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18 May 2020

Bylaws Amendments and Revisions for Membership Approval

Late last year (2019), UNA-NCA’s Board of Directors appointed a Bylaws Task Force to review the organization’s Bylaws and provide recommendations to ensure one of the organization’s governing documents reflected current and best practices (the Bylaws were last amended in June 2015). The review was also necessitated by a desire to update position descriptions and titles of the President and Executive Director to better reflect their roles, as well as reflect practices of similar organizations. In addition, UNA-USA had recommended several changes as part of their chapter review that required updating. UNA-NCA’s Board of Directors reviewed several iterations of the Bylaws revisions, providing feedback and recommendations throughout the process, and strongly endorses the amendments before you.

Attached you will find revisions to UNA-NCA’s Bylaws, which must be submitted to the organization’s membership in good standing for approval by a two-thirds majority vote. The remainder of this memo serves to outline and frame the key amendments and revisions to the Bylaws for your review. Please refer to the attached Bylaws to view the full set of proposed changes (proposed changes are indicated in redline in the attached).

Please note that the changes detailed below address significant changes to the Bylaws. They do not address changes resulting from minor copy edits, formatting, use of “may” versus “shall” (we deferred to Bylaws chair’s recommendations), or various title changes for consistency and as a direct result of the shift from “Executive Director” to “President” and “President” to “Chair” and “Vice Presidents” to “Vice Chairs” (of which there are many instances).

As noted above, the changes in the Bylaws are focused around three main points:

  • Titles of Board Officers and Directors:
    • Updated position descriptions and titles of the President and the
      • Executive Director of UNA-NCA now reflect their respective responsibilities and duties (Article V: Officers, Executive Committee, and President, 1. and 7.).
      • It should be noted that the title change is intended to better reflect significant growth in leadership responsibility of the Executive Director over the years since the Bylaws were last reviewed in 2015 (for example, under the previous Bylaws, the Executive Director has served on the UNA-USA National Council rather than the President as stated) and to reflect the increase in pattern of similar nonprofit organizations using the title of President for Executive Directors.
    • The new descriptions are drawn from the best practices of Board Source, a respected advisory group for nonprofits.
    • The other title changes of UNA-NCA officers who are Vice Presidents are also therefore changed to become Vice-Chairs of the Board for each of their current respective areas of responsibilities; otherwise, this is not a substantive change and reflects no changes in responsibilities (Article V: Officers, Executive Committee, and President, 4.).
    • These title changes have been substituted wherever needed and throughout the various sections of the Bylaws to ensure consistent use of titles (throughout).

  • Agreement with the UNA-USA Chapter Affiliation Guidelines, to include:
    • Inclusion of non-dues paying members who are 25 years of age or younger to the membership category (Article III: Membership and Institutional Sponsorship).
    • Process for voluntary and involuntary removal from elected office (Article V: Officers, Executive Committee, and President, 6.).
    • Annual Chapter report submission required by March 1 of each year (Article V: Officers, Executive Committee, and President, 11.)
    • Removal of stand-alone clause around annual IRS 990 reporting (Article XIV: Finances and Fiscal Administration, 6.); subsumed into Article XIV: Finances and Fiscal Administration, 2.c.
    • Process concerning voluntary and involuntary chapter dissolution (Article XIV: Finances and Fiscal Administration, 7. and Article XVII: Chapter Dissolution).
    • It should be noted that all of these changes or additions are already reflected in UNA-NCA’s current practices and the language is being updated now to reflect those realities.

  • General Updates to Align with Best Practice in Board Governance:
    • Amendments to the language and powers of the Governance Committee to reflect current practice. For example, a separate Nominating Committee is appointed to manage board recruitment (Article X: Nominating Committee).
    • Added language codifies the Board’s practice of a Human Resources Task Force, which carries out the performance review of the President and addresses compensation and benefits for UNA-NCA’s employees, under the Governance Committee (Article IX: Governance Committee, 4.).

It is the Board’s opinion that the changes highlighted above and redlined in the attached document, reflect the current reality of day-to-day processes, bring the organization into alignment with best practice and current nonprofit trends, as well as UNA-USA requirements, and ensure compliance with legal regulations. Therefore, the Board requests that membership vote in favor of the revisions.

11 May 2020

UNA-NCA Welcomes New Global Education Director

UNA-NCA wishes the best to Global Education Director Nicole Bohannon, and welcomes Jaiya Lalla as Global Education Managing Director

After more than 3 years at UNA-NCA, our Global Education Director Nicole Bohannon will be moving on to pursue a graduate degree in the UK. Nicole's last day in the office will be June 5, 2020. 

During her time at the UN Association, Nicole has vastly enhanced our signature education program Global Classrooms DC (GCDC). During her leadership, the program has brought in new audiences, partners, and program offerings, as well as creating a more sustainable and well-rounded program. We are sincerely grateful for her contributions.

We are pleased to announce that Jaiya Lalla will be promoted to Global Education Managing Director, effective June 8, 2020. Jaiya brings extensive programming and Model UN experience, including holding previous positions in the U.S. Senate, at the Peace Corps headquarters, the U.S. Department of State, Women’s Watch-China, and the National Endowment for Democracy. She previously served as a GCDC Program Assistant, where she worked to organize the program's Model UN Conferences and to make Global Classroom DC more dynamic. For the past six months, Jaiya has served as the GCDC Deputy Manager, getting full training experience before assuming the director role. 

"I started at GCDC as an intern Program Assistant in the summer of 2015 while I was still a student at GW. I could not have imagined the growth, challenges, and joy that working within the UNA-NCA family has brought me, and I couldn't be more grateful for all of it. I will cherish the memories of students coming to the State Department, ready to debate our amazing topics; of parents and teachers unable to contain their pride and joy seeing their kids excel; of volunteers ready to run their Model UN committees, despite the early start of our conferences; of partners beng just as excited as the GCDC team to highlight critical issues."

"Even through this uncertain time during a pandemic, I know that Jaiya will do a phenomenal job in the Director role. She has learned an enormous amount of skills and information since she started as a Program Assistant in September 2019. I'm proud of her progress, and UNA-NCA is incredibly lucky to have her."

- Nicole Bohannon 


We wish Nicole much luck in her studies and welcome Jaiya in her new role!

You can learn more about our Global Classrooms DC program here.

07 May 2020

Letter of Hope from the President of UNA-NCA

Stephen F. Moseley, UNA-NCA President

Dear UNA-NCA colleagues, supporters, and members,

During this difficult time in the face of the global health pandemic and economic crisis, I want to extend my best wishes to and your families for your health, safety and wellbeing. 

The dedication of our staff and the many volunteer leaders of our programs drawn from our Board of Directors, Advisory Council, membership, and partner organizations, has made it possible to continue and transform most of our programs through the wonderful virtual platforms that have become almost second nature to many of us.  

The year 2020 is an important milestone in UNA-NCA’s ongoing mission of advocating for vigorous U.S. engagement with the United Nations. In recognition of the United Nation’s 75th anniversary, there have been already many outstanding statements of support from citizens, private institutions, and leaders in city, state, and federal government. Over and over again, these individuals and institutions acknowledge that, despite our differences, our well-being as both a nation and as global community rests upon a United States being a committed, patient, and proactive participant in multilateral institutions like the UN. 

Our present circumstances have made the linkages between public health and economic opportunity readily apparent; strengthening both across the world will require mitigating the impacts of global warming, creating pathways towards lasting peace and security, and supporting sustainable development solutions. Moreover, economic disparities and greater risk of disease are too often influenced by historical and continuing discrimination against people of color and migrant populations, in favor of families with historical and multigenerational wealth. As an active participant in multilateral fora, the United States has the ability to broker policies that insure more equal access to goods through fair and open trade, to be a champion of human rights and civil liberties, and to help create new beginnings for the world’s nearly 100 million migrants and displaced people suffering from countless hardships.

Without U.S. leadership, we continue to witness an increase in human rights violations, an inclination towards authoritarian policies, and a disregard for the global commons. Working in collaboration with organizations like the World Bank, The World Health Organization, and related agencies, the United States can recommit itself to the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and begin reversing these trends towards nationalism, division, and retrenchment.

The absence of U.S. leadership was sadly on display this May 4th as the United States failed to attend a virtual gathering of the G-20. The G-20 states used this opportunity to collaborate on addressing the global pandemic as well as pledging their support to a new global fund that will help bolster fragile food systems across Africa depended upon by 250 million people. When questioned as to why the U.S. is not participating in the creation of this new global fund, an unidentified spokesperson for the Trump Administration said it was already doing enough as one of the largest donors to global health and relief programs and therefore would not join with the other G-20 countries. 

UNA-NCA began with a citizens’ movement to found the UN in 1945 and dedicated itself to conducting citizen advocacy around the need for continual and energetic U.S. engagement with the UN, including that the U.S. meet its financial commitments to the new multilateral organization.. During the more recent period of global development, UNA-NCA has been devoted to the long term need for fair and equitable social and economic development; championing these causes through its support for both the Millennial Development Goals and, now, the Sustainable Development Goals.  We can now see that our very survival depends upon achieving these goals together. A lack of U.S. leadership will surely undermine the work of all nations to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in the years ahead, goals that are essential to the prosperity of our children and grandchildren. 

In response to the need for social distancing, UNA-NCA has adapted quickly by devising new programmatic structures that have ensured the continued participation of over 1,200 students from grades 5 to 12 in UNA-NCA’ Global Classrooms DC Model UN Conference, of 25 Graduate Fellows in UNA-NCA’s highly-selective semester-long course dedicated to exploring the UN system, and of the 35% of UNA-NCA members who are young professionals who take part in a variety of UNA-NCA activities such as our Career Dinners, Coffee Chats, and special discussion series in the areas of Peace and Security, Sustainable Development, International Law, Human Rights, and Gender Equity. Another core component of UNA-NCA’s work is advocacy: communicating to both the public and policymakers how U.S. participation accelerates progress in domains such as global health, education, refugee resettlement, respect for human rights, peacekeeping, and sustainable development. 

As a part of the UN’s 75th anniversary, The Secretary General has launched the UN75 consultation process, inviting individuals and organizations alike to submit their opinions and insights into how the UN can further its goals in the decades to come. UNA-NCA members are invited to take part in this consultation process and will find more information as to how they can participate in this week’s UN Express. Once input from around the globe is received, a “plan for action” will be submitted to the Secretary General.

This week we launch UNA-NCA’s spring fund raising appeal, asking UNA-NCA members to donate, whether monthly, annually, or semi-annually, at whatever level they feel most comfortable. These gifts, from more than 250 individual donors, support more than 50% of our programs and operations. We are also most fortunate to receive donations from very generous individuals and family foundations, accounting for about a fourth of our budget. Special bequests, income generated from sponsors of our key open public program events, support another quarter of our programs costs.

Unfortunately, the current pandemic has forced us to cancel or postpone several key fundraising events  since January. For that reason, we are asking that your donations and sponsorships be made by June 30, 2020, to ensure that we maintain adequate funding for our programs and staff. An anonymous generous donor to UNA-NCA has agreed to match, dollar for dollar, up to $500 for each donation made before June 30th, up to a total of $10,000. Another donor has committed $5,000 to match any elected UNA-NCA Board member’s contribution above $500 in 2020.

Please be generous in your support for our programs at this challenging time. 

This global pandemic is shining a light on our global connectedness. UNA-NCA, with your participation and support, will be a champion of both the essential role the UN plays in our global community and the necessity for U.S. leadership within the UN system, including human rights, peacekeeping and peacebuilding , as well as for climate change protection.  

Thank you again for your support and participation in the UNA-NCA – citizen’s organization and movement to keep us globally engaged for everyone’s betterment. 

29 April 2020

First-Ever Cabin John MS Virtual Model UN Conference Proves To Be Successful

The pandemic has changed how Global Classrooms DC functions overnight. Through the disappointment of having to cancel the Spring 2020 Model UN Conference, our team has been working with various schools to support their efforts to continue Model UN.

As an example of how MUN clubs are adapting,  Cabin John Middle School hosted its first-ever online conference on Saturday, April 25. After being inspired by the success of the virtual Alice Deal Model UN Conference (ADMUN) on April 4, a fantastic group of parents from Maryland set out to create their own virtual experience with their students. Although they had never hosted a virtual session before, all of the parents – Audré Park, Shreelata Durbhakula, and Bouchra Araji – took on the challenge of hosting a conference with students from Cabin John, as well as Bells Mill Elementary and Alice Deal Middle School.

All students had been preparing for the GCDC Spring Conference, and had individual assignments for countries and committees they were intending to represent. To make the most of students’ work, Ms. Park, Ms. Durbhakula, and Ms. Araji hosted three Model UN committees based of the GCDC committees meant for April 2020: the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Over the Zoom platform, students from Cabin John Middle School served as the virtual Committee Chairs, running the session as if the students were convening together in person.

For the IOM committee, the student delegates discussed “Protecting Against Forced Migration Due to Conflict”. The group developed a singular resolution that focused on funding “existing and new peacekeeping groups” and utilizing social media to educate more people about migrants.

For the UNEP committee, the delegates had two competing resolutions. The students debated different methods to “Advance Responsible Consumption for Sustainable Growth”. One paper emphasized the use of renewable energy, especially in “[limiting] oil, coal, and natural gas implants; [enforcing] restrictions on the usage of non-renewable resources; [and investing] more money in geothermal and hydroelectric power sources.” The other paper discussed stopping pollution and reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Finally, for the UNDP committee, three resolutions came out of the delegates’ work, all brainstorming ideas on “Promoting Women’s Political Participation”. The first group created a Political Participation Among Women Programme (PPAWP), that will seek to establish an education program that assists women in participating politically. The second group emphasized educating the public on women’s discrimination in the workplace. The final group proposed “creating programs showing younger girls the positions of women in power” to inspire them to leader their own countries.

Over the course of the two and a half hours of committees, the students worked together, despite the inability to convene in person. The event will set the stage for future virtual sessions, within their own schools and outside of them, as well.

20 April 2020

US Leadership in Strengthening Global Institutions Needed Now More than Ever

By Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Ret.)

With the rise of nationalism around the world and the closing of sovereign borders in response to the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) pandemic, global institutions are under attack. News reports and commentators are questioning whether we are reaching the end of the post-world war global architecture created by the United States and its victorious allies to promote peaceful cooperation in resolving conflicts and addressing crises. 

An April 16th Washington Post headline, for example, declares: “Global institutions built for this moment are floundering.”  Ironically, at a time when our greatest challenges-- from pandemics to climate change to a worldwide recession-- are global in nature, it is the United States that has been leading the retreat. The present administration has withdrawn from UNESCO, the UN Human Rights Council, nuclear and trade agreements, and the Global Compact for Migration, given notice of withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, threatened to withdraw from the World Trade Organization and the Universal Postal Union (among others), cut off funding for The UN Population Fund, the UN Relief and Works Agency (and other support for Palestinian refugees), and the Northern Triangle, threatened to substantially reduce funding for the International Civil Aviation Organization, foreign aid, humanitarian assistance, and diplomacy. Withdrawal from the international community simply leaves space for China, which now heads four international organizations, and other countries that are less able to bring the technological innovation and aspirational values of a free society and economy. The US retreat preceded the Trump Administration as exemplified by the abysmal record of the US Senate in failing to ratify universally adopted international treaties, including those protecting the rights of women, children and the disabled.

Inconceivably, the US now threatens to withhold funding from the World Health Organization in the midst of the worst global pandemic since 1918. Pandemics do not pass through customs or stop at border walls. A virus any place in the world is a potential threat to the United States. With a budget of only $4.2 billion, most of it from voluntary contributions, and 7,000 employees in 150 countries, the WHO sets international health standards, provides essential coordination, collects and disseminates critical information and provides technical, scientific and research support. It has no enforcement power. Its authority derives from the 194 sovereign states which are its members, and it is only as effective as its member states enable it to be. Like most human institutions, it has had its successes and failures. With active member state engagement, it can learn from its mistakes, such as its early failures in the response to the Ebola crisis in 2014-15 in West Africa. In 2019-20, it has responded robustly and effectively to the Ebola threat in the Congo, under circumstances where WHO workers face imminent danger from violence as well as the virus.

Where the United States, WHO’s largest contributor, has been actively engaged, WHO has had remarkable success—the eradication of small pox, the near-eradication of polio, great progress in the eradication of measles, dengue, tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. The United Nations vaccinates about half the world’s children. WHO also has strengthened health agencies in developing countries and addressed chronic disease such as heart disease and cancer, as well as obesity, food security, and substance abuse. 

Despite the inflated criticism that WHO was slow to recognize  China’s initial lack of transparency on the human to human transmission of the coronavirus, the fact remains that before the first virus case was identified in the US, China made public on January 12th the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus. This enabled WHO to develop a diagnostic test that was used in most nations, including South Korea and Thailand, which gave them an early start on containing the virus. Rejecting the WHO test, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention failed in its attempt to develop a “more sophisticated test” which substantially set back testing in the US. The WHO has not criticized either the US or China because that is not the way a UN organization fosters global cooperation. WHO has no authority to dictate the internal response of its sovereign members.

History teaches that active engagement by the United States is essential to the success of the United Nations and its specialized agencies. The US brings critical scientific and technological knowledge and innovation to the table. The international organizations provide a global response to a global crisis. While some 17 HHS/CDC experts have been fully engaged with WHO at the technical level and fully informed of developments in China, US representation on the Executive Committee at the policy level has been vacant. On March 19, 2020 President Trump nominated HHS Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir for the third time to serve on WHO’s Executive Committee. Giroir should be swiftly confirmed by the Senate because US leadership at WHO is needed at the coming World Health Assembly. The US can push for reforms such as early and transparent reporting of communicable diseases, a clear definition of Public Health Emergency and Pandemic, guidelines on preparedness such a stockpiling equipment, cooperation on scientific research, strengthening  the emergency response capacity, and increasing the contributions of states like China.

Instead of withdrawing from international organizations, the United States should be a leader through active engagement. Global institutions are needed now more than ever.

14 April 2020

COVID-19 and The World of Work

In it's recent report, "COVID-19 and the World of Work," the International Labor Organization detailed that the world of work is being profoundly affected by the global virus pandemic. In addition to the threat to public health, the economic and social disruption threatens the long-term livelihoods and wellbeing of millions. The ILO and its constituents – Governments, workers and employers – will play a crucial role in combating the outbreak, ensuring the safety of individuals and the sustainability of businesses and jobs.

Read the full report here and learn more about the work of the ILO on their COVID-19 and the world of work portal here.

13 April 2020

WHO is Not the Cause of COVID-19 Nor the Enemy. We Need It More than Ever for the Next Pandemic

By Richard Seifman, Independent Health Policy Consultant and UNA-NCA Board Member

It is unfortunate that your newspaper​-in editorials and opinion pieces-​ has chosen
this time of national crisis to point out what you perceive as political behavior by
the global technical agency that struggles to deal with infectious diseases in an
increasingly polarization world, with a Governing Board that brings their
displeasure without bringing the resources to allow it to measure up to the challenge​.
Exhibit A: Forbes on April 8th points out that the Trump Administration’s most
recent budget requested a reduction in the World Health Organization (WHO) U.S.
assessed financial contributions ​from $122.6​ million to an assessed contribution of
$57.9​ million. This is more than 50% and before significant recognition of the
covid19 threat across the country.

As to when the COVID-19 became a worldwide problem, it is worth remembering
that it was less than 100 days when WHO was notified by the People’s Republic
of China, a sovereign member State, of a new virus strain that posed a public
health threat of international concern. Also, worth recalling, in July 2019, well
before any evidence of COVID-19 had emerged, the U.S. Administration ended the
work of a key CDC medical epidemiologist embedded in China’s CDC. U.S. CDC
cooperation with China’s CDC had existed for 30 years (Dr. Anne Schuchat,
former acting CDC head and currently CDC Principal Deputy Director, worked in
China on the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak). Given this
history, one can only imagine the difference that U.S. CDC epidemiologist on the
ground in December 2019 might have made.

While I hold no brief for China’s failing to alert sooner and be more transparent
about the outbreak, keep in mind it was not that long ago U.S. leadership thought it
was a minor distraction from our robust economy, and to this day our debate
continues over mandatory regulations regarding masks and social distancing. Nor
am I suggesting that WHO could not benefit from further reforms. In what will be
the post- COVID-19 era, WHO’s governing body, the World Health Assembly, as a
priority, should review member State infectious disease early reporting
requirements and consider more stringent obligatory rules when the Director
General must declare a “public health emergency of international concern” or
pandemic. This will require cooperation and concerted effort by Member States.

We know this can be done: One need only look at the response to the West Africa
Ebola outbreak in 2014-2016 in contrast to the 2019 Ebola outbreak in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo.  WHO emergency teams were quick to risk
their health and lives and stay the course.  WHO was on the ground administering
new Ebola vaccines and treatment under very challenging circumstances, and
applying new technologies such as “the Cube” to better protect frontline health
workers, and making effective use of information management techniques. WHO's
coordination with-- yes, the U.S. and China—will mean this Ebola outbreak will
likely end in the very near future. Compare that to U.S. panic and economic costs
when very few came home from abroad with Ebola in 2014-2016, versus now? 

Vice President Pence often says, "we are all in this together".  He is right; but he
needs to think beyond our borders.  Next time when your child does not
have smallpox, or polio, or is not suffering from nutritional deficiencies, know it is
significantly due to the worldwide work of WHO.  Improvements yes, but let’s not
throw this institution out as technically weak and politically driven. There is no
doubt there will be another infectious outbreak, but no one knows where or when.
This is a special moment for the U.S. to lead by rising above partisan or anti-
globalist sentiments and put U.S. money, technical expertise and support behind an
improved WHO--so that we all do better next time.

13 April 2020

UNA-NCA Graduate Fellow Alumna Serves Her Country

Manuela Hernandez is a proud UNA-NCA 2019 Graduate Fellow. She is currently a first-tour Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She will work for the Consular Affairs section for the duration of two years. Manuela just completed her intensive Portuguese language training at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia to prepare for her job overseas. 

Manuela is a 2017 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellow and prior to joining the State Department, she completed the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) program at Georgetown University in May 2019. Prior to Georgetown, she worked in Munich, Germany for Kiron Open Higher Education, a non-profit that helps refugees access higher education through digital solutions. 

Originally from Florida, Manuela graduated from the University of Florida with majors in Economics and International Studies (with a focus on Europe). She has previously interned for the State Department at the U.S. Mission to the EU in Brussels and at the U.S. Consulate in Düsseldorf. Manuela has also interned at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency as well as the U.S. Congress; she consulted for the World Bank at the office of Agriculture Global Practice in the East Asia & Pacific Region.

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