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29 April 2014

Successful Global Classrooms Spring Model UN Conference

GCDC holds 12th Annual Model UN Conference

On April 29th, Global Classrooms DC hosted its annual Spring Model UN Conference for 650 middle and high school students at the U.S. Department of State and Pan American Health Organization.  The students, many from local DC Public Schools and some coming from as far away as Ghana, worked together to pass resolutions on critical global issues including Access to Clean Water, Human Trafficking, and the Situation in the Congo.  Volunteers from local universities and organizations, including the State Department, led the Model UN simulations and guided students through a full day of committee sessions.  Students were required to negotiate with each other while representing the perspectives of different countries, with the shared goal of passing a resolution by the end of the day.   
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02 April 2014

UNA-NCA Honors former U.S. Ambassador Edward Perkins with the Lifetime Achievement Award

On April 2, 2014, the UNA-NCA Africa Committee honored former U.S. Ambassador Edward Perkins with the Lifetime Achievement Award in a ceremony held at the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA).   During the program, Ambassador Perkins talked about seminal events in his life that lead him down the path of public service.
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26 February 2014

Remedies for Harm Caused by UN Peacekeepers

This compelling program examined the remedies available to victims and others injured as a result of UN Peacekeeping activities generally and in the context of the cholera epidemic in Haiti. 

Bruce Rashkow explained that the grant of immunity to the UN in Section 2 of the UN Convention on Privileges and Immunities was not intended to shield the UN from justifiable claims, and that Section 29 requires the UN to provide appropriate modes of settlement of disputes of “a private law” character. Claims against Peacekeepers generally have been settled administratively, but in two recent cases, Mothers of Srebrenica, where UN peacekeeping forces failed to protect innocent civilians against almost certain death, the Dutch Supreme Court held the UN had absolute immunity and, on appeal, the European Court of Human Rights held the claims inadmissible; in the case of the Haitian Cholera epidemic, the UN has refused to entertain the claim.  
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24 February 2014

Book Lecture by Dr. Roy D. Morey

"Will China Replace the US in the Global Leadership Race?"

On February 24, 2014 UNA-NCA hosted a book lecture by Dr. Roy Morey.  Dr. Morey gave an insightful account of his time  as the UNDP representative to China in the 1990s. The presentation also discussed Dr. Morey's opnion on the topic: "Will China Replace the US in the Global Leadership Race?" addressed in the epilogue of his latest book The United Nations at Work in Asia: An Envoy's Account of Development in China, Vietnam, Thailand and the South Pacific.
Read more about the book!


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19 February 2014

The United Nations Human Rights Council in 2014: What’s New, What’s Old, and What to Expect in the Year Ahead

A dialog and discussion on the UN Human Rights Council

On February 19, 2014, UNA-NCA and the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) facilitated an informative and insightful panel discussion about the United Nations Human Rights Council titled: “The UN Human Rights Council: What’s New, What’s Old, and What to Expect in The Year Ahead.” The panel featured speakers Wesley Reisser of the United States Department of State and Ed Elmendorf, former United States- United Nations Human Rights Officer and a decades-long leader of the United Nations Association in various capacities. Billed as an ‘insider’s dialogue’, the two panelists discussed some of the challenges facing the Human Rights Council and the current state of US engagement on the Council.
Watch the Discussion!

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18 February 2014

An Appreciation of Jonathan Dean

By: A. Edward Elmendorf, Former UNA-NCA President

A career foreign service officer, Jonathan came to UNA after retiring from many years of State Department and NGO service focused on German affairs and disarmament issues.  His first professional exposure to the United Nations took place when he was Principal Officer in the US consulate in Katanga as it endeavored to secede from the Congo shortly after the wave of independence hit Africa in the early 1960s. The UN peacekeeping force then established in the Congo has been in the country ever since under varying leadership and mandates.  Later Jonathan worked on UN political affairs in the State Department. 

In the 1970s, he served as ambassador in arms reduction and disarmament negotiations.  Subsequently, working from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and then at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Jonathan continued his search for peace and promotion of the peaceful settlement of disputes.  Inevitably, this led him to the United Nations Association.

Jonathan served as President of UNA-NCA from 1997 to 2001, when I had the privilege of serving on the Board.  It was always a pleasure and stimulus to further thought, to listen to Jonathan reflect on the UN and current events from his position as Chair in UNA Board meetings held in a large space outside his office at the Union of Concerned Scientists.  In one of his last public UNA actions, Jonathan made a brilliant short speech at a UNA-USA national convention upon receipt of the UNA-USA Lifetime Achievement Award.  It was natural, and quite appropriate, that Jonathan gave a highly polished, articulate, and memorable overview on the history and imperative of the rule of law in international affairs.

I recall with special appreciation a visit to Jonathan’s 19th Century home in rural Virginia a year ago by fellow UNA-NCA member Tino Calabia and myself when we endeavored to talk with Jonathan for the UNA-USA history project.  Our quest for an interview proved unsuccessful because Jonathan’s health and energy were flagging, but we had a wonderful time visiting with friends and relatives and reminiscing about Jonathan Dean.

12 February 2014

UNA-NCA intern published on Huffington Post

Ruthie Gopin, a UNA-NCA intern working for Global Classrooms DC, was recently published by Huff Post Teen. Her article, “Why I Love Model United Nations” is a very honest account of the feelings and experiences she had in UNA-NCA’s Model UN conferences. These events were a ‘phenomenal time’ as that she recalls as becoming a turning point in her life. Through this experience, she began not only participating but also getting actively involved in coordinating MUN conferences.

Ruthie is a 16 year old homeschooler from Silver Spring, Maryland who will begin college in the fall.  She anticipates joining the college’s MUN team and pursuing a career in International Development.

Congratulations Ruthie!

04 February 2014

UNA-NCA Advisory Council Member Princeton Lyman speaks to Overflow Crowd at USIP

UNA-NCA Advisory Council Member Princeton Lyman speaks to Overflow Crowd at USIP

By A. Edward Elmendorf
Past President UNA-NCA

UNA-NCA Advisory Council member Ambassador Princeton Lyman, Ambassador Alan Goult of the United Kingdom and the Woodrow Wilson Center, and former USAID Assistant Administrator Kate Knopf constituted a dynamic panel on the Crisis in South Sudan at the US Institute of Peace on January 15. 
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