, it "shows the way three generations, since the organization's founding, have responded to the particular American challenge of ensuring the UN survives for another 70 years and can effectively fulfill its mission to end the scourge of war."

UNA-NCA has limited copies of the book for sale at the discounted price of $20. If interested, please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call the office at 202.223.6092. un_book_pic

Otherwise, the book is $27.50 and can be found on the publisher's website here.

09 November 2016

Statement of the UNA-NCA President on the U.S. Election

On behalf of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), we extend our congratulations to the President-Elect Donald J. Trump and Vice President-Elect, Mike Pence. In an incredibly close election, reflecting a divided nation, they are the winners of the majority of the Electoral College. The peaceful transition of power, the cornerstone of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy, begins.

As President-Elect Trump and the 115th Congress (with Republican majorities in both the House and Senate) take office, our work at UNA-NCA to increase public understanding of the work and values of the United Nations has never been more important. With an experienced UN official and former head of State António Guterres, as the next UN Secretary-General, there is an opportunity to establish a strong working relationship between the US and the United Nations.

While President-Elect Trump’s views on the United Nations were not fully articulated during the campaign, his message of change included skepticism of US unilateral intervention in foreign conflicts and the need for fair and just international trade and commerce.  Resolving conflict without direct US military intervention and achieving fair and balanced trade relationships inevitably involves international collaboration and the application of universal standards and norms—a function of the United Nations and other international institutions.  

The Republican Party’s Platform provides that “international assistance is a critical tool for advancing America’s security and economic interests by preventing conflict, building stability, opening markets for private investment, and responding to suffering and need with the compassion that is at the heart of our country’s values.” Espousing a “strong commitment to international development and diplomacy,” the Platform highlights the Millennium Challenge Corporation as “an alternative means of keeping the peace, far less costly both in dollars and in human lives than military engagement.” The Platform embraces “foreign assistance programs and efforts as a catalyst for private sector investment to fight corruption, strengthen the rule of law, and open new markets for American goods and services in a competitive global economy.”

The Platform reflects an ambiguity in the US-UN relationship. It recognizes that “the United States, through the founding of the United Nations and NATO, has participated in a number of international organizations which can, and sometimes do not, serve the cause of peace and prosperity.” It continues to advocate for “long overdue changes,” “full transparency in financial operations,” and against population programs, anti-Israel rhetoric on the Human Rights Council, and certain international agreements.

UNA-NCA agrees that greater efficiency, accountability, and transparency are needed at the United Nations, which is an imperfect but indispensable institution. US leadership has been important in reducing the anti-Israeli treatment in the Human Rights Council and must continue. A better understanding of the provisions in international treaties, such as the Law of the Sea, would demonstrate how ratification would protect US interests.

Whether it is providing humanitarian assistance to the victims of natural and man-made disasters, including the 70 million refugees and displaced persons, or providing food to 90 million hungry people in 80 countries, or ensuring the safety and security of international air travel, the UN serves the US national security interest in countless ways.

125,000 UN Peacekeepers in 16 conflict zones on four continents work to maintain peace and security in failed or failing states—which are breeding grounds for non-state terrorism. At one-eighth the cost of US boots on the ground, UN blue helmets are a cost effective alternative to sending US troops to places like Somalia, Lebanon, or the Golan Heights. Yet UN Peacekeepers must be better equipped and trained and held accountable for abuses and neglect. And the capacity of the UN to prevent conflicts and build the institutions that sustain the peace must be strengthened. These actions are in our national security interest and consistent with the agenda of change advocated by the President-Elect.

With strong US support, the United Nations, working with regional organizations like NATO, the African Union, the OAS, and ASEAN, can serve our national security interests more effectively than unilateral action. But this will require redirecting US foreign policy to work much more collaboratively to prevent and resolve conflicts, to maintain and build peaceful institutions, to supplement crisis response with long term strategies and planning, and to seek global agreement on the challenges of the 21st century.  

For, as the President-Elect made clear during the campaign, many of the issues facing the nation are truly global in nature. There is no dividing line between domestic and foreign policy. Job creation and economic growth, the strengthening of the middle class and creating ladders of economic opportunity for the poor in an age of growing income inequality can be achieved effectively only in the context of an interconnected global economy. Pandemics like Ebola and other communicable diseases like Zika, illegal immigration, nuclear proliferation, trade imbalance and fairness, cybersecurity, rising sea levels attributable to climate change, and the threat of terrorism can be addressed only through global negotiation and collaboration. The United States cannot solve these problems alone.

The President-Elect has advocated change in the foreign policy that has seen the United States bogged down in seemingly endless wars. For a foreign policy establishment schooled in the cold war, this will require unprecedented restraint: repairing our moral authority at home instead of seeking to impose our form of democracy globally, limiting military interventions to situations that are indisputably in the national interest, resisting the temptation to mediate every dispute, and avoiding the slippery slope sliding back into the cold war despite Russian and Chinese aggression.

This does not mean sitting on our hands while conflicts proliferate, crimes against humanity cause unconscionable suffering, and failed states become breeding grounds for non-state terrorism. It means strengthening, empowering and working through international institutions like the United Nations and regional organizations to resolve conflicts, maintain peace and security, promote sustainable economic development, and advocate for human rights based on universal norms. The United Nations is only as effective as the member states, and especially the permanent five members of the Security Council, enable it to be by funding it, empowering it, and holding it accountable. But when it is enabled, the UN speaks with the weight of the world community behind it. And members states listen, not always right away but eventuality and inevitably.

As the transition to the next Administration and Congress proceeds, there is an opportunity to demonstrate that a stronger, more efficient and effective United Nations can serve the US national interest. The United Nations can be much more than an ideological debating society or crisis response mechanism. This past year, the adoption of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development demonstrates how the UN can establish the architecture that enables member states to address the symptoms that underlie conflict and breed non-state terrorism. The Global Goals envision a strong partnership with the private sector and strengthening the rule of law, fully consistent with the statements of the Republican Party’s Platform on development assistance. And while it will require openness to science and natural evidence, the Paris Climate Change Agreement has also enabled States to work collaboratively with the private sector to reduce the threats to the planet.

Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Retired)
United Nations Association of the National Capital Area

09 November 2016

What's In a Story?

by Heather Hill, Co-Chair, Human Rights Committee

Last week, members and friends of the UNA-NCA celebrated an incredible legacy together at the book launching of UNA-USA: A Little Known History of Advocacy and Action."

The UNA-USA and its predecessor, the American Association for the United Nations, have been around since before the actual birth of the United Nations itself. Members and leaders over the years have made remarkable contributions to humankind through their input into and advocacy for the UN Charter and subsequent global policies and recommendations. They have also actively taken on issues of great consequence to the world today, tackling issues of human rights, of environmental accountability, of education and access and health.

UNA-USA: A Little Known History of Advocacy and Action documents this outstanding legacy with pieces from previously unpublished letters, documents, images, and interviews. This project was initiated and directed by former UNA-USA President and CEO, Edward Elmendorf. James Wurst, a UN journalist and analyst of much renown, took the lead on writing, in collaboration with Dulcie Leimbach of Pass-Blue, who joined the project as editor and fellow researcher. The Tuesday night event included a reception, book signing, remarks from all the contributors as well as current UNA-USA Executive Director Chris Whatley and UNA-NCA President, former US Ambassador Donald Bliss, and a panel discussion and question time with the audience.

"It's remarkable, the influence that individuals [in UNA-USA] had with almost no recognition," Wurst commented in his remarks. And indeed, the pages of the book teem with stories of tireless advocacy, wearying travel, and little reward beyond the personal satisfaction that UNA-USA members and leaders over the years found in their mission and their efforts. In fact, it is notable that at the beginning, the UNA-USA executive director had a number of meetings with President Roosevelt, working closely with him towards the creation of what became the United Nations.

One of the most wonderful aspects of the event was the clear understanding that this book will not be the "Complete" history of UNA-USA, but rather, an incredibly inspiring collection of stories leading up to these past few years. Already, there are more stories to be written and more currently unfolding as the chapters of UNA-USA are alive across the States and UNA's in different countries - span across the world. It was inspiring, not only to hear some of the stories from history at this event, which I promptly dived into, but to know that the room was full of people who are continuing this history. A UNA-USA history at Seton Hall University will enrich the history further with UNA-USA documents and transcriptions of interviews undertaken for the book. Further oral history contributions are planned. 

"You know it. You lived it. You made it happen. - This is your history," Wurst stated, and he is right. The book is surprising, fascinating, and deeply inspiring--and the time is still ours. UNA-USA is the story of absolutely ordinary people doing extraordinary things together. That's inspiring in itself, and that is why I am proud to be a member, proud to belong to such an auspicious group of dedicated civilians and public servants, and proud to be part of the legacy--the ongoing history--outlined in the book.



03 November 2016

Support a Global Classrooms DC Delegate!

With the help of over 70 volunteers from local universities and organizations, this past year Global Classrooms DC (GCDC) is seeing tangible benefits in our communities, particularly a rise in global consciousness among students in the DC Metro Area. The efforts by educators and students culminated in our Annual Spring Model UN Conference at the U.S. Department of State and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), where students had the opportunity to discuss complex global issues. Read more about the GCDC program in the 2015-2016 GCDC Annual Report.

Moving forward, we want to continue offering the next generation the skills needed to better navigate an increasingly complex and interdependent world. As a result, we are welcoming new staff and initiatives for the upcoming year.

Curriculum for 2016-2017

Students will discuss and learn about important international issues including access to primary education, rising sea levels (climate change), human rights of refugees, technology for sustainable city development, the situation in Somalia, and preventing violent extremism. Our annual Model UN conference at the U.S. Department of State will take place on May 2, 2017.

Luis F. Mendez

GCDC welcomes Luis F. Mendez, Una Chapman Cox Fellow, and U.S. Foreign Service Officer, to our team for the 2016 – 2017 school year. Luis recently served at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, and has overseas experience in Senegal, Morocco, and Ghana. During the school year, Luis will be discussing the importance of Model United Nations and serving as a mentor to selected schools, sharing his experience as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, and professional mentoring for students interested in pursuing similar careers.

GCDC: Support-a-Delegate

Last year, 43% of our students attended Title 1 schools in Washington DC, coming from low-income families and qualifying for reduced-lunch programs. We understand that individuals and organizations are stretched for resources and that learning extends outside of the classroom. These opportunities, including Model UN Conferences, are provided through GCDC to public and public charter school students in the DC area for little to no cost

Through our new initiative, Support a Delegate, new and loyal donors of GCDC can continue supporting students, educators, and classrooms in the DC Metro Area. Donation levels start at $20, and each donation through the Support a Delegate program receives a unique acknowledgement, including handwritten letters from students and educators, social media recognition, and invitations to our Model UN Conferences and other program activities.

Support a Student

For only $75 you can cover the cost of a student’s delegate fee for our Annual Spring Model UN Conference at the U.S. Department of State on May 2, 2017. This conference gives students the opportunity to discuss current international issues as a UN delegate, interact with over 500 students from different schools in the US and abroad, and strengthen their speaking, writing, and conflict resolution skills through Model UN.

How can I donate?

Every donation helps and is incredibly appreciated. Your support provides students unique opportunities to gain knowledge from experienced practitioners, and attend programs designed to strengthen key skills and test their knowledge of international affairs. You can donate online through Razoo or send a check made out to the "United Nations Association of the National Capital Area" or "UNA-NCA" Memo: GCDC Support a Delegate.

How can I volunteer?

We are always looking for volunteers to serve as Model UN Mentors, Classroom speakers, or support us at our Model UN Conferences. For more information please contact GCDC at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 202.223.6092

We look forward to the upcoming year, and all of the new initiatives happening at GCDC.

02 November 2016

Fall 2016 Young Professionals’ Career Dinner Series

On Saturday, October 22, 2016, UNA-NCA invited students and young professionals to participate in its semi-annual Young Professional Career Dinner series.


This signature event is held every spring and fall and is an opportunity for young people to discuss global career paths and network with experienced professionals in their fields of interest. The Fall 2016 Dinner Series kicked off with a networking reception at the United Nations Foundation, where around 80 participants and speakers had the chance to meet and swap business cards. Paula Boland, Executive Director of UNA-NCA and Jessica Mueller, UNA-NCA’s Vice President of Young Professionals welcomed guests to the evening’s event, before turning over the stage to our keynote speaker, Ty Cobb, who is the Founder Director of HRC Global at the Human Rights Campaign.


Ty Cobb came to Washington D.C. as a kid from Texas with nothing guaranteed. He found himself as an intern at UNA. While in DC, he took jobs he didn’t want, did jobs that he didn’t want, and made himself available whenever possible. He joined the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) after serving as counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee of the U.S. Senate, where he worked toward passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009. Ty then served as senior legislative counsel at HRC. In this role, he focused on federal advocacy related to a portfolio of issues including the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and passage of a LGBTQ-inclusive Violence Against Women Act. 


This season’s dinners focused on Careers in International Law, Careers in International Service, Careers in International Education, Careers in Public Health, Careers in International Journalism and Communications, Humanitarian Careers and Women in Entrepreneurship and Leadership. Several of these dinners were hosted in private homes around the DC Metro Area – including one in Maryland and one in Northern Virginia – while others were held at the United Nations Foundation. Professional speakers in each of these topics offered career advice and guidance, and shared personal stories of experience in their particular fields. Attendees were encouraged to ask specific or general questions about the field, and engage in conversation in a uniquely intimate and comfortable setting.

Did you join us on Saturday night? See if you can spot and tag yourself in our photo album!

Thank you to the United Nations Foundation for the use of its facilities, UNA-USA staff for their logistical support, our distinguished speakers for their expertise, the evening’s hosts and sponsors, including Windows Catering, and UNA-NCA’s Young Professionals Committee and volunteers.

The Young Professionals Career Dinners are hosted semi-annually: in the spring and fall of each year. We hope you’ll join us for the Spring 2017 edition!

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