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28 June 2017

UNA-NCA Participates in UNA-USA 2017 Leadership Summit

Over 300 members and supporters from 40 states attended last week’s UNA-USA Leadership Summit, with both leadership and members from the National Capital Area turning out in full force. More than a dozen panels and discussions involving high-ranking UN officials, covered issues ranging, including personal experiences working on submitting local recommendations through the UN commissions; building partnerships for the Global Goals at the local level, and sharing chapter best practices. That was just the first day! Advocacy_Day

One of the panels discussed how to turn the same passion kids learn in Model United Nations into advocating for the UN itself. At the Annual Spring Model UN Conference held at the State Department this year, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson emphasized the same message. He encouraged the students attending the conference to pursue their passion in international relations, and use the skills they acquired in Model UN beyond school. Being able to speak up and advocate for issues young people care about translates into any interest they pursue.
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15 June 2017

2017 Annual Membership Meeting

image_15On June 8 2017, over 100 members and supporters of UNA-NCA met at the United Nations Foundation Headquarters for the 2017 Annual Membership Meeting to celebrate the year’s accomplishments and to recognize its outstanding chapter leaders and volunteers. Keynote speaker Robert Skinner, Director of The United Nations Information Center (UNIC) in Washington, DC, spoke on “Advocating for a Strong US-UN Partnership in Challenging Times.” Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Ret.) presented the 2016-2017 Annual Report, thanked outgoing Board members, and passed the Presidential gavel to incoming President Stephen F. Moseley. Four awards were proudly presented to exceptional chapter leaders, including the first-ever Edison W. Dick Advocacy Leadership Award.
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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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