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28 July 2020

Final Coffee Chat of the Summer!

UNA-NCA Coffee Chat: Youth at the Forefront of Change


Join us on Tuesday, July 28 from 1:00-2:00pm EST for the final Coffee Chat of the summer! 

UNA-NCA Coffee Chats have successfully brought together global, national, and local leadership- as well as hundreds of UN advocates across the country- through this series of dynamic and engaging discussions, all centered on the Sustainable Development Goals. 
Our upcoming series installment will explore the critical role that youth advocates and leaders play in driving change at all levels, analyze the challenges that lay ahead, and most importantly- how we keep the spirit of hope alive.


Jay'Len Boone
8th United States Youth Observer to the UN
Jay'Len Boone is the founder and executive director of Sustainable Youth in Action, a nonprofit organization that trains and equips students with opportunities and tools to help turn their ideas into sustainable solutions for global issues, such as extreme poverty and climate change. He is a Global Citizen Curtis Scholar, Cultural Vistas Fellow, and a winner of the 2016 Gates Millennium Scholarship. His desire to combat global challenges and help underserved populations has taken him across the globe, on the ground with communities in Hong Kong, South Africa, and Japan. The most critical role of the Youth Observer is to engage young Americans in the work of the UN, empowering them to be active participants to foster a greater global impact.

Thomas Liu
Executive Director, Global Innovation Challenge at William & Mary (WMGIC)
Thomas (Huan-Cheng) Liu is a Gates Scholar and a junior at William & Mary double majoring in Government and Business Analytics (Data Science) with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. On-campus, Thomas is the Executive Director for the Global Innovation Challenge (WMGIC), a premier international and sustainable development case competition, and he also serves as the official student voice on the school-wide Committee for Sustainability. Thomas is passionate about Sustainable Development and aspires to work in the field of Global Development Finance and or Development Consulting.

Nursena Oktem
UNA-NCA Student Representative, Board of Directors

Nursena Oktem was born and raised in Turkey. In her time there, she volunteered for Syrian refugees and witnessed refugee oppression firsthand, which initiated her interest in social change and advocacy. After she finished her sophomore year in law school, she and her family decided to leave the country due to increasing political tensions. When she arrived in the United States, she started from scratch. After finishing two years in Community College as an honor student, she transferred to Georgetown University. Her strong interest and multiple experiences working with displaced communities enabled her to assume the director position in the Leadup Greece Project, where she and her team aim to support refugees in Greece through fundraising events and online English classes. She is also a part of a mentorship program, Core-Es Education, where she guides senior high school students academically and morally. She is currently a rising senior, majoring in Government and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies.

Marco Fabian Sanchez
Youth Engagement and Advocacy Coordinator, UNA-USA
Connecting American youth with the work of the United Nations is the core of Marco Fabian Sanchez’s work as the Youth Engagement & Advocacy Coordinator for the United Nations Association of the USA. In his current role, Marco helps to build grassroots support for the United Nations in the U.S. by empowering UNA-USA’s national network of advocates to take action. Marco also helps to manage UNA-USA’s advocacy priorities by connecting UN advocates with their Members of Congress and working with Better World Campaign to help UNA-USA members build strategic relationships on Capitol Hill. Throughout his academic career at California State University, Fullerton, Marco was a former UNA-USA campus chapter leader, where he helped to lead grassroots advocacy efforts in the Southern California community. In addition to advocacy, Marco has a personal interest in human rights and international economic development given his previous role as a policy consultant for the World Bank Group. Through his experiences in advocacy, organizational development and public leadership, Marco has been able to successfully engage everyday Americans and lawmakers by educating communities about the United Nations, and the importance of a strong U.S.-UN partnership.

Megan Schleicher
Senior Associate, Policy & Communications at Alliance for Peacebuilding
Megan is the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP)’s Senior Associate for Policy and Communications. Megan is leading AfP’s work on the Youth, Peace, and Security (YPS) Act, conflict sensitivity, and locally-led peacebuilding. She also works on AfP policy initiatives such as the Global Fragility Act (GFA) and the integration of peacebuilding and conflict sensitivity into programming and budgets. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2016 with a double degree in International Business and Anthropology. She then graduated from George Washington University in 2018 with a master’s degree in International Affairs, and concentrations in conflict resolution and international development.

Register here

Coffee Chats will return this September- contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for the latest updates on all things Advocacy. 

24 July 2020

Careers in the United Nations

Have you ever thought about working for the United Nations or one of its agencies?  In partnership with The Fund For American Studies, UNA-NCA is proud to present a panel discussion on Careers in the United Nations.  The panel will feature speakers from two different UN Agencies and the UN Association of the USA sharing their experience and insider's perspective of not only working for the United Nations, but also working towards the UN goals from the grassroots.

Friday, July 24th from 4:00 to 5:00pm

Where: Zoom Webinar
Cost: $5 for members and students; $15 for non-members

Panel Featuring:


Laura Blyler (Moderator), Vice Chair of Young Professionals, UNA-NCA
Farah Eck, Senior Director, UN Association of the USA

Sarah Jackson-Han
, Adviser for Communications, Partnerships, & Policy, UN Development Programme

Kristi Pelzel, UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program Alumna

Stefania Piffanelli
, Deputy Director, UN Information Center-Washington



16 July 2020

Coffee Chat with UNDP, IFAD, Bread for the City and more!

UNA-NCA Coffee Chat: Food Insecurity & SDG 1: No Poverty

Join us on Thursday, July 16 from 1:00-2:00pm for our collaboration with leading experts in sustainable development. 
UNA-NCA will be joined by leadership from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Bread for the City, and more. 

We'll explore the scope of stakeholder work related to food security and poverty alleviation while offering critical insights into the impact of COVID-19 on poverty and development. 


George Jones
Chief Executive Officer, Bread for the City

Yesim Oruc
Deputy Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Rafael Tapia Jr. 
Vice President of Programs, Partnership with Native Americans (PWNA)

Joanna Veltri
Chief, Americas Liaison Office at International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Register hereStay tuned for updates about our speakers and partner organizations.


Enjoying our Coffee Chat series? You can find highlights from our latest sessions below.

07 July 2020

The UN’s Impact in The Middle East: Perspectives from Young Leaders


Join us
on Tuesday, July 7 from 12:00-1:30pm for an exploration of the United Nations’ role in peacebuilding in and around the Middle East by providing the perspectives of Israeli and Palestinian youth who have first-hand experience with the UN’s work.

UNA-NCA will be joined by the New Story Leadership (NSL), a Washington, D.C. based non-profit that brings Israeli and Palestinian youth leaders to Washington, DC every summer for leadership, community service, business development, and narrative training.

John Callaghan
Co-founder of New Story Leadership and alumn of the Washington Ireland Program

Tom Bradley 
Moderator, UNA-NCA Vice Chair of Programs

Mahmoud A.
Co-founder of Leaves of Canaan

Meshi C.
BA student at Ben-Gurion University

Doron G.
Project manager for regional cooperation at Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

Tareq J.
Active member, project manager, and facilitator of Encompass Trust

Register Here!

01 July 2020

Sextortion Forum


Register Here

How acute is the Sextortion issue?  What must we do to counter Sextortion?

Sex + Corruption = Sextortion          

The abuse of power to obtain sexual favors – specific demands by men in power of sex in return for, for example, obtaining a job, getting a passing college grade, ensuring safe passage as a migrating refugee, obtaining vital official documents.   What all the victims have in common is that they are in situations where they have few means to secure legal, or community support and recourse – making them all the more vulnerable.    

Please join outstanding experts from Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States in a 90-minute conversation on one of the worst forms of corruption. 

Guest experts include:

Francisca Chinelo Ekwonu, founder of “New Girl On Campus (NGOC), ” official at the Centre for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics (CSAAE), Lagos, Nigeria.

Dr. Ortrun Merkle, United Nations University-MERIT

Nancy Hendry International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ), Washington DC  – a leading authority and writer on the challenges of sextortion. 

Marie Chêne, Transparency International, Berlin, Research Director – TI recently published: Breaking the Silence around Sextortion: The Links between Power, Sex and Corruption

Oluwaseun Ayodeji OsowobiExecutive Director, Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER), Lagos, Nigeria.

Dena Shayne, Equal Justce Works Crime Victims Just Corps Fellow, Amara Legal Center

Register Here

24 June 2020

2020 UNA-NCA Annual Meeting

Register today!

Date: June 24th, 2020
Time: 4:00-5:30pm
Location: Virtual
Cost: Free; Suggested donation of $30.  Registration is required.

Join UNA-NCA on June 24 for this year's Annual Meeting to learn more about our recent accomplishments and continued work. The program also includes the presentation of the 2019-2020 Annual Reports and Board election results.

The program will feature an intergenerational conversation on the State of Human Rights at Home and Globally with:

Loyce Pace, UNA-NCA Board Member and Global Health Council President and Executive Director 

Tonia Wellons, Greater Washington Community Foundation President

George Jones, Bread for the City President and Chief Executive Officer 

Oona Nelson, Howard University Student and UNA-USA National Council Representative

Suggested donations are welcome online and via check sent to the UNA-NCA office at 2000 P Street NW, Suite 540, Washington, DC 200036

18 June 2020

Coffee Chat with UNHCR, IOM and More

UNA-NCA Coffee Chat: Refugee & Migrant Rights

Honoring World Refugee Day & Exploring SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

Join us on Thursday, June 18 from 1:00-2:00pm for our exploration of the landscape of migration, asylum & resettlement in an age of unprecedented challenges- from political opposition to the global pandemic. 
UNA-NCA will be joined by leadership from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), Ayuda, and more. 

Luca Dall'Oglio
DC Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Ronnate Asirwatham
Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)

Jana Mason
Senior Advisor, External Relations & Government Affairs, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Beatriz Ortiz 
Staff Attorney, DC Immigration, Ayuda

Mamadou Sy

Vice President of Operations, Lutheran Social Services (LSS)


What are our shared goals and challenges? Register now

Stay tuned for speaker updates.  

16 June 2020

Young Professionals Career Session: Nuclear Career Chat with Foreign Affairs Specialist Victoria Sanchez

Date: June 16, 2020
Time: 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Location: Virtual
Cost: Free for Members and Students; $5 for Non-Members

Register here!

Join us for a career conversation with Victoria Sanchez, Foreign Affairs Officer with the U.S. Department of State. Victoria will share insights from her current role and how she got her start through the National Nuclear Security Administration Graduate Fellowship. Victoria will also speak about pursuing a career in federal service and provide career advice for students and young professionals.


Jordan Hibbs, UNA-NCA Board of Directors (Facilitator)

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