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24 October 2017

2017 UN Day Celebration Through Advocacy on Capitol Hill

On October 24th and 25th, a UNA-NCA delegation of board members, past presidents, staff, interns, and volunteers advocated on Capitol Hill in celebration of the 72nd Anniversary of the United Nations. Serving Northern Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. the UNA-NCA delegation met with Representatives, Senators, and their staffs from those districts, speaking in regards to strengthening the U.S.-UN partnerships, the UN budget, and UN reform.

Speaking with Congressman Donald Beyer’s (D-VA-8) office, they emphasized the critical impact that group advocacy has on the positive influence of the UN. As a medical doctor, Congressman Andy Harris’ (R-MD-1) office shared with UNA-NCA their focus on global health issues and the affect it has on the international community. Congressman Harris has a strong background in the medical field and serves on the Doctors Caucus.
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18 October 2017

Stand Up For U.S. Support of UNESCO

United States full engagement in UNESCO is essential for world progress in Science, Education, and Cultural Heritage.  Unfortunately, this past week President Trump, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson announced that the US will withdraw from its membership in UNESCO on December 31st, 2018.
Ambassador Haley stated their criticism of UNESCO's historic preservation designation and purported labeling of the City of Hebron and its historic religious monuments as being "Palestinian", and therefore an insult to Israel.  Yet "Palestine" was listed in parentheses at the end of the designation, simply as the place of the Site, not intending to indicate the monument was Palestinian. The sites in fact are fully recognized by UNESCO as being monuments of great significance throughout history to Jews, Christians and Muslim alike
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11 October 2017

UNA-NCA in the Spotlight!

UNA-NCA has recently been awarded with the following grants in recognition and support of its work:

  • The UN Federal Credit Unit awarded $1,000 for wining its Summer Membership Challenge encouraging members to take advantage of the unique benefits only available from a credit union that serves the UN community. Join UNFCU if you have not already!
  • UNA-USA awarded $750 as part of the Stand Up for Human Rights Campaign. Special appreciation to our Human Rights Committee leadership for working on the event proposal.  Learn more about the campaign here!   
  • The Rotary Foundation of Washington DC awarded UNA-NCA a $4,300 grant to enhance the professional development opportunities offered by its signature program Global Classrooms DC.


  • UNA-NCA’s DC for CEDAW Committee is partnering with the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law Legislation Clinic to conduct research about the gender audit process and D.C. government operations and to implement an advocacy plan with supporting local organizations. Learn more about the Cities for CEDAW initiative
  • UNA-NCA is partnering with the Better World Campaign/UNA-USA to develop and pilot brand new curriculum for the UNA-USA Model UN app on the refugee crises in Syria and Yemen to be launched later this month. Stay tuned!   
  • UNA-NCA is partnering with the Culturfied Foundation, a Washington, DC not for profit organization dedicated to fostering cross-cultural understanding by promoting the richness, variety, and originality of every culture through arts, education, and special events. Our work together will add a cultural component to the Global Classrooms DC Model UN curriculum and build cultural competence.

04 October 2017

UN Peace & Security Secretariat Reforms: An Important Step Forward?

By Richard Ponzio
Co-Chair, UNA-NCA Peace & Security Committee

September 22, 2017

With world leaders converging on New York this past week for the annual “UNGA” jamboree – including Monday’s high-level meeting on UN reform presided over by U.S. President Trump – even seasoned practitioners and analysts within our community may have missed Secretary-General António Guterres’ public announcement of his much-anticipated reform proposals under the heading “Restructuring of the Peace and Security Pillar” (See below).  Representing potentially far-reaching improvements in how the United Nations delivers on serving the needs and aspirations of billions of people for a more peaceful and just world, it is important that peacebuilders everywhere raise awareness, debate, question, and lend their support and additional ideas to key aspects of this innovation and modernization agenda.
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27 September 2017

Looking for a Solution to the North Korean Nuclear Threat

On September 20th in the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building, the UNA-NCA and its International Law Committee held a lively and very topical panel discussion on the threat posed by North Korean nuclear weapons and weapon delivery vehicles, North Korea's international behavior and objectives, UN sanctions, suggestions for U.S. policy, and possible future outcomes.

The speakers were Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr. (retired), a U.S. diplomat who has participated at a senior level in every major arms control and non-proliferation negotiation in which the United States took part from 1970 to 1997, and Missy Ryan, National Security Reporter, The Washington Post, who happens to be Ambassador Graham’s daughter. After an introduction by Bob Kraft, Co- Chair of the International Law Committee, the panel discussion was ably moderated by Renee Dopplick, NCA Board member and the new Co-Chair of the Committee.

Speaking from the perspective of a longstanding observer of North Korea(DPRK) and participant in US nuclear non-proliferation policymaking, Ambassador Graham recounted the decades of past efforts to address North Korea’s nuclear program and worried that this may be a challenge without a solution. Having performed at least six nuclear tests, fired a intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan, and threatened the US territory of Guam, North Korea has escalated tensions to unprecedented levels. Since September 20th, as Kim Jong Un and President Trump have exchanged insults and threats, drawing global media coverage, North Korea has announced plans to explode a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific, stated that the US has declared war on the DPRK, and threatened to shoot down US aircraft in international air space. What is different about the situation today, according to Ambassador Graham, is that North Korea is very close to, and may even actually have, the capability to carry out a nuclear attack on the US mainland.
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20 September 2017

Progress on United Nations Reform

The Trump Administration’s proposed withdrawal from international obligations such as the Paris Climate Change Agreement and its proposed budget cuts to the United Nations, foreign assistance and diplomacy (largely rejected by Congress) would not seem to bode well for continuing US leadership at the United Nations. But with challenges come opportunities. One such opportunity comes with a convergence of UN reform agendas being advanced by the new Secretary General, the President and the US Congress. Any viable institution must constantly reinvent itself  to adapt to fast-changing geopolitics, demographics and technology. The UN is no exception. The world today is far different from that of 1945. Calls for reform are a compelling confirmation of the essential role the UN must play in our increasingly interconnected global community.

Because a more efficient and effective United Nations will be a stronger force for peace, UNA-NCA supports important reform initiatives. History teaches that US leadership is critical in achieving these reforms. And despite the occasionally discordant and harsh rhetoric coming from the Administration, progress is being made. Of course, meeting our funding obligations and generously supporting the UN’s humanitarian and human rights initiatives strengthens US leadership and leverage. See Status of FY2018 Appropriations.
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20 September 2017

UNA-NCA President Statement on 2018 Budget

By UNA-NCA President, Stephen F. Moseley

September 19th, the 2017 UN General Assembly opens for a month of careful analysis and debate to improve the world, in the face of a world fraught with dramatic and dangerous challenges from the threat of nuclear war or miscalculations, the acts of genocide in Myanmar, the wars ongoing in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, a still burgeoning refugee crisis, attendant famine threats from war and climate change, and more threats to democratic processes by military dictatorships, such as Venezuela. There are more growing terrorist threats than ever, now internal to many countries, including in London, Barcelona, and elsewhere this past month. The importance of the mission and roles of the United Nations is more evident than ever. Yet only six months ago, the new Trump Administration presented its first budget for 2018 proposing to slash the US support to the UN on average by more than 30%, including 50% cuts to humanitarian and refugee assistance, 25% cuts to peacekeeping, and the reduction to zero of the funds for many of the UN's program agency for development, women rights, food supply, children's health, disease prevention, and many more. Five months ago, President Trump also pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Change accords, which only two years ago was hailed by nearly all world leaders and billions of world citizens for being the greatest modern international agreement for the well being of the world's future. With these agreements, 17 additional countries agreed upon Sustainable Development Goals for all countries to achieve together from 2015 to 2030.
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14 September 2017

UNA-NCA Policy Review Paper on Peacekeeping Reform


Reform of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Would Serve Important US National Security Interests 

In her first opportunity to chair the Security Council last April, Ambassador Nikki Haley made UN Peacekeeping operations a top priority on the Council’s agenda.  Her objective was to consider “how the UN’s most powerful tool to promote international peace and security” can be made more “effective” and “efficient.” She set forth four reform priorities: Support for political solutions, host country cooperation, realistic and achievable mandates, and an exit strategy. 

The UN Secretary General shares a commitment to UN Reform.  Secretary General António Guterres has stressed “accountability and transparency,” better integration and coordination among UN entities, upgrading the governing structures and Member State oversight, and delegating operational authority to the field. Ambassador Haley has pledged full support for the Secretary General’s “bold strategy” to “advance organizational reforms.”

On the issue of sexual exploitation and human rights violations by peacekeepers, the Secretary General has called for a September 18th Circle of Leadership requesting heads of state or governments to sign a Compact agreeing to certify that citizens who serve the UN “have not committed, or alleged to have committed, criminal offenses, including of a sexual nature, and/or violations of human rights law or international humanitarian law.” The Compact further provides for credible international investigations of both military and civilian personnel charged with such violations.
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