Daily Archives: January 22, 2014

A Brief History of the Mighty Sushi Roll

Hello readers!

We hope that you all are excited for the Young Professionals cultural event TONIGHT, Sushi Rolling Night with Young Professionals! Have a look at the interesting facts about the history of sushi to prepare you for the amazing cultural event that is in store for you this week!

Image

The first meaning of the Chinese symbol for sushi is believed to be “those made with fish”, then became “food where fish is pickled by rice and salt”. This cuisine bares little resemblance to the Japanese sushi we enjoy now!

With sushi readily available to most cultures around the world due to globalization, it has rapidly become a popular dish around the globe and even a symbol of Japanese culture. However, the sushi that most cultures experience today is not exactly how it was introduced to Japan during it’s inception. There are many forms of sushi that exist. The very first form of sushi introduced in Japan was called Narezushi. During the process of creating the Narezushi form of sushi, raw fish were stuffed with rice and then placed through a fermentation process. The fermentation process would take a couple of months until it was almost complete. Before the process of fermentation was complete, the fish stuffed with rice were prepared for people to eat in order to save the rice from dissolving. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Japanese sushi was transformed into more of a commonly produced food.

During the 19th century, as commoners began to receive permission to create businesses of their own, sushi transformed into a new form called edomaezushi, and became a type of fast food in Japan. Raw pieces of fish were placed on top of rolled squares of rice infused with vinegar. During this time, merchants were forced to become creative in the preservation of the fish used for sushi as raw fish spoils quickly. Depending on the type of fish they were using, merchants would cover their product in salt, wasabi, vinegar, or soy sauce. This allowed merchants to keep their product for a longer, although still limited, amount of time. Edomaezushi is now popular all throughout the world and sometimes changes shape to compliment other cultures. In the United States some types of Edomaezushi come with an assortment of sauces that you wouldn’t typically see in Japan.

Image

The earliest written mention of sushi, according to OED, was in the 1893 book “Japanese Interiors”

Sushi has made a drastic change in America. A prime example of this change can be seen with the extremely popular California roll. There is a legend that says Japanese sushi chef Ichiro Mashita is actually the chef that created the California roll. Upon opening one of the very first restaurants that featured a sushi bar in Los Angeles, Mashita wanted to find a substitute for Toro (fatty tuna) in his cuisine. He realized that avocado holds the same greasy texture of Toro and decided to use it as a substitute. He also turned the roll inside out in order to appease his American customers who did not like seeing the Nori (dried seaweed) when eating their sushi, which is how you would typically order sushi in the U.S. today. The type of sushi that Mashita crafted is actually called Makizushi, which is translated as “rolled sushi”. Makizushi and Edozushi are some of the most popular ways that sushi is experienced within the United States!

Now that you have some background into the history of sushi and the different ways it can be experienced we hope that you will join us and your fellow YP’s at Sushi Rolling Night!!

Water, Water, Everywhere… But For How Long?

Image

unwater.org

Happy Biodiversity Day!

That’s right, it’s that time of year again when we remind ourselves about the importance of conserving our biodiversity on this great planet. This year the focus is on water and the vital role it plays in biodiversity. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated in an address yesterday “Biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides are central to achieving the vision of a water secure world. […] Where once the focus was on trade-offs between water use and biodiversity, today we are coming to understand how biodiversity and water security are mutually reinforcing.”

As I am sure most of you are asking yourselves what is biodiversity and why is it so important to us as individuals and as a planet? The basic answer is that biodiversity is the variety of life and the patterns they form. Areas like the rainforest or coral reefs have high biodiversity because there are so many different species all living in the same place, and these animals are different than those who live in the desert or the arctic. Each species plays a vital role in the life of all the other species they interact with. The age-old term, and famous song, that relates to biodiversity is the Circle of Life; what effects one organism will have a ripple effect on the others and thus will impact biodiversity.

Another way of looking at the term biodiversity it is the fruit of billions of years of evolution shaped by natural process and influenced by humans.

What really is the value of having such a large amount of biodiversity in the world? Well, our own self-interest is to protect and conserve resources since we need it to survive. These biological resources are the pillars of which civilizations are formed. Its loss would threaten our food supply and industries such as agriculture and the cosmetic industry. Some facts about biodiversity and the effects it has on people:

·         70% of the world’s poor live in rural areas and depend directly on strong biodiversity for their survival and wellbeing

·         The average abundance of species is declining — there has been a reported 40% loss between 1970 and 2000.

·         Unsustainable consumption continues as demand for resources worldwide exceeds the biological capacity of the Earth by about 20%.

Sustainable development, water and biodiversity should be forefront in the international community’s mind, says Ban rttc.org

This year’s theme for Biodiversity Day is Water, which correlates with 2013 being the Year of Water Cooperation. After all nearly 2/3 of the planet is covered in water. That being said, there is only three percent that is freshwater and only one percent of that is in liquid form suitable for drinking. Water is becoming scarcer as demands outstrips supply, and most of what little water is left fails to meet the minimum requirements for quality.  In Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s address for today, he noted that “we live in an increasingly water insecure world where demand often outstrips supply and where water quality often fails to meet minimum standards. Under current trends, future demands for water will not be met.”

At the World Economic Forum 2013, Global Risk reported that water supply is second only to major financial failure. Water is so important that without it food production is unimaginable. Accounting for approximately 70% of global water usage, agriculture remains the greatest single demand on water and the biggest polluter of watercourses. Water demands for agriculture and the impacts agriculture can have on water quality are key management issues in maintaining both food and water security.

“I Feel Happy Too” by Fairuz Othman, Creative Commons License. un.org

“I Feel Happy Too” by Fairuz Othman, Creative Commons License. un.org

With such an important resource being threatened, the question is – what are people doing to combat the threat? One convention that has been formed to deal with this issue was the Convention on Biological Diversity, a legally binding treaty with three goals, conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of biodiversity, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.  The 193 members feel that the ecosystem, species and genetic resources should be used for the benefit of humans, but in a way that does not lead to a decline in biodiversity.

evergreen.edu

Ways we can help preserve this vital resource can be very simple – as simple as just making sure we’re not dumping anything harmful into large water bodies, or cutting back on consumption in order to conserve water locally. The key water management philosophy should be: reduce, recycle and treat before disposal.

Examples of significant opportunities to use ecosystems to manage water include:

  • improving the health of soils and land cover in farming landscapes to simultaneously achieve water security for food security and reduce off-farm impacts, including reducing water use, pollution, erosion and landslides;
  • integrating natural infrastructure approaches into urban water management to achieve sustainable and secure cities, wetlands, floodplains, coastal marshes and estuaries, to increase resilience to natural disasters;
  • managed landscapes, such as forests, to sustain drinking water supplies;
  • reducing the risks from, and severity of, floods and drought

Desertification is a real threat in today’s world britannica.com

Conserving or restoring ecosystems to manage water also delivers significant co-benefits. For example: wetlands can help regulate water but can also support a significant amount of fishery practices; restoring soils can help achieve more productive agriculture and sustainable food security; forests provide timber and non-timber resources and habitat for pollinators and wildlife; improved landscapes provide significant recreational and cultural values. These benefits should be added to water-related benefits when considering returns on investments in water related infrastructure.

Now that we have discussed the importance of biodiversity and the role played by water, we all can do our part in trying to conserve it – not only for us but for future generations so that they get to enjoy the benefits of having a diverse ecosystem.

Now, what are you doing to support water conservation? How about biodiversity? What are you motivated to do?

Country Sponsor for 2013 Consuls Ball: South Korea

south-korea-flagWe are thrilled to announce that this year’s Consuls Ball will be held on Friday, April 26 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.  The Consuls Ball is an elegant, vibrant event celebrating Boston’s international spirit and honoring the Consular Corps of Boston, which represents nearly 60 countries. This year’s ball will focus on the Republic of Korea, a modern democracy with a thriving economy. In order to prepare you for this event, here are some facts about Korea that you should know:

–       The current President of South Korea is Park Geun-hye, the first woman to serve in this position.

–       One of the fastest growing economies, Korea ranks 15th in the world by nominal GDP.

–       Korea is an industrial nation at the forefront of semiconductor, automobile, shipbuilding, steel making, and IT industries.

–       In 2010, Korea hosted the G-20 summit in Seoul, the first Asian country to chair and host a G-20 summit.

–       In 2012, Korea held the Nuclear Security Summit.

–       Korea has gained a non-permanent membership to the UN Security Council for the 2013-2014 period.

–       UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is from Korea.

–       “Korean Wave” is the name given to Korean dramas, movies, and music that are gaining massive audiences abroad.  One notable example is that of PSY, the notable singer who has popularized the song Gangnam Style.

–       In 2018, the Winter Olympics will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea.

2596588743_054a9338b1Now that you know some basic facts about Korea, you should join us in celebrating its rich and vibrant culture at our Consuls Ball. For more details about the ball, check out this link: http://cb2013unagb.eventbrite.com We hope to see you there!

*Many thanks to our Gold Sponsor -Focus Country

The_Korea_Foundation Korean_Consulate_Page_2

Inspiration, Perspiration, and Celebration: 2012 UNA-USA Annual Meeting Recap

This year’s UNA-USA Annual Meeting just wrapped up last week, and was a great success with more than 150 UNA-USA members from 63 Chapters and 31 states coming together in Washington DC from June 10-12 for Chapter development sessions, briefings at the U.S. Department of State, and Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.  We had an impressive showing by Boston members this year; along with staff member Kaitlin Hasseler and Board Member Alma Morrison, we had 5 members actively participate in the conference.  Read their recaps of the activities below.

UN Foundation President Tim Wirth and Dan Sullivan at the UNA-USA ’12 Meeting

Dan Sullivan, former Young Professionals chair and current UNA New England Region Steering Committee Member:
The state of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is strong and vibrant. UNA members met for the annual meeting in our nationʼs capital June 9-12th as a unified cadre of committed citizen ambassadors representing the principles embodied in the United Nationsʼ mission. Newly elected CCR-Steering Committee representatives assembled Saturday for dinner and their first official meeting.

Alma Morrison, UNA-GB Board Member and outgoing CCR Chair (far left), with Patrick Madden, UNA-USA Executive Director, and additional chapter members.

A palpable energy was evident in the Westin DC City Center Hotel on Sunday as members convened for the first time since the UNA-USA-UNF merger was finalized last year.  The meeting opened with Executive Director Patrick Madden and our very own Alma Morrison, outgoing Chair, Council of Chapters and Regions presiding over the annual business meeting and awards ceremony. Alma was recognized for her extraordinary, selfless allegiance to UNA-USA throughout a challenging time. She is a legend and a hero to all UNA-USA members and we are immensely proud of her at UNA-GB.

The morning continued with a regional breakout session and working lunch. UNA-GB members, along with Alma and UNA-GB staff member Kaitlin Hasseler met with leaders from the two Connecticut chapters to share programming successes, ideas on membership and retention, and the possibility of hosting a joint event in the coming year. The great Gillian Sorensen (who we were thrilled to have as a keynote speaker at our UN Day Luncheon last Fall) discussed with us some of the myths and misperceptions of the UN and why she commits her life to serving as an “advocate, debater, and defender” of the United Nations. Aaron Sherinian, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations at the UN Foundation presented on utilizing online media strategies for chapters while Laura Giroux, Membership Director at UNA-USA and Andrew Cornelius of the UNA-USA Denver chapter gave a presentation on how to retain members and attract young professionals.

The UN Foundationʼs newest campaign, Shot@Life, champions the cause of vaccines
in the fight to save childrenʼs lives in the developing world.  Director Devi Thomas spoke of how to effectively advocate for global vaccines. Chapters seeking advice on how to integrate Model UN programs were able to meet with Global Classrooms staff and chapter leaders in the afternoon.

Young Professionals Happy Hour at the UNA USA 2012 Meeting

On Sunday evening, the UNA-National Capital Area Young Professionals hosted a happy hour attended by over 40 UNA-USA members of all ages to share appetizers, cocktails, and conversation on UN news and chapter activities.  Following the happy hour, a film screening of Iron Ladies of Liberia was showcased at the hotel.

On Monday, members were treated to a spectacular, unique opportunity to enter the State Department for a day of high-level meetings and a memorable luncheon in a hallowed, historic venue, the Benjamin Franklin Dining Room. The morning began with a panel discussing Agenda 21 and how to battle the misperceptions rampant now. We were then regaled by one of Americaʼs legendary diplomats, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, on peace and security and the state of the UN Security Council. Concurrent sessions followed on human rights and reproductive health. The elevators filled as we rode to the luncheon in the famed Benjamin Franklin Dining Room, taking time to savor the many paintings and artifacts displayed there and to walk out on the veranda overlooking Washington with the enormous Stars and Stripes and State Department flags waving proudly in the June air. United Nations Foundation President and former U.S. Senator Tim Wirth and Reid Detchon, Vice President, Energy and Climate, UN Foundation spent the luncheon informing us of the key energy and climate issues surrounding the Rio+20 Conference and the historical progress made since 1992. The day at State concluded with a terrific overview of U.S.-UN relations by Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, U.S. Department of State. Dr. Brimmer need be thanked for so kindly setting up our luncheon.

The meeting culminated Tuesday with an early breakfast at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation before our march on the Capitol to wear out our soles promoting legislation to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, compel Congress to ensure the U.S.
seeks a second term on the UN Human Rights Council, and that congressmen support the Senate Appropriations bill which includes full funding of the U.S. monetary obligation to the UN. Meetings with house and senate staff took place throughout the day with a lunchtime break in the Kennedy Caucus room to hear from John Danvers, Foreign Relations Committee Staff Director to Chairman John Kerry, U.S. Senator (D-MA). UNA-GB representatives articulated the agenda with poise and precision, meeting with the offices of Congressmen Tierney, Lynch, Capuano, Markey, and Keating as well as the offices of Senators Brown and Kerry. Staff welcomed us with open arms, open ears, and open support for our advocacy acumen. The day was a great success for UNA-USA as members passionately sought support from their congressional delegations to maintain a robust U.S.-UN partnership keeping with the recent data from two prominent, national nonpartisan polling companies showing that 86% of Americans support a strong U.S.- UN relationship.

The 2012 UNA-USA Annual Meeting concluded Tuesday afternoon as members made
their way to trains, planes, buses, and automobiles for their journey back home. After
four days of inspiration, perspiration, and cerebration the state of the UNA-USA is the
most vibrant it has ever been. Bringing UNA-USA and the United Nations Foundation together has fostered a new, vigorous pursuit to advocate for and defend the work of the UN and its role in the international arena. On behalf of myself and UNA-GB, thank you to all who made this meeting a tremendous success. Let us continue the vital work of informing citizens, educating students, and serving as dedicated citizen ambassadors of
the United Nations. The work goes on.

Below is additional feedback and the opinions of our other volunteers that attended the conference!

UNA-GB members Immaculate, Ritah and Virginia (L-R) outside the State Department’s renowned Benjamin Franklin Room.

Immaculate Nansubuga:
“I joined the UNA-USA early this year and I am greatly honored to be a part of the largest network of UN supporters in US history.  I was so fortunate to attend the 2012 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, where I enjoyed not only the talks and discussions on some of the recent world’s most pressing challenges, but also I was greatly inspired by the various speakers, staff and chapter members of the UNA-USA whose impeccable dedication, passion and support for UN was explicit in numerous ways.  Our meetings with Members of Congress were smooth, thanks to Kaitlin, Alma and Daniel who delivered the keynotes and asks with just the right mix of hard data, examples and opinions.

I learned a lot about how the UNA-USA connects people, ideas and resources to help the UN solve some of the major global problems.

I also learned the reasons why it is more important than ever for the US as a nation as well as each individual who wants to see a better world, to show our continued support for the UN, goals and objectives.”

Ritah Nakandi:
“My objective of attending the conference was to broaden my knowledge of UN’s activities and familiarize myself with its progress in the global affairs. From the speeches and discussions, I was able to identify UN’s input especially with the MDG’s and its advocacy for Congress’s continued support of UN’s activities in the future. It was such a great experience for me to enlighten UN’s contribution in the world especially by demonstrating it’s progress in the Millennium Development Goals. I was mesmerized by UN member’s enthusiasm in implementing UN’s goals like the SHOT@life which captivated me.  Most importantly, the people have high energy and their loyalty to the UN mission is an everlasting selfless act that is a worthy call that I will always be drawn to.  I learned the significance of member engagement and how it consolidates one to have successful outcomes. This empowerment makes us, the UN members feel as one and as a family striving for a common goal and always be hopeful. It was such an informative and fruitful experience for me and I was really blown by the ambiance of the places that I never thought I would even get a chance to visit.”

Virginia Kinene:
“It was a great pleasure meeting you at the conference. As a new member of the UNA-GB, i found the conference very informative. I gained first hand information about the organization’s mission, objectives and how the organization is of great value to society through it’s development  goals such as, ensuring child education is promoted and its significant achievement so far, as reflected in the statistics.

I too enjoyed the great presentations and discussions conveyed by the the various UNA and State representatives on interesting topics such as awareness on human rights and the mechanisms for establishing standards in human rights, communication mechanisms, and the various advocacy methods, among other topics.

It was also an amazing experience meeting great personalities of both the U.N and the State and to also have made professional relationships with people from diverse regions and culture.”

Martin Ssekyewa:
“It was an honor to have such a great opportunity to meet with UNA-USA members from almost all states, people who have devoted their time, experience, and money to sacrifice for the good of humanity. I believe that this meeting was about the common good for all humanity. I had a chance of exploring the millennium goals which do not only favor Boston, but the whole planet and even back to the community where I came from in Uganda.

I have learned to work together with others in order to address the global issues and to find ways how to help my community here in Boston and back home in Africa. From the conference I learned new skills of being a model citizen; I am now well aware of the means I can use to bring back harmonious co-existence and harmony between the environment and man, because without the existence of one, the other is affected. I was so excited to learn how UNA has incorporated the millennium goals for all groups of people despite of their origin, race, gender and color, to work together as a one family.

According to my knowledge, the UNA programs have contributed a lot toward the National Development Plan, with a focus on equity and inclusion, peace, recovery, population and sustainable growth, to mention but a few. I encourage all people to join and support the UN Missions.”

Thank you to Dan, Immaculate, Ritah, Virginia, and Martin, who attended the event on behalf of the UNA-GB! We greatly appreciated your comments, feedback and participation in the event! And we hope we can see exponential growth at next year’s UNA-USA meeting as well!

Learn more about this year’s Meeting, see photos and video, and access post-conference materials (powerpoints, handouts and more!) here.

Child Marriage Call & Response: An Afternoon of Action for Africa

ImageYesterday afternoon, May 21, the Women’s Forum@UNA-GB welcomed many guests to celebrate Africa Day with a delicious lunch and inspiring conversation. 50 community members and leaders joined us to raise awareness about the issue of early child marriage in sub-Saharan Africa. At noon the room was buzzing with lively conversation as guests enjoyed Kenyan dishes from Taste of Kilimanjaro Catering and delicious fresh fruit juices from Teranga Senegalese Restaurant.

UNA-GB Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships & Development, Kaitlin Hasseler, opened up the forum, framing how one goal of the Luncheon was to celebrate how far Africa has come – she shared hopeful statistics including that between 2000 and 2010 six of the ten fastest growing economies were African, the poverty rate has been on the decline by about 1% every year, educational opportunities have expanded and more girls are in school, and in 2010 Africa achieved a major global milestone when South Africa hosted the World Cup.  She then introduced Wamburu Mitaru, a Berklee student originally from Kenya, to start off the celebration with a powerful song dedicated to the children of Africa.

Image

Despite the encouraging progress in Africa, there are also significant challenges the region faces, including the 2nd highest rate of child marriage globally, which the panelists were then tasked with expanding upon.  The focus was not only on engaging in a dialogue about child marriage but also shining a light on those whom have already begun making a difference in their communities to combat the practice.  Blessing Rogers of Hope for Children International, Inc., Josephine Kulea of the Sambura Girls Foundation, and Amanda Grant-Rose of Lift Up Africa, offered different perspectives on the issue of child marriage. Ms. Rogers provided more information about the historical and cultural context surrounding the topic, explaining where the practice originated from and what kept communities tied to the practice.  Josephine spoke more about her organization and shared her personal experiences, including detailing a particular marriage intervention that she led in her home community of Samburu, Kenya.   Amanda Grant-Rose followed by highlighting Lift Up Africa’s work supporting the organization HELGA and their bride rescue project – this work is led by Priscilla, a Maasai woman who has earned the trust of her community and spent the past 2 decades rescuing girls and educating them (when Kaitlin visited this program in November 2011, she had rescued 706 girls at that point!).

Image

Our panelists- Blessing, Josephine, and Amanda

To close, our panelists offered simple action plans encouraging guests to share what they’ve learned and make small steps towards change:

  • Blessing shared that while we can’t all travel to Africa,  we can get engaged in advocacy efforts by voicing our opinions and communicating with state and federal bodies directly.  She  specifically mentioned organizations such as USAID.
  • Josephine asked for support to build a dorm/rescue center for her girls, underscoring the importance of concrete solutions that directly help the community (you can learn how to support these efforts here). She also invited attendees to sponsor a girl. 
  • Amanda encouraged everyone to go home and share what they learned with least 5 people about the broader issue of child marriage and what they can do, again stressing the importance of the impact that education and small actions can make.
  • Kaitlin emphasized the importance of educating the next generation, sharing information about UNA-GB’s partner, UN Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, geared towards adolescent American girls, as well as UNA-GB’s Model UN program, which educates 6th-12th graders in Boston about critical global issues including child marriage.

Wamburu Mitaru ended the luncheon with another beautiful song that was a call and response with the audience – a fitting end to an event focused on how we as a community can answer the call to action on ending child marriage!

Thank you to everyone who attended and helped to make it a wonderful afternoon!  See more photos here from the Luncheon and stay tuned for upcoming events with our Women’s Forum on our event calendar.

-Jessica Pires

Bon Appetit: Cuisine and Conversation with UNA-GB’s Young Professionals

On Tuesday, May 7, UNA-GB Young Professionals (YP) said “bon appetit” with 25 young professionals of Boston at their bi-monthly Taste Of series. While sipping on French wine, authentic cheeses, hor’ dourves, and desserts at  Petit Robert Central Bistro attendees discussed the culture and current events of France. The hot topic of the night was the recent presidential election in France.

Image

Dominique Thomas, a student from France, gave insight on Francois Hollande defeating Nicolas Sarkozy in the election that gained worldwide coverage.  Hollande won 51.9 to Sarkozy’s 48.1 with 80 percent of the French population voting. Hollande, the first socialist president in almost two decades, could alter the future of the European Union.

Dan Sullivan, YP Leadership Board

Dan Sullivan, a YP leadership board member, educated the group on the relationship between France and the United Nations. France is one of 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. France is present in 10 of the current 15 peacekeeping operations including Afghanistan and Lebanon.

A game of trivia was played for those who were not so familiar with their French facts.  France ranks second among host countries for the Olympics with five, falling behind the US who has hosted the games eight times. France ranks first with Nobel Prize in Literature with twelve.

The evening ended with further discussion on French topics and a chance to network with other young professionals of Boston. Please stay posted for the UNA-GB next event at the end of July! Stay updated through Facebook and Twitter!

Santé!

-Olivia

A Needed Voice For Women

It’s Monday! Here’s this week’s post for our Get Educated, One Blog At A Time blog series! This week you can read about gender equality and women’s rights in the Middle East. Also, check out our past blog posts from the series, including: “A Historical Moment For Genocide”, “Two Sides To Invest”, “An Undefined Grasp Of Failure”, “A Necessary Priority”, “A Reform For The World”, “The Rural Challenge” and “Help Starts Young”

The issues of female rights and gender equality in the Middle East exist as challenges the UN, activists, citizens, and many others are currently trying to correct. Most Middle Eastern countries follow the Islamic religion, laying the foundation for what some have interpreted as female obedience and submission to men. These countries have expanded upon and even created rules for women that mimic religious fanaticism. As Middle Eastern/Arab countries such as Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq are now preoccupied with the issue of the Arab Springs and the political and social changes engulfing their country, women’s rights are being pushed to the backburner as insignificant worries. Nevertheless, gender equality remains an important issue that needs to be addressed.

The absence of gender equality in the Middle East is apparent in social restrictions, cultural regulations, politics, and lack of economic rights and opportunity that women experience in this region everyday. According to the laws of Islam, the separation of genders is necessary because women have the ability to tempt men through improper behavior. In Saudi Arabia, for example, women and men are not allowed to use/occupy the public library at the same time. Also, females are required to dress “modestly” in many of these countries so as to conceal their bodies for their husband and prevent temptation: women in both Saudi Arabia and the Kashmir region in India have been threatened, beaten, and unfairly treated for not wearing the burqa, a garment that covers the entire body and leaves little holes for the eyes. In terms of politics, women are restricted from roles of power and authority that are believed to belong to men. Laws protecting women from physical abuse and sexual abuse within a marriage are rare. Relating to Middle Eastern women’s inability to hold positions of power, economic opportunities such as entrepreneurship and leading a company are almost impossible dreams.

UN Documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) stand as milestones for the efforts international gender equality. Both documents have councils that are in charge of monitoring the progress of those countries that have ratified them with regards to gender equality. Ensuring that each individual country is making progressive strides towards female empowerment are the committees’ primary concerns. While the UDHR states rights as “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” and “everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law”, CEDAW is aimed at specifically ensuring female empowerment, equality, and opportunities worldwide. While gender inequality is still very much a reality of our world today, countries like Kuwait (gave women the right to vote and run for office in 2005) and Bahrain (now allows for the appointment of female judges) are making significant strides towards ending this injustice and promoting the equality we each deserve, gender aside.

-Amanda

Global Obstacles: Week of 7/18 News Roundup

For those of you in the area, hope you’re staying cool indoors or out in the incredible heat today. If you’re indoors, sitting by your computer, this is the perfect opportunity for to you learn about the news this week. To start, the climate in itself was an important issue. The effects of extreme climate around the world was discussed by the Security Council and the UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon supported the concern as peace, security and economies around the world have been and have the potential of being effected.

Along with the concern of world climate, some nations of the world faced major obstacles this week. The week started with a famine that was announced in Somalia. With this announcement, the UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also pushes towards international support of this crisis as assistance is needed from the global community. Are you looking for a way to get involved and help out? There are many ways to get involved through a variety of different organizations and commitments you can make, including 10 suggestions organized through the World Food Programme. An unfortunate crisis was also brought to Norway today, as people were both killed and injured due to a bombing and shooting in the area of the nation’s capital Oslo.

In our own nation this week, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed the FY 2012 Foreign Relations Authorization Act. Better World Campaign Executive Director Peter Yeo expressed his concern that the act passed doesn’t reflect the importance of working together with other countries around the world and will lead to debt owed to the UN when the original focus is to support the US and UN connection. The bill passed will economically effect the plans of the Obama Administration and the international support that the US is able to offer to other nations. However, there is a side that argues that this change in funding may also allow for some focus on our global involvement. We look to see how this decision will effect our future involvement.

-Cara

Ambassadors for a Week: Not Your Average Summer Camp

This past week, UNA-GB broke new ground by hosting our first ever Model UN Summer Institute!  We had nearly 40 youth forgo traditional camp activities like archery, swimming and horse-back riding to participate in a brand new week long camp, working towards becoming the next generation of global advocates, while also experiencing life on a prestigious graduate school campus.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From July 11-15, 39 rising 8th-12th graders immersed themselves in the world of Model UN and worked towards solving the world’s most pressing global challenges at Harvard Business School.  From 9am to 4pm each day of the five-day institute, students were introduced to international relations and critical 21st century skills like negotiation, public speaking and problem-solving through the lens of Model United Nations curriculum, with a culminating simulation of the UN General Assembly Disarmament and International Security Committee focused on international peacekeeping operations. Some of these lessons and activities the students participated included:

By the end of the week, students were well versed in the workings of the United Nations and formal debate, confident in their public speaking, and had made strong bonds with other students sharing their passion for international relations and world issues.  Friday’s simulation came with much anticipation as students arrived to the conference room in business casual attire, eager to attack the day’s proceedings (though bittersweet as well, since it signaled the pending end of camp).  Heavy debate, draft resolutions, and a motion to close debate and end the simulation mixed in with a few laughs and photos characterized the finalization of the MUN Summer Camp and a week the students, and the UNA-GB staff and interns, will not forget.

Don’t just take our word for it!  Check out photos, videoslive tweets and learn more about the week!  And stay tuned for some additional videos coming out featuring more highlights and interviews with the students, as well as a guest blog post from one of the campers.

A special thank you goes to National Grid, one of our fabulous corporate sponsors who offered 10 scholarships for students to attend this year’s camp!

We also hope we can offer additional sessions of camp next year, so more of our future leaders have a chance to step into the shoes of ambassadors!

-Amanda

Meet Our Summer 2011 Interns!

With the summer semester in full swing,
UNA-GB is pleased to introduce our latest team of interns!

Chris Asmar

Education Intern

I am a rising senior at Boston College where I am majoring in Political Science and Islamic Civilization and Societies.  I spent this past semester studying abroad in the Middle East at the American University of Kuwait, where I earned a Certificate in Gulf Studies.  I have been involved with Model United Nations in different ways since my freshman year in high school, and will serve as President of the Boston College Model United Nations for the 2011-2012 academic year.  After graduation, I see myself working either in Foreign Service for the US State Department or for an NGO like Amnesty International.

Nicolas Blake

Education Intern

I am from Berkley, Massachusetts and am an International Studies major at American University in Washington, DC. I am interested in politics – both national and international – economics, and United States foreign policy. I first developed an interest in international affairs while at Somerset High School through participating in Model United Nations (MUN) conferences, including those sponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNA-GB). Based on my own experience in developing academic and professional goals through participation in MUN, I hope to contribute to the UNA-GB’s mission of extending such opportunities to other New England students.  In my free time, I am a proud citizen of Red Sox Nation and consumer of Mad Men DVD’s.

Annie Burrows

Education Intern

I grew up in Brookline and attended public school there.  I went to Connecticut College in New London for my undergraduate degree and then spent a year in Spain studying for my masters in bilingual and multicultural education. I’ve lived in Madrid, Seville, Santiago (DR), and Costa Rica. I speak Spanish and I’m hoping to learn French some day as well. I’m hoping to go to graduate school in the United States or England within the next couple of years, hopefully for International Relations, Higher Education Administration, or some combination of the two. I love to dance, learn about different cultures, try new types of food (eat in general), and play board games.

James Fargher

Education Intern

Born in the United States to British parents, I have been lucky enough
to live both in the US and in Europe and to be a dual citizen.
Currently, I live on Cape Cod and am student at Drew University in New Jersey working towards my BA in History, with minors in Politics, European studies, and possibly French. I have been an avid fan of Model UN, both in high school and university, and take a great interest in international security and strategic studies. Ultimately I hope to earn my Ph.D. in History and rejoin the rest of my family in the UK, working for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, canoeing and music, as well as unashamedly loving board games and murder mystery TV shows.

Amanda Gonzalez

Education Intern

“¡Hola! I am from New York City, the Bronx to be specific, and was
raised in a Puerto Rican-American household. I have made my way to
Boston University from the inner-city school system of New York and will be beginning my last year of undergraduate studies in September. I am currently studying International Relations with a focus on Europe, Business and Economics, and a minor in the Spanish language. I am very excited to be interning with the UNAGB as an education intern this summer as working with the organization hits a passion close to home. Throughout
my academic career I was never exposed to Model of the UN nor international affairs, that is until I came to BU. Now I have the opportunity to educate students on the international affairs, simulations, and Model of the UN conferences that I was unfortunately not exposed to. The earlier we educate and expose the youth of today on the importance of international cooperation, the more promising and capable the adults and world of tomorrow!”

Smriti Kattel

Programs Intern

I was born and grew up in Kathmandu, Nepal, and moved to Boston with my family after high school. I am a senior at Boston University, majoring in International Relations, and minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I have lived through the Nepali Civil War, and the rocky ongoing transition to democracy. Having thus witnessed firsthand what a difference the UN makes in the world, I am a passionate supporter of the UN and UNA-GB. Having lived in both Nepal and the U.S., I see my life as a project of integrating these two very beautiful, yet very different cultures.

Yun-Hee Kim

Education Intern

I was born in Germany, but spent the first half of my childhood in New Jersey. Afterwards, I attended middle and high school in Seoul, Korea. Now, I am currently a rising senior at Tufts University. I major in International Relations and have a minor in English. I recently studied abroad for a semester in Madrid, Spain to improve my fluency with Spanish. After I graduate, I hope to work in governmental foreign affairs or with international organizations. I enjoy reading and writing about my travels, as well as cooking and learning about foods from different countries.

Cara Koenigsberg

Programs Intern

I just graduated a few weeks ago from Suffolk University with a BSBA degree in Global Business and Management. I’m originally from Rumson, New Jersey. I’ve spent my entire life traveling between the US and Italy to visit family, am fluent in English and Italian, and have studied Spanish. I started studying abroad at a young age, to boost my love of traveling, spending a portion of a summer while in high school studying in Cambridge, England, later followed by another summer and year studying abroad in Rome, Italy while in college. While studying abroad in Italy for a year, I also had three internship experiences with focuses in International Affairs and International Travel. I look forward to my internship experience at UNA-GB this summer, with a focus in Social Media, to give me more opportunities to be exposed to the global world as I begin my global career and choose my ‘post-grad’ path, a path that will definitely have an international twist and allow me to travel the world.

Lorianne Lopez

Programs Intern

Studying international relations and learning about different cultures have always been  passions of mine. Growing up in the Philippines, I have been exposed to both traditional and Western cultures through my family and school. My interest in global issues grew even more as I lived in Spain for several months during high school. Currently, I am a senior in Boston College pursuing a major in Economics and a minor in International Studies. As an international student, I have become more aware of the disparities in the standard of living between my country and the US, and I aim to continue working in the NGO sector to learn more about development and hopefully pursue a Masters in that study. I am also the upcoming president of the International Club of Boston College, which aims to promote international issues and foster stronger relations between the international students and the rest of the BC community.

Muzghan Rasul

Programs Intern

I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. My family and I were forced to move to Russia to save our lives. I had to start my life over in Russia. I had to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. I graduated from high school in Moscow, Russia. My journalism studies began in Moscow where I immigrated with my parents, and were interrupted when I moved to the United States. Here in the states I had to start my life over again. I enrolled as a junior in Broadcast journalism field at Emerson College and just graduated in May.  Although I was forced to leave Afghanistan, I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had living in different countries because I have learned about other people’s customs and values. I have a strong interest in international affairs because of my multicultural experience.

Miriam Wong

Education Intern

My name is Miriam Wong and I am a rising sophomore at Brandeis University. I come from Hong Kong and grew up in Guangzhou, China, where I attended an international school with students and teachers from various countries and backgrounds. My interest in development economics and poverty alleviation led me to become actively involved with Positive Foundations, a student organization at Brandeis that advocates, fundraises, and raises awareness about the UN Millennium Development Goals. As an intern at UNAGB, I help prepare for the middle and high school Model United Nations conferences and work with passionate and intelligent future leaders who will be able to make a positive difference in the world. . Some of my hobbies include playing new music on my radio show, watching sitcoms and playing volleyball.