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09 February 2021

New Year, New Opportunities: Engage with UNA-NCA

Looking for ways in the New Year to build connections, engage on topics you care about, and develop as a professional? Please join UNA-NCA’s VC of Membership and Volunteer Engagement Kristen Hecht on Tuesday, February 9 from 12-12:30 pm ET for a 30-minute webinar on current and upcoming opportunities to engage on UN topics at the local and national levels. Following the webinar, you’re invited to join us for an optional ~15 minute meet & greet, where you’ll hear personal stories from UNA-NCA members and connect with others on the call. This webinar is open to members and nonmembers alike who are interested in learning more about UNA-NCA and ways to (re)engage in the chapter.

This event will feature a special panel of individuals sharing their Member Journeys!

Kristen Hecht, UNA-NCA Vice Chair of Membership and Volunteer Engagement, Board of Directors
Destiny Clements, Program Associate, American Academy of Diplomacy
Lydia Daniels, International Consultant
Radia Mbengue, Research Consultant, Femme Africa Solidarité
Ian Sloan, Paralegal and Project Manager, Jackson & Associates Law Firm, LLC

When: Tuesday, February 9, 12:00 - 12:45 pm ET
Where: Online
Cost: Free, but registration is required

Register Here!

02 February 2021

UNA-NCA Coffee Chats Present Interfaith Harmony Week: Building Peace

Join UNA-NCA on Tuesday, February 2 from 1:00-2:00pm ET for our first Coffee Chat of the year, honoring United Nations' Interfaith Harmony Week by exploring how inter-religious engagement is building and sustaining peace. 

Register here. Stay tuned for speaker details from across the UN, US Department of State, and more.

Invited Experts: 

James Alexander, Policy Advisor at US Dept of State
James Alexander is a Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom Strategic Religious Engagement Unit, where he carries a broadly defined education and outreach portfolio. He previously oversaw a team monitoring the program quality of international exchange visitors. James has evaluated exchange programs and assessed overseas U.S. public diplomacy programs, with a prior stint collecting and analyzing post-Soviet public opinion data. James is a former tenured professor at Northeastern State University (OK) with numerous publications on Post-Soviet politics, having studied and conducted research in Russia’s western regions. James built water systems as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Ecuador in the late 1980s. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, he has an MA and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Palwasha L. Kakar, Acting Director of Religion and Inclusive Societies at USIP 
Palwasha L. Kakar is the Acting Director for religion and inclusive societies at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Kakar joined USIP after four years with The Asia Foundation where she was the Afghanistan director for Women’s Empowerment and Development. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kakar led the Gender Mainstreaming and Civil Society Unit in the United Nation Development Program's Afghanistan Subnational Governance Program managing a small grants program for Afghanistan's civil society initiatives. An Afghan-American, she has experience teaching and researching religion, gender, security and local governance. Kakar has published research regarding women’s participation in local governance, Pashtunwali-Afghan customary law, Afghan women's identity, and social spaces in Afghanistan. Her research has taken her to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Syria. She earned a Master's degree focusing on gender, politics and religion from Harvard University’s Divinity School and a Bachelor's degree in Religion and Global Studies focusing on peace and conflict from Bethel College in North Newton, KS.

Katherine Marshall, Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue and Senior Fellow at Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
Katherine Marshall has worked for almost four decades on international development, with a focus on issues facing the world’s poorest countries. She is a senior fellow at Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Professor of the Practice of Development, Conflict, and Religion in the School of Foreign Service. Her long career with the World Bank (1971-2006) involved a wide range of leadership assignments, many focused on Africa. From 2000-2006 her mandate covered ethics, values, and faith in development work, as counselor to the World Bank’s President. She was Country Director in the World Bank’s Africa region, first for the Sahel region, then Southern Africa. She then led the Bank's work on social policy and governance during the East Asia crisis years. She worked extensively on Eastern Africa and Latin America. Ms. Marshall has been closely engaged in the creation and development of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and is its Executive Director. She serves or has served on the Boards of several NGOs and advisory groups, including AVINA Americas, The International Shinto Foundation, the Niwano Peace Prize International Selection Committee, and the Opus Prize Foundation. She was part of the founding members of IDEA (International Development Ethics Association) and is part of the International Anti-Corruption Advisory Conference (IACC) advisory council. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Saurav Upadhyay, Research Manager at Alliance for Peacebuilding 
Saurav Upadhyay is currently the Research Manager - Learning & Evaluation for Inter-religious Peacebuilding at the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP). Having grown up in Nepal in the midst of a civil war, he is driven by the desire to examine and address root causes of conflict. He was previously a Fellow at the American Friends Service Committee, where he worked on designing and implementing M&E framework and tools that help capture processes and results of peacebuilding and dialogue programs. Saurav strives to make evaluations more inclusive, accessible, and participatory. He truly believes in the power of participatory pedagogy and collaborative learning and is constantly striving to incorporate these ideas into evaluations. He organizes and facilitates learning and training events to promote peacebuilding best practices across the organization and helps create strategies to promote peacebuilding writ large. He is currently based in Philadelphia, PA.

17 December 2020

Walking For Freedom: A Deep Look into the Venezuelan Humanitarian Crisis

The UNA-NCA Sustainable Development Committee in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will present a documentary and discussion about the Venezuelan migration crisis.
More than 4 million Venezuelans are living outside of Venezuela as of June of 2019. That number is set to soar to 5.3 million by the end of the year which translates to 5,000 people fleeing each day. Venezuela is home to one of the countries with the biggest emigrant population in the hemisphere, this is why Walking for Freedom, a documentary, immerses the viewer to what the migrants go through. From walking through the Simon Bolivar International Bridge that links Venezuela and Colombia, to passing through perilous “trocha” routes, all migrants face obstacles on the way. This event and panel will portray the life of those who take part in this risky odyssey as well as bring awareness in the community.

When: Tuesday, December 17, 5:00 - 7:00pm
Where: Zoom
Cost: Free, but registration is required

Register Here

10 December 2020

2020 Human Rights Awards


Each year, UNA-NCA commemorates the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a celebratory event. 

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the 72nd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNA-NCA will recognize individuals and organizations working to improve human rights in their communities and around the world.


This year, we are excited to partner with Bathsheba Smithen and Cage Free Voices for a spoken word performance with musical accompaniment during the event!  You can learn more about their work here.

Register Here

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

4:30pm to 6:30pm

The 2020 Honorees are:

Louis B. Sohn Award:
Dean Claudio Grossman
Professor and Dean Emeritus, American University Washington College of Law

Perdita Huston Award
Professor Susan Deller Ross
Director, International Women's Human Rights Clinic, Georgetown Law

F. Allen “Tex” Harris Diplomacy Award
Erin Barclay & Scott Busby
U.S. Department of State

Community Human Rights Award
People for Fairness Coalition DC-Based non-profit working to end housing instability 



Register Here
Registration ends at 11:59 pm on 12/9

Contact our President, Paula Boland, at paula@unanca.org with any questions about sponsorship and tributes.

10 December 2020

Performance by Cage Free Voices of Greatness is Served

10 December 2020

Performance by Cage Free Voices of Righteous Ones

10 December 2020

2020 Human Rights Awards Sponsors

Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Circle

Human Rights Champion
The Ross/Herman Family


Human Rights Leader
A. Edward Elmendorf
Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret.)
Roger Griffis
Stephen Moseley

Human Rights Partner

Sultana Ali
M. Alexandra Arriaga
Kristen Barclay
Tim Barner and Kathy Guthrie
Kit Bigelow
Valerie S. Busby
Billie Ann Day
Bailey Dinman
Nancy Donaldson
Renee Dopplick
Judy Edstrom
Ambassador Keith Harper
Heather Hill
Jordan Hibbs
Emma Coleman Jordan
Markley Roberts
Ezra D. Rosenberg
Bob Schott
Richard Seifman
Nancy E Stanley
William Treanor


Human Rights Supporter
Robert Berg and Vivian Derrick
Edith Brown Weiss
Jill Christianson
Dawn Calabia
Edison W. Dick
Pebbles Daez
Felice Gaer
Lori Kaplan
Mark H Kulkowitz
Ellen McGovern
Sultana Miller
Karen Mulhauser
Theodore Piccone
Lutz Prager and Pat Lark
Carolyn Osolinik
Wendy Webster Williams
Uzra Zeya
George Mason University Business for a Better World Center 
George Mason University Center for International Education



27 October 2020

UN at 75: Past. Present. Progress Building The Future We Want


In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations

The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area 
invites you to 
Featuring Keynote Remarks by

Ms. Ulrika Modéer
Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy 
United Nations Development Program

Expert discussions with

Dr. Robert Orr
Dean of the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Change

Presentation of the 2020 UNA-NCA Edison Dick Advocacy Award

The Honorable Barbara Lee
Congresswoman for the 13th District of California

Attendees with have the opportunity to engage in UN75 Consultation Report Breakout Sessions on the following topics:

  • Global Health
  • Peace & Security
  • Gender Equity
  • Human Rights
  • Sustainable Development
  • International Law
When: Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 4:30-6:30 pm
Where: Zoom
Cost: Free, but registration is required
Registration is Now Closed

Please consider supporting UNA-NCA programs. Donate here or become a sponsor.


Diplomatic Leader
Judith Edstrom
Stephen F. Moseley

Diplomatic Partner
Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Ret.)
A. Edward Elmendorf

Diplomatic Supporter
Tim Barner and Kathy Guthrie 
Jill Christianson
Larry Cooley and Marina Fening
Billie Ann Day
Edison W. Dick, Esq.
Ambassador Keith Harper (Ret.)
Ritu Sharma 
Richard Seifman 

Diplomatic Friend
Kristen Hecht 
Lori Kaplan
Ellen McGovern
Loyce Pace

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