Daily Archives: January 25, 2013

Taste of Japan

Our “Taste of” series are back! Young Professionals kicked off the new year by enjoying authentic Japanese food!

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On the 23rd, a group of 25 YPers came together at Itadaki Boston on Newbury Street for “Taste of Japan.” We gathered in a private room in the basement and had exquisite buffet-style Japanese tapas including ginger salad, Japanese spring rolls, pan fried gyoza, potato croquettes, boiled chicken and lotus root, and sushi rice.

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Akira Muto, Consul General of Japan in Boston, was our guest speaker, and he spoke about his experiences as a diplomat. Also, we had the head chef of the restaurant give a few remarks about the delicious Japanese food that we were served.

While we were enjoying our authentic food, we also played a fun game of trivia in which fun questions about Japan were asked. Some examples of the questions include: What is the name of the academic and research arm of the UN, established in 1973 in Tokyo? United Nations University! What is the name of the tallest mountain in Japan called? Mt. Fuji! What does Itadaki mas mean? “Thank you for your life (everything).”

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All in all, it was a fun night of good food and good company! Check out more photos from the evening here and make sure to join our upcoming events!

The next “Taste Of” event will be in mid-February and we’re focusing on Ethiopia! Stay tuned for more information and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Happy 67th Birthday, United Nations!

October 24, 2012 was United Nations Day, and the UNA-GB celebrated in style! 

The UNA-GB celebrated the 67th anniversary of when the United Nations Charter went into effect. This year, UNA-USA commemorated this special day with more than 170 events around the country hosted by 100 communities in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The UNA-GB was excited to participate in these celebrations at Boston’s City Hall. Fortified with pastries and coffee provided by Rebecca’s Cafe, attendees heard Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s UN Day Message and City of Boston’s UN Day Proclamation.

Mary-Frances Wain, our keynote speaker, is the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Association of the United States of America. Within her engaging speech, Ms. Mary-Frances Wain discussed the importance of finding solutions in three categories: hunger, sickness, and conflict.

In addition, Brooke Loughrin, the first ever U.S. Youth Observer for the United Nations, took some time to share her unique perspective about the UN.

We finished the celebration of international unity by raising the UN Flag at City Hall Plaza. Despite a small flag mishap, we still were able to reflect the impact of United Nations on a local and global level.

How did you celebrate UN Day?

Tweet us @UNAGB or leave a comment on our Facebook! For more pictures of UNA-GB’s UN Day Celebration, click here.

Introducing International Women’s Day 2012

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.

RSVP at http://iwd2012warredefined.eventbrite.com/

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.

RSVP at http://joinmeonthebridge.org/events/massachusetts-ave-bridge

 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

In recognition of Int’l Women’s Day, this conference will take a critical look at international impunity for sexual violence and issue a resounding call to end it.

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.
http://reddemujeres12.eventbrite.com/

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.

Click here

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.

Benefit Show

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

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/events/245509598867806/

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.

http://hvrd.me/AuzJ1b

To learn more about even more events happening in your area, check out the International Women’s Day websiteLet 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!

-Alyson R.

Invest in Healthy Ecosystems

With the global population set to reach 7 billion people later this year food and resource security is becoming increasingly more important. This week a new report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and its partners announced that investing in healthy ecosystems could improve food security, enhance resilience to climate change, as well as provide economic benefits for poor communities.

The report, which was written by over 50 contributors, uses case studies of China, Guatemala, Jordan as well as others to present the issues as well as recommend changes. The three specific areas of change in order to improve food security and reduce stresses on water supplies are detailed as: environmental protection, water resources management and food production. The report also explains that one of the most difficult challenges in improving current levels of food production is the availability of water because it is needed for livestock, crop irrigation, fisheries and other agricultural uses. Likewise, the report also makes recommendations for drylands, wetlands, crop systems, fisheries and livestock systems.


“Maintaining healthy, resilient ecosystems to ensure water availability for agriculture and other ecosystem services is thus essential for long-term food security,” a press release on the report produced by UNEP and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) stated.

Investing in our healthy ecosystems could make huge differences in the everyday and long-term lives of communities around the globe. You can also get involved in a variety of ways, both small and big, through WhyHunger.com – a organization building a movement to end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions. Likewise you can read more about the global food crisis and what the UN is doing to help here.

Here at UNA-GB we will be holding a Women’s Forum Luncheon Roundtable on October 6th, which will focus on Women, Population, and the Millennium Development Goals.  Jane Roberts, a grassroots advocate who is the co-founder of the 34 Million Friends of the UNFPA project will share how supporting gender equality makes a positive impact on all of the MDGs and population issues as a whole. Her contributions in the fields of population, development, the environment, and the human rights of women and girls have led to many recognitions, including a feature chapter in Nicholas Kristof’s NY Times bestseller Half the SkyRSVP now to get involved and join the conversation!

– Alexandra

A Necessary Priority

Check out this week’s blog post from our Get Educated, One Topic At A Time blog series. This week, learn about the importance of women in the world of politics and pursuing political careers. Check out our last four blog posts from the series, as well: “Creating A Road To Democracy”, “A Historical Moment For Genocide”, “Two Sides To Invest” and “An Undefined Grasp Of Failure”. Check back next Monday for a new post!

“With one-half the population, there is simply no reason women should only be represented at one-fifth of the seats at the table.”– U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

In June of 2011, United Nations Women identified women’s political participation and leadership as one of its top five priorities in its first Strategic Plan. Despite the fact that women constitute a little over 50% of the world population, their representation and participation in politics are vastly underrepresented. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, only 20% of parliamentary seats worldwide are currently held by women. Despite being a historic high, it is still far from the Beijing Platform for Action’s target goal of 30% in political participation, said to be the “minimum percentage necessary to ensure a critical mass of women who can influence the decision making processes and political agendas.” The current participation percentage is even further from the United Nations Millennium Goal target for gender parity, which lies between 40 and 60%. Unfortunately, UNIFEM predicts that the critical mass of 30% will not be achieved by 2015.

Egyptian women are also demanding a greater role in their government.

Female underrepresentation in politics and many more institutions can be traced back to the world’s patriarchal legacy. Historically, societies were male dominated, male identified and male centered. The majority of positions in all fields were naturally reserved for men and core cultural ideas and media were centered on male identities. One important movement in response to women oppression was the Feminist movement that began with its first wave in the 19th century, focusing on obtaining women’s right to vote. This was followed by second and third waves that concentrated on wider issues such as inequalities in the workplace, political inequalities, and educational disparity. Another important progress was made in 1979, when the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. This women’s bill of rights suggests measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, including in the political field.

Women in Bangladesh are often pushed into a subordinate role by their social system, resulting in an unfavorable attitude towards women in politics.

Currently, there are only 31 female leaders out of the 192 member states of the United Nations. As of two years ago, women successfully hold 33% or more representation in parliaments in only twelve countries. Worldwide, the ratio of men to women is 4 to 1 in legislatures. Significant progress has been made on international, national and local levels to improve and increase women’s political participation and leadership. Unfortunately, this progress has been slow and has faced resistance in governments historically dominated by men. Women are especially affected in poverty-stricken nations, and they are often the victims of social and cultural factors that prioritize men in education. This expresses the extent that women’s rights and equality is crucial in overall international development, as well as to the successes of all the UN Millennium Development Goals.

-Yun-Hee

Malaria No More Today (and every day after)!

If you have not been aware, now you know that April 25th is World Malaria Day! It is a day to commemorate global efforts to control malaria, examining the progress that has been made toward malaria elimination and to renew efforts toward achieving the target of zero malaria deaths by 2015.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease widespread in tropical and subtropical regions including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Americas. The disease causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases progressing to coma, and even death.

Malaria transmission can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites by distribution of inexpensive mosquito nets and insect repellents, or by mosquito-control measures such as spraying insecticides inside houses and draining standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs.

However, hundreds of thousands of people are still contracting malaria and many of these people are unable to access appropriate and timely, treatment.

All over sub-Saharan Africa, already struggling economies are being battered by the economic burden of the disease, which is estimated to cost Africa $12 billion a year. Malaria remains a leading cause of preventing children to attend schools and work absence putting tremendous pressure on household incomes. In addition, weak health systems are over-burdened by the relentless demand for care and medication.

Reducing the impact of malaria is key to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which are geared towards not only combating the disease itself, but the improvement of women’s and children’s rights to health, access to education and the reduction of extreme poverty.


Photo by Maggie Hallahan/Sumitomo Chemical

World Malaria Day gives us a chance to make a difference.

Help end malaria by 2015! There are many ways you can help to reduce deaths caused by malaria. Donate mosquito nets by visiting NothingButNets.net or find out other ways to get involved at worldmalariaday.org.

Also, check out couple of events hosted by Harvard about Malaria:

Rethinking Malaria: From the Gene to the Globe

A Seminar in Recognition of World Malaria Day 2011

  • When: Tuesday, April 26, 12:00 – 2:00pm
  • Where: Harvard School of Public Health, Francois Xavier Bagnoud Building, Room 301
  • Talks by
    • Sangeeta Bhatia, PhD,Professor of Health Sciences & Technology and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
    • Caroline Buckee, PhD,Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health
    • Günther Fink, PhD, Assistant Professor of International Health Economics, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Sponsored by the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Department of Epidemiology and Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health
  • Lunch will be served – Space is limited – Open to the Harvard community

Malaria Bytes

A Harvard Student Benefit Concert in Commemoration of World Malaria Day

  • When: Wednesday, May 4, 8:00 – 10:30pm
  • Where: Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge
  • Sponsored by the Harvard Malaria Initiative
  • For tickets visit www.cluboberon.com

Help us work today to achieve a malaria-free world tomorrow!

-NaEun