International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s when it was originally celebrated as International Working Women’s Day. It is recognized on March 8th every year and honors women’s economic, political, and social achievements.
Gender equality is a huge focus for the UN community, with Millennium Development Goal #3 specifically designed to empower women and girls, and dozens of the agencies and entities focused on gender-based initiatives. In fact, this year honors the official one year anniversary of the creation of UN Women, a more powerful UN entity designed to help spread gender equality and women’s rights empowerment.
International Women’s Day is near and dear to UNA-GB, as we have celebrated it with an annual film screening and panel for the past few years. This screening is the biggest event of our Women’s Forum, which was created in 2006 to raise awareness about women’s issues in developing countries and engage men and women in Boston on solutions. You can learn more about this year’s screening below, and make sure to check out last year’s blog post on our screening event.
We hope you can join us at some (or all!) of the events listed below. We will continue to update the blog as we learn of more events, so check back! It’s important that we continue to work together towards eliminating discrimination and improving the lives of women all across the world.
International Women’s Day Film Screening and Panel
War Redefined with Series Producer Abigail E. Disney
When: Monday, March 5; 5:30 – 8:30 PM
Where: MCLE Auditorium, 10 Winter Pl, Boston
Don’t miss UNA-GB’s annual International Women’s Day Celebration, featuring a film screening of War Redefined, the last of the Women, War & Peace series, produced by series executive producer Abigail E. Disney. A panel discussion on the role of women in peace building and war will follow the film, featuring Abigail E. Disney, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Dr. Amani El Jack and Sahana Dharmapuri. This is an incredibly timely topic, with 3 women peace-builders winning the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the Obama Administration’s December announcement of the US National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and Secretary Clinton’s recent comments on the lack of women at high-level security talks.
War Redefined reframes our understanding of modern warfare through probing conversations with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright; Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee; Bosnian war crimes investigator Fadila Memisevic; Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International; globalization expert Moisés Naím; and Cynthia Enloe of Clark University, among others.
Along with hosting our annual International Women’s Day film screening and celebration, UNA-GB is also co-sponsoring some incredible International Women’s Day Events in Boston:
Ending Violence Against Women: Pathways to Power, Resilience and Leadership International Women’s Day Breakfast
When: Thursday, March 8; 7:30-9:30 AM
Where: Simmons College, Linda K. Paresky Conference Center, Boston
Join UNA-GB and dozens of organizations around Boston in celebrating the city’s 15th Annual International Women’s Day Breakfast. Panel will include Purnima Mane, CEO and President of Pathfinder International, Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley, Audrey Porter of My Life My Choice and Ann Fleck Henderson from Simmons College.
RSVP at http://iwd2012.eventbrite.com/
Women for Women International’s Boston “Join Us at the Bridge” Event
When: March 8, 10am-12pm
Where: Massachusetts Avenue Bridge Boston
Stand up with women around the world, honoring the strength of women working for equality, justice, and peace.
Feeding Boston, Changing the World: International Women’s Day 2012
When: Saturday, March 10, 2012, 6-9pm
Where: Ballroom, Curry Student Center, Northeastern University
What: Panel discussion followed by a dinner celebration
Free and open to the public. Spaces limited. RSVP here.
This International Women’s Day, Boston’s Oxfam Action Corps invites you to honor women who work the land, feed their families, and plow the way forward to more sustainable agricultural economies here and abroad.
Additional International Women’s Day Events around Boston:
End Impunity for Sexual Violence against Women and Girls
When: Thursday, March 8, 2012 5:00PM-7:30PM
Where: Old South Meeting House
Latina Women’s Conference
Extraordinary Women fighting for Migration Justice
Where: MA State House
When: Friday, March 9th, 2012 9:30- am- 3:00pm
Hosted by: Women in Solidarity Committee, whose network of Women in Solidarity is growing. 300 Latina women participated in 2011. Latina women advocated last year to opposed secure community program and create a community forum to reflect on violence and immigration issues. Their goal is to create space for Latinas por el Cambio and expanded their reach to other places. They founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers.
Celebrate International Women’s Day Event at Gallery Kayafas
When: Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 7pm – 8:30pm
Where: Gallery Kayafas, 37 Thayer St. @450 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118
Learn about AI’s work defending women’s rights featuring Zainab Abdullah, a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan who has recently returned from researching honor killings in Pakistan. She will be joined by Beena Sarwar, a leading Pakistani journalist and democracy, human rights, and peace advocate. Hosted by the Back Bay Amnesty Group. RSVP to Alexandra Prim by 3/5/12. Space is limited. Learn more.
Celebrate International Women’s Day at the Eritrean Community Center
Where: 590 Shawmut Ave, Boston
When: Saturday, March 10th, 8-10pm
The Eritrean Community Center of Greater Boston works to promote social and cultural interactions among Eritrean-Americans as well as area residents and friends for mutual understanding and awareness, integration, economic self-sufficiency, Eritrean heritage, and youth leadership.
2012 International Women’s Day:
Rally & March
When: March 10, 12 PM
Where: Meet at the Boston Common at the Gazebo
Meet to kick of the rally and then we’ll take it to the streets with guest speakers at Court Street, State Street MBTA, and State House. All individuals and groups are encouraged to bring a banner or signs, instruments, and other creative forms of expression and march together in struggle for living wage jobs, universal healthcare and childcare for all.
Where: Midway Café 3496 Washington St, Jamaica Plain 02130
When: March 10, 7 PM
Benefiting The Prison Birth Project & Girls Rock Campaign Boston $5 at the door, 21+ event
To register email InternationalWomensDayBoston@gmail.com
Harvard Kennedy School’s International Women’s Day Celebration
When: March 8, 2012
Where: HKS campus, various locations
8:30 – 10:00am, Breakfast for faculty, students and staff
Allison Dining Room, Taubman building, 5th floor
The Women and Public Policy Program is hosting a breakfast with HKS Academic Dean, Iris Bohnet, women faculty from across Harvard, students, staff and other members of our community. All are welcome!
11:40am – 1:00pm, WAPPP Seminar: Women’s Health and Health System Reform: The Route to Transformational Development?
WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman Building, 102
Health system reform in the United States and globally holds the promise of improving the health and well-being of women and a major opportunity for development, particularlyin the developing world. Dr. Johnson will explore the intersection of health system reform and the opportunities for transformational development through improvements in women’s health status, workforce development, and advancing women’s rights.
6:00 – 8:00pm, Film Screening: Iron Jawed Angels
WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman Building, 102
“Iron Jawed Angels” tells the remarkable and little-known story of a group of passionate and dynamic young women who put their lives on the line to fight for American women’s right to vote.
To learn more about even more events happening in your area, check out the International Women’s Day website. Let us know if you find any other events in the Boston area to celebrate International Women’s Day, so that we can update this blog to help people stay connected and aware of how to get involved locally!
The start of each semester is always an exciting time for us here at UNA-GB, as we welcome a batch of new interns. Every few months, we have the pleasure of bringing on new, bright, energetic and talented college students and recent graduates to substantively grow our work and expand our influence. This spring we have a robust and knowledgeable group (and the largest in number to date too!) Learn a little bit more about our interns below.
Intern Focus: Student Ambassadors- Education
I am a Senior at Northeastern University studying a dual major in International Affairs & Human Services, with a minor in Sociology. Last year I served as a Campus Ambassador for the UNA-GB, and I am now the Coordinator for the Student Ambassador Program. During my time at Northeastern I have participated in two Dialogue of Civilization study abroad programs, including a Global Corps Practicum to Thailand and a Service Learning and Transnational Activism program in India. I have previously interned for the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya an Capitol d on Hill for Congressman Dennis Kucinich. I am interested in community development and international social work as well as traveling and photography. I hope to one day work for the United Nations or start an NGO of my own.
Intern Focus: Programs- Development
I am currently finishing my senior year at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. I am a double major in political science and international studies with a minor in Spanish. I grew up in Gorham, Maine. I spent last semester in La Paz, Bolivia studying Latin American revolution movements and conflict resolution and also a semester prior in Washington DC interning at the National Governors Association. I am working with the UNA-GB team in development. After graduation I plan to spend at least one year engaging in post-graduate service.
Intern Focus: Programs- Events/Website
I am a junior at Lesley University majoring in Communications and minoring in Design and Business Management. I have played soccer and basketball while growing up in Connecticut and currently play both sports at Lesley. Last spring I had the opportunity to study abroad in Australia, where I spent four months traveling and studying. I have a passion for understanding and learning other cultures other than my own. I am interested in designing and event planning, as well as the communications department of UNA-GB where I’m excited to learn more in the field.
Intern Focus: Programs- Consuls Ball/Silent Auction
I am a senior at Tufts University, majoring in International Relations with a concentration in “Ideologies.” I am originally from Billings, Montana. Over the past four years I have studied abroad in Talloires, France; Lima, Peru; and most recently for the 2010-2011 academic year at Pembroke College at Oxford University, England. Other internship experiences include working at KULR-8, a local TV news stations in Billings, MT; Fred Friendly Seminars in New York City; and US Senator Max Baucus’ office. Upon graduation I hope to work in Washington DC or London. In my spare time she enjoys outdoor activities, sports, shopping, and cooking.
Intern Focus: Education
I am currently a senior at Boston University studying International Relations. I come from Belgium, from my father’s side, and my mother is South Korean. However, I have never lived in both countries before. Instead my father’s work took me to places such as Turkey, where I lived for 14 years, and China. My parents have very different backgrounds but it is their international mindset that freed them of their national boundaries and gave them the courage to pursue life across the world, an attitude that has inspired me. I believe the UNAGB has the same mindset. One that teaches us to understand, learn and experience different cultures, and become immersed in a giving global community. I hope to further my studies through International Law to continue promoting internationalism; and perhaps someday I can inspire others too.
Intern Focus: Programs- Communications
I am a Global Business and Marketing major finishing up my senior year at Suffolk University. I am from Merrimac, Massachusetts and from Italian and Irish decent. I have been blessed with the opportunity to have studied abroad in three different locations and my majors have provided me with the flexibility to have been able to study in Spain, Australia and Italy. I have been immersed in many cultures and have practiced each country’s unique method of doing business. I am currently taking 5 classes as well as being the Vice President of Suffolk University’s International Business Club and am a Lead Caller Student Ambassador for the Suffolk University Annual Fund. In the future, I hope to continue travelling and to someday work for the U.S. government.
Intern Focus: Education
I am a senior at Emmanuel College, studying international affairs. I hope to pursue a doctorate degree in International Affairs, after my military service is completed. I was born in Tottenham England, a blue collar borough of London, eventually settling in Bedale Yorshire. I lived there for seven years, before moving to Revere, Massachusetts. I am an aspiring athlete for the Greater Boston Track Club, where I compete for the club in different competitive events. I am profoundly excited about the prospects of interning in the educational department of UNA-GB.
Intern Focus: Education
I am a freshman at Boston College studying Islamic Civilization and Society as well as Political Science. After spending a very moving summer in one of the most torn post-Troubles neighborhood in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I understood that my career calling was mitigating international crises. The past five years I have intensively participated in Model United Nations Conferences as far as St. Petersburg, Russia, and I hope that my international experience will serve me well as I study Arabic and aim my career at promoting peaceful solutions in the Middle East. I am very excited to be working with the United Nations Association of Greater Boston.
Intern Focus: Education
I am a junior studying International Relations at Boston University. Although I was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, my enrollment into the International School of Beijing in 2004 introduced me to a community of diplomats who reside in China, and consequently, the importance and beauty of diplomacy and international cooperation’s. In high school I was an avid participant and organizer of Asian regional Model United Nations Conferences such as THIMUN-Singapore. I speak fluent Mandarin, English and now am honing my proficiency in Swahili and Spanish.
Intern Focus: Education
I am a senior from Boston University studying International Relations and International Management. Having grown up in Shanghai, China and moved to Vancouver, Canada during high school, I was always passionate about international events and global politics. While my first two years involved IR research on topics like Chinese diplomacy and conflict resolution, I transitioned to international management in junior year, hoping to understand the world from a business perspective. I was actively involved in Model UN conferences for the past year, during which I gained much knowledge on the impact of international organizations and businesses. I’m currently considering pursuing my Masters after graduation, and I hope to work for the World Bank in the future.
Jun Il Hwang
Intern Focus: Education
I grew up in the Republic of Korea until I was fourteen years old and began to study in the United States of America as an international student ever since. Now I am about to graduate from Boston University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a minor degree in Spanish. I have taken some summer courses in Spain and Peru to learn Spanish and also their political/social issues and dilemmas today. Also in Madrid, I was an intern at an NGO called COSOP, which helps immigrants in need. I have worked at UNAGB for about 6 months now and have had a great experience so far. I look forward to continue my internship here and learn even more about global citizenships, education, and intriguing international affairs.
Intern Focus: Programs- Consuls Ball
Growing up in Miami, Florida, I was exposed to a diverse upbringing; with my high school being 40% white (non-hispanic) and 60% a mix of Hispanic, African-American, and Asian… and I loved it! Since, I have craved the need for new people in my life who bring a different background and perspective. This, in itself, is what drove me to intern at the UNA-GB. Majoring in Advertising with a minor in International Relations at Boston University, I have been able to mesh my passion for everything the UNA-GB stands for and my passion for planning events/promotions. Being able to bring people together at the Consuls Ball from different nationalities for causes we each care about is what is so incredible about America and the UNA-GB. On a side note, I also enjoy painting, concerts, karaoke, practicing speaking Hebrew, and the “Back to the Future” movie trilogy.
Intern Focus: Programs- Young Professionals
I am a junior at Emerson College where I study Political Communications and also play for the women’s basketball team. Pittsburgh, PA is my home and where I acquired an interest for social justice. My current goals are broad and open to possibilities. I want to be a citizen of the world who is constantly learning and discovering what life has to offer. I want to be more then just life’s tourist, I want to live and immerse myself within new, different, and stimulating environments. I want to explore the many cultures of this earth through the people and minds that created them. I am interning with the Young Professionals department at UNA-GB where I can connect with others over international issues and culture.
Intern Focus: Education
I am a senior year major in International Relations at Lesley University. Born in Boston, I moved to France when I was four years old. At the age of eight, my family moved the Democratic Republic of the Congo where we lived for a year before moving back to France. I attended and graduated from a French high school, after which I moved back to Boston to start college. I love travel, I love the game of International Relations, but most of all I love people. After I graduate I hope to get a Masters in conflict resolution and one day
work in conflict mediation.
Intern Focus: Office Assistance/Education
Hi, my name is Bianca, I am 16 years old (almost 17!) and currently a junior at Boston Latin Academy. I have been doing Model UN for 4 years and absolutely love it. I’ve also been the longest-standing intern – working at UNA-GB since 7th grade!! I want to move to Washington D.C and become an immigration lawyer. I like listening to other people’s problems and helping them. Overall I am an outgoing person to be around and I look forward to working with everyone because I like making new friends.
We anticipate great things will come out of this semester with this unique and accomplished group of young people! A WARM welcome from the UNA-GB staff!
-UNA-GB staff: Lena, Kaitlin, Jennifer, Rebecca and Ann
UNA-GB is excited to announce the formation of a new volunteer Advocacy Committee! Nathaniel Watson and Heather Cochran, who are co-chairing the committee along with Alma Morrison, are looking forward to working with UNA-GB and it’s global network and dedicated members.
Over the coming months we will be working to help keep you abreast of all the important issues that you need to be aware of and that need our support. It is important that we remain vigilant and work with other organizations, both public and private, to promote the goals of the United Nations.
With so many worthy causes, we need your help. The more involvement and support we garner from you the more we can get done. Whether it be reaching out to your local town officials, writing a letter to your Governor or simply joining the conversation and helping us find ways to make our world a better place, we’re counting on you! Over the coming months we will be highlighting different issues that need your support.
Currently, the future of America’s relationship with the UN is at stake. H.R. 2829 is a bill offered by Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) that would change the United States funding of the UN from a percentage of GDP to a voluntary basis. This would not only diminish the United States representation in the UN but it would set a precedent that could compromise the overall effectiveness of the UN as a whole. On Thursday, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a companion bill that would allow the U.S. to fund only those UN programs that is supports. This could severely undermine the equitability of the UN and put the interests of smaller Nations in jeopardy that would strain multi-national relations outside of the UN.
Please take the time to let your opinion be heard and contact your congressmen and women.
Want to read more about this bill and its consequences? Click here!
Meet our Leaders:
Nathaniel (you may call him Nat) studied Political Science at Boston University and now works in the financial industry downtown. He has only been a member of UNAGB for just 6 months but has a passion for international relations and is a strong believer in the importance of the UN’s role both globally and locally.
Heather studied International Human Rights and has a Master’s degree
in Social Work. She currently works in the nonprofit industry. She has
a strong passion for human rights and women’s rights. She would like
to continue to work towards helping to advocate for the UN’s
It has been 66 years since the creation of United Nations. That number is quite substantive – it not only indicates how young the United Nations is but also how much it has accomplished within the short period time and how its accomplishments are affecting our everyday lives in various places.
This past Monday, October 24, we had the chance to celebrate the past, present and future impact of the UN here in Boston. First, UNA-GB went to City Hall to raise the flag of United Nations over the city of Boston. Two dozen boys and girls from the Academy of Pacific Rim and Shrewsbury Montessori School joined us to hear Mayor Menino’s proclamation for UN Day at the event and when it finally was time to raise the UN flag, all of the students took turns winding the flag up the pole.
As the flag went up, people’s head started to tilt back and their eyes began to squint. The UN flag was waving right next to the U.S flag and the children were cheering. As I tried to capture the moment in my camera, I saw the hopeful future of global citizenship. People now have witnessed through UN that we have common purposes as human beings and that we can work together to face global challenges. This idea of globalized world is being passed on to the youngest generation, which is inspiring and reassuring.
After the flag-raising event, the procession moved to the State House for UNA-GB’s UN Day MUN simulation focused on Gender Equality (provided at no cost to the students, thanks to the generosity of our 66 for 66 donors!). The participants were 6th-11th graders from 8 different area schools and they came ready to talk seriously about gender inequality and solutions, not only in depth but from the many different perspectives of diverse countries and cultures. Thinking back to my own childhood, I marveled at the intelligence of the youth.
As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated in his 2011 UN Day address and Carol Fulp, MA UN Day Chair, reiterated to the students at the MUN simulation, “In these turbulent times, there is only one answer: unity of purpose. Global problems demand global solutions.”
The world in the 21st century faces many old and new challenges including genocide, gender inequality, population growth, and energy crisis. Despite the continuing problems of the world, looking at how we as global citizens have come so far via the UN day, I reaffirm my dream of making differences in the world and see clearer view of our hopeful future, reflected especially in the faces of the youth we serve through UNA-GB’s Model UN program. It is important that we continue to support and uplift these youth and our fellow citizens as we work towards a better future together. I hope you join us!
- Jun Il Hwang
Each year on October 24 we honor the the day in 1945 when the United Nations Charter came into effect. Each UN Day, throughout the globe, the efforts of the United Nations are recognized and celebrated.
This year, marking the 66th anniversary of the UN, the theme for UN Day is: “UN Day: In Everyone’s Interest.” The United Nations delivers everything from: peace and democracy with over 120,000 troops and personnel deployed to 15 peacekeeping missions; as well as, promoting human rights; to building economic prosperity; and, advancing global health.
Here at UNA-GB we too celebrate this special day each year. This year, beginning on Monday of next week we have several events you can attend to show your support for the important global organization. On October 24, UNA-GB will hold a UN Day Celebration and Model UN Simulation at the Massachusetts State House. The event will begin with UNA-GB raising the UN Flag at Boston City Hall to fly over Boston for the week and will read the City of Boston’s UN Day Proclamation, signed by Mayor Menino. Next, 100 Boston area middle and high school students and additional guests will head over to the Massachusetts State House for a Model UN simulation. The students will step into ambassadors’ shoes from countries as diverse as Afghanistan, China and Russia to debate the pervasive problem of gender inequality globally, and answer the question: Why do global inequalities for women in education and employment persist and what can be done about it?
Carol Fulp, 2011 Massachusetts UN Day Chair; SVP of Brand Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, John Hancock Financial; and US Representative to the 65th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (appointed by President Obama in Fall 2010) will give opening remarks at the Simulation and Governor Deval Patrick has been invited to read his 2011 UN Day Massachusetts proclamation.
You can also show your support on the 24th by heading into one of the award winning local bakery Sweet Cupcakes and purchase a specially made UN Day cupcake at one of Sweet’s four locations around Boston: Back Bay, 49 Massachusetts Ave; 225 Newbury Street; Harvard Square: Zero Brattle Street; Downtown: 11 School Street. Cupcakes will also be provided to students at the Model UN simulation!
Occurring simultaneously on the 24th, cities and towns throughout Massachusetts from Westwood to Yarmouth will be submitting proclamations supporting the UN. Proclamations range in content but all provide resounding support for the mission and work of the UN globally and the work UNA-GB is doing locally in the community.
Ending the week we will be holding our annual UN Day Luncheon on Friday, October 28 which gathers leaders from the business, policy, and academic communities in the Greater Boston area for an engaging dialogue on world affairs and an opportunity to network with other globally conscious individuals and organizations. This year our keynote speaker will be Gillian Sorensen, Senior Adviser at the United Nations Foundation and former Assistant Secretary-General for External Relations. Sorensen has distinguished career at the UN serving two Secretaries-General, Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros-Ghali. During her service Sorensen was responsible for 4,000 non-governmental organizations, and is also an ardent advocate to the US/UN relationship. Sorensen’s remarks will focus on “The UN and You: Global Citizenship in the 21st Century”.
This year at the Luncheon we will also be introducing our first-ever Global Corporate Citizenship honor roll recognizing the more than 30 Massachusetts-based companies who have signed on to key business principles through the UN Global Compact. We believe it is important to highlight the leaders in our community making a difference around sustainable development and corporate citizenship. Funds raised through ticket sales and sponsorships at the Luncheon directly support UNA-GB’s community events and class-room based programs, which serves more than 5,000 participants annually in greater Boston. This years sponsors include: Clark University Graduate School of Management; British School of Boston; GGA Software Services, LLC; New England College of Business and Finance; Ocean Spray; and our 2011-2012 Education Program sponsor National Grid.
Our Campus Ambassadors will also be celebrating UN Day at their respective universities throughout the month. At Northeastern University there is a two week celebration with events, starting already this past week including a movie screening of “The Whistleblower,” on Sunday, October 16 followed by a discussion of the importance of speaking up in difficult situations and possible resulting reforms. At the beginning of this week, there will be a screening of “Seeds of Peace,” which will kick off a week of various programs including panel discussions with the film maker. Positive Foundations at Brandeis University will be hosting a panel discussion on the importance of literacy and education in developing countries. Other universities such as Boston College, Tufts University and Suffolk University will also be holding celebratory events.
Help us celebrate 66 years of peace, justice and prosperity with the UN and the importance of thinking globally and acting locally!
As world leaders prepare to gather today for the United Nations General Assembly’s opening session, here at UNA-GB a brand new 66 for 66 Campaign has been launched. In connection with the opening of the 66th session of the General Assembly and in honor of the 66th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, our campaign focuses on providing 66 Boston-area high school students the unique opportunity to step into the shoes of diplomats at the annual UN Day Model UN Simulation at the Massachusetts State House on October 24.
“Now more than ever we need to invest in and nurture the next generation of global leaders” says Jennifer Irizarry, Education Director at UNA-GB. “Unfortunately, too many urban students do not have access to the life-changing resources offered through Model UN, so this campaign allows us to offer more students an opportunity to broaden their perspective, engage in international issues, and build skills that will be critical for college and workplace success.”
UNA-GB’s Model UN program is a college-preparatory program that exposes public school students to the work of the United Nations, the tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and topics such as international economics, development and sustainability, while building leadership and negotiation skills, critical reading and writing ability, and public speaking prowess.
It only costs $50 to support one student’s participation in a Model UN, so the 66 for 66 Campaign’s total goal is to raise $3,300 to serve 66 students. The campaign will run up through Monday, October 24, when dozens of Boston-area public school students will come together at the Massachusetts State House in honor of the 66th anniversary of the UN to solve a critical issue in international development. Students representing diverse nations such as Afghanistan, Paraguay, and South Africa will participate in a Model UN simulation to debate solutions to gender inequality and answer the question: Why do global inequalities for women in education and employment persist and what can be done about it?
Want to learn more about and to support the 66 for 66 Campaign? Visit http://ow.ly/6sdrB! And invite your friends and family to join you today in investing in the global leaders of tomorrow!
“At a time when the U.S. and United Nations are working together to address the world’s most pressing challenges — from humanitarian needs in the Horn of Africa and Haiti, to political crises and violence in Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Afghanistan — it’s more important than ever that America maintain its longstanding commitment to global leadership and engagement.” This quote comes from The Better World Campaign’s “Let US Lead” petition. The petition is a place where individuals can go to show their support for the United Nations and their feelings on a new bill (H.R. 2829), recently introduced in Congress, that threatens to cut U.S. funding of the UN.
The bill, introduced by the head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and 57 co-sponsors, is being called a “Bad bill for everyone,” by the Economist, while CNN has referred to it as a “temper tantrum,”. To put it simply, the bill threatens to make substantial cuts to UN funding as well as all funding to agencies such as UNICEF and the World Food Programme.
The piece of legislation, or “United Nations Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act,” puts much of the good that the UN does throughout the world – such as feeding children impacted by famine and disease, and taking care of refugees – in serious jeopardy. Likewise, the bill would devastate US leadership within the UN, damage critical US national interests, alienate US allies, and put heavier costs on US taxpayers. If passed this new legislation wouldn’t just be harmful to US interests, but it would cause serious detriment within the UN. Such damage would mostly be due to the fact that since its founding the UN’s biggest contributor has been the US. Currently, the US funds 22% of the UN’s regular budget and more than 27% of its peacekeeping budget. Of the UN’s $22.3 billion budget, the US paid $6.4 billion. Because of the US’s continued high involvement and investment into the UN, its withdrawal of support would severely inhibit the organization’s ability to follow through on its commitments.
So why was this bill even introduced if it has the ability to be so harmful to the UN? First, Ros-Lentinen has been a critic of the UN for a long time. She believes the UN has been continuously plagued by scandal, mismanagement and inaction. Thus, her legislation, if passed, would withhold US funds to the UN if the organization does not change its funding systems so that dues are paid on a voluntary basis rather than an assessed one as it stands now. Specifically, as proposed by the bill the UN would have two years to phase in funding reform before the US withholds funds. After those two years the US would begin by withholding half of its contributions to the UN regular budget if less than 80% of the UN’s budget is not funded voluntarily at that time.
The second issue that Ros-Lehtinen has with the UN is its potential to support a Palestinian statehood proposal. She explained to her colleagues that the purpose of her bill is to also avoid a Palestinian self-declared state which she believes would “short-circuit the negotiating process, and would severely undermine opportunities for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” As a result her bill includes funding cuts to UNRWA, the agency that administers Palestinian refugee camps in the occupied territories and neighboring Arab countries. UNRWA’s budget for the fiscal year 2011 is currently set at $230 million. In this portion of the bill there is currently no condition attached to the cuts, Ros-Lehtinen simply wants to cut off funding to UNRWA.
As the Economist reported, the reality of the situation is that threats of funding cuts will most likely not be a deciding factor as to whether or not Palestinian statehood will be recognized. Rather, a Palestinian statehood proposal will be voted on in the UN’s General Assembly where, as it stands now, the 2/3rds vote in favor of recognition is likely to be met. However, Ghana, India, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Eritrea, France and the Dominican Republic are likely to not change their votes because of the US’s threat to cut off funding to UNICEF – a huge supporter of their states.
In an interview with The Cable on Wednesday, September 7th Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) said that Ros-Lehtinen’s bill was “ill-advised” and “probably dead on arrival.” Berman said he can never see this bill becoming an actual law.
“I think there are some radical proposals here,” Berman said. “I understand the frustration with a number of the U.N.’s actions and I share her frustration and anger at many of them. But the U.N. does tremendous amounts of good work. If you wipe out the funding base of the U.N., as her proposal does, you get the bad stuff but you will eviscerate the good things they are doing.”
Likewise, the White House has openly spoken negatively about the bill, saying that President Obama and his administration opposes the legislation, and although it is believed within the administration that the UN does need reform, this is not the correct way to go about it. Instead the White House suggests that the U.S. work with the UN to continue to make it stronger and more flexible.
Now more than ever is a grassroots movement supporting the good work of the UN important! Visit Let US Lead today and tell Congress to oppose H.R. 2829 by signing the petition. Encourage your friends and family to do the same. You can also schedule an in-person meeting with your member of Congress during the Columbus Day recess (Oct. 13-30). To receive more information on these issues, contact Roger Nokes at UNA-USA for talking points and meeting materials. This is a great way to really ensure that your voice is being heard during this crucial time for the both the UN and America.
If you want to get more involved on advocacy in the Boston area, UNA-GB invites you to join us at our Annual Meeting (September 28) where our programs and priorities for the year will be discussed in depth. It is a fantastic opportunity to get connected on these issues and network with other like minded global citizens in the area – register here today!
This summer, UNA-GB had the exciting opportunity to partner with John Hancock’s MLK Summer Scholars Program. The goal of the project is to employ Boston youth in various non-profits throughout the city for the summer, allowing them to gain professional office experience. UNA-GB was lucky enough to be one of the selected non-profits, and we employed a rising junior from Boston Latin Academy, Bianca Diaz, to be our Summer Scholar.
Along with working in a professional office throughout the summer, the Scholars attended workshops every Friday at Boston University’s Agganis Arena. Each week, the workshop had a different theme, ranging from what to do with your summer earnings to physical fitness, from personal branding to social responsibility. I was fortunate enough represent UNA-GB as a mentor for a small group of MLK Scholars during the Friday workshops. In our group discussion, the Scholars talked about how to improve the education system in the city of Boston, how to manage their student loans after they graduate from college, and how they feel about their neighborhoods.
At every workshop, the Scholars heard from a distinguished member of the Boston Community, who represented the theme of that week’s workshop. One of the speakers was Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who shared her journey from growing up in the urban environment of Chicago where her mother lived paycheck to paycheck to make sure she attended the best school in the city to entering the Boston political arena. The Scholars were extraordinarily impressed with her candor and her passion for the city of Boston, and her desire to see each one of the Scholars and all of Boston’s youth succeed.
At the end of the 7 week session, the Scholars participated in a celebration of their achievements, and their gifts. Many of scholars put on performances of their own forms of personal expression, through rap, dance, song, and poetry. One particularly inspiring young woman, who interned at Write Boston, shared her story about growing up in Afghanistan and how, due to the violence and turmoil, her family had to flee to the Russian Federation, and eventually immigrated to Boston. She challenged the group of over 600 Scholars to join advocacy efforts to build a peaceful future for Afghanistan.
Overall, the MLK Summer Scholar experience enabled the Scholars to gain invaluable insights into the professional world, while serving the community. I feel extremely fortunate that I was able to share in the Scholars journey, and UNA-GB and I feel privileged to have been a part of the program. We look forward to working with more students in the future!
Check out a video about the program below and learn more on their website.
-Rebecca Corcoran, Model UN Coordinator
One of the inevitable rituals that comes with going back to school is sharing what you did on your summer vacation with your fellow classmates. Is working towards solving the world’s most pressing global challenges, such as child marriage, immigration, and human rights a common story?
For the 39 rising 8th-12th graders who attended our first ever Model UN Summer Camp, held at Harvard Business School in July, the answer is yes. We asked a handful of our summer campers to share about their camp experience and how it feels to be working towards becoming the next generation of global advocates. Learn more about the week here and consider sharing information about next year’s camp with a young person in your life!
Raheem, 11th grade
I am from: I live in Rosendale, MA; that’s where I was born, but my mom is actually from Singapore. She is from an Arab background, and she grew up there in Singapore.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I have always been interested in international relations, so this is a great way to learn about some of the current issues today.
What I have learned from this program: I have learned about current issues in different countries such as child marriage, and also the role of peacekeepers in the UN, so doing those simulations really helped me to learn more about those different aspects.
What I liked the most about this program: It is so much more engaging type of learning than just hearing about things on the news, so I really enjoyed it. I think the public speaking aspect that we focus on a lot really helps a lot.
This program will help me with my future goals: Before this I didn’t think international relations was really up there, but now I may be considering it in the future. I have not done much public speaking before, so wasn’t really used to it, but such a big part of it was based on public speaking that I think I have gotten much better in it.
I would suggest this program to other students: I think that all sort of kids would like it whether they like to speak out or not, they learn a lot would really broadened their horizons based on politics.
Christina, 11th grade
I am from: Malden, MA
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I came to Model UN Camp to be better at public speaking and further my education in international relations.
What I have learned from this program: I have learned a lot of things I have not known before that I would need to take to the future with me.
I liked the most about this program: How we came from all over the world to the debate and the caucuses, and the different roles there are.
This program will help me with my future goals: In the future I hope to go into maybe something in law, maybe history, so either way Model UN will help me.
I would suggest this program to other students: Advice that I give is to come prepared and be open. Don’t be shy about it because everyone is at the same position – come and learn and just be ready to do it.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I have always been interested in international relations. My school is an international school, so there are lots of kids from all over. I have always been completely fascinated by the different cultural backgrounds and the way countries interact and politics that unite them.
What I have learned from this program: I will learn more about how to express myself and how to debate…How to argue convincingly from point when I don’t completely agree with that point. The thing about being diplomat is you represent a country and a body of people and that’s very important because not everyone’s voice can be heard at any global situation. I want to learn about different countries and different policies.
What I liked the most about this program: Learning from and hearing about what other people have to say, along with meeting new people.
This program will help me with my future goals: When I am older I would love to be a diplomat. Interactions between people and countries in the world are fascinating, and someday I want to make a positive difference in it.
I would suggest this program to other students: It is important for someone to represent because otherwise those people’s voices won’t be heard.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: This year I am a class president of my club at my high school and I really want to further my knowledge of the UN and learn about its operations and policies as well as that I hope for a career in the UN someday.
What I have learned from this program: My experience at the Model UN UNA-GB Summer Camp was extraordinary. It [provided] me with experience to become a better public speaker and debater. Some of the nature of the issues, which I would want to deal with, would be the global economy crisis…as well as human rights.
I liked the most about this program: I made a lot of new friends. I learned how to become a much more effective and efficient delegate in future Model UN Competitions.
This program will help me with my future goals: I want to represent people who typically, normally speak up for themselves and to defend them. My dream job would be to become a politician either for the United States or to represent the United States in the UN because I care a lot about people. It has made me want to become even more involved in international politics; I believe it will help me when applying to some colleges.
I would suggest this program to other students: I think it is important for teenagers my age to join this program, so that way they will realize that they are going to be affected by human rights or some other law or other aspect which the UN discusses.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: Because I really did not know about the UN. I thought that I could actually learn how the UN works, what the UN really is, what they really do. I want to learn more about modern day issues and human rights.
What I have learned from this program: Paying attention is definitely a key part of this camp. It really helps with public speaking. I learned how to debate. I actually was not really that good in it and I have improved a lot.
What I liked the most about this program: Parliamentary procedures… It was actually my favorite part in the whole class. I had almost no idea when I came here, but now I really understand it.
This program will help me with my future goals: When I joined the camp I thought it will be an interesting thing to know about…I actually don’t know exactly what my career would be, but I think it definitely will help me. It is a very important thing nowadays because all these issues and human rights are a big thing today.
I would suggest this program to other students: It was very accelerating, hard at some points, but I thought it was fun and very educational overall.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp to: Improve my speaking skills and actually learn to give out my opinions, my suggestions more because before I had a hard time putting out my personal views on certain topics.
What I have learned from this program: It has been a great experience understanding and learning more and getting to touch up on everything I have learned before. The Summer Camp has just expanded my level of understanding of how to give out more information about the certain topics that I understand and how to speak to other people sharing my views with others. I learned everything from child marriage to migrant workers and their struggles to basics of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
What I liked the most about this program: [It is] giving me the chance to actually meet with other students from other schools and other countries and cities, which gives me a broader understanding of their different views on different topics being discussed.
This program will help me with my future goals: It changed my life because growing up I always knew I wanted to do something that was bigger than me – something that did not just have to do with me helping myself, but helping others. And the Model UN simulation just gives you the feeling that it is okay to want to get out of the comfort zone, to say I want to go beyond myself, and I want to help others in the process.
I have always wanted to be a pediatrician. That’s always been in my plan book, but I want to intertwine that with traveling – I want to travel to help those in need, maybe kids in the other parts of the world that cannot get the aid that they need for those specialized areas.
I would suggest this program to other students: This program is amazing because it is actually improving your social capability and your ability to learn and share with others what you learned. It is a great experience to come to the summer camp because it sharpens your learning abilities and what you know about American history and about the issues in general. It is the beginning, opening the door to helping others, and understanding what the world is made out of.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I thought it was a great opportunity to come to a beautiful city like Boston and practice and learn some things about Model United Nations that I did not know before.
What I have learned from this program: I have learned a lot of things about international relations and child rights and human rights that I would have never known if I would have never came to this program. Mediating with other countries is always the best way to fix things.
What I liked the most about this program: It sets a great platform for your future aspirations to go farther than Model United Nations, and I would suggest it to any Model UN students.
This program will help me with my future goals: Overall I would like to make the world a better place. There is a lot of turmoil in the world. And it is only one person, but if one person affects three, two people, that is already life well spent. I am aspiring to go to college at Boston University and go to the international relations school and maybe become an ambassador to another country from the United States. And the prior information that I have learned from this program will surely help to reach that goal.
I would suggest this program to other students: Whether you are experienced or not in the Model United Nations field, you can learn some things that you did not know or if you just completely new to the Model UN, you can learn everything you really need to know.