Daily Archives: September 19, 2012

An evening with Michael Dukakis!

Now that summer is gone and fall is in the air, UNA-GB kick-started another great year with its Annual Meeting held on the evening of September 13th.

Former Governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis

The Annual Meeting was a great opportunity to meet with the Boston community and share with them what we’ve been doing throughout the past year and our plans for the next 12 months. This year’s meeting started off with a Board meeting, which was open to the public. Following that, the Annual Meeting began with the opening remarks from UNA-GB’s Executive Director, Lena Granberg, who briefly spoke about the highlights of the year and introduced our new staff members, Allison Smith, Programs and Administrative Assistant, and Nuray Zerbe, Development and Partnerships Associate. UNA-GB’s President Richard Golob presented the successful works that UNA-GB has made throughout the year, addressed its remarkable growth in the Boston community, and shared our agenda for the upcoming year. In addition, he spotlighted a number of local UN Day events to engage the public in recognizing the anniversary of the United Nations, such as the annual UN Day Luncheon, this year with special keynote speaker Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil’s permanent representative to the UN.

From left to right: Nate Tassinari, Young Professionals Network; Lena Granberg, Signature Programs; Patricia Chilangwa, Women’s Forum; and Rebecca Corcoran, Model UN Programs.

The panel discussion gave insights of our programs and priorities in 2012. Among speakers were Rebecca Corcoran, Model UN Programs; Nate Tassinari, Young Professionals Network; Patricia Chilangwa, Women’s Forum; and Lena Granberg, Signature Programs. Each panel of speakers began with trivia questions and discussed how each program has served the community. If you missed the meeting and want to catch up on recent UNA-GB events or upcoming programs, click here to learn more.

For this year’s Kimball Lecture, Michael Dukakis, Former Massachusetts Governor and Former US Presidential Candidate, gave the keynote address, “Strengthening International Institutions – Now.” Dukakis served as the 65th and 67th Governor of Massachusetts and is known as the longest serving governor in Massachusetts history. He gave an inspiring speech on international peace and security.

Kimball Lecture and Q&A: “Strengthening International Institutions- Now” presented by Former Governor Michael Dukakis

The Kimball Lecture is given annually in memory of Professors Chase and Mary Lee Evans Kimball. Chase and Mary Lee were lifelong supporters and promoters of participation and responsible leadership of the US in international organizations, starting with fervent advocacy of the United States entry in the League of Nations. Chase, a lawyer and professor of international relations, and Mary Lee, a professor of French, were enthusiastic and loyal supporters of the United Nations Association of Greater Boston and the UN Council of the South Shore.

Annual Robert F. Meagher Wine & Cheese Around the World Reception

The evening wrapped up with the “Robert F. Meagher Wine & Cheese Around the World” reception, to recognize the contributions and legacy of long-time UNA-GB Board Member Bob Meagher.  Everyone who attended the meeting enjoyed wines and cheeses from all over the world including Chile, France, Spain, Ireland, Australia, Portugal, and South Africa.

From the open Board meeting to the Wine & Cheese Reception, UNA-GB’s 2012 Annual Meeting was a huge success in bringing community members together and showing our support for the ideals and mission of the UN.

Check out more pictures from our Annual Meeting on our Facebook page!

We always welcome you to be with us. Become a member today and join us in our upcoming events. For more information on how to get involved with UNA-GB, check out the Get Involved tab on our website.

United Nations Day 2011: In Everyone’s Interest

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.

It’s not too late to get involved in many of our UN Day events! You can still purchase tickets to our UN Day Luncheon on the 28th and join us for the UN flag raising and mini-simulation on the 24th!

Help us celebrate 66 years of peace, justice and prosperity with the UN and the importance of thinking globally and acting locally!

-UNA-GB staff

A Humanitarian’s World

“Let those we honour today inspire us to start our own journey to make the world a better place and bring our human family more closely together.”         -UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Today is World Humanitarian Day, which was established on December 11, 2008 in honor of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, an outstanding humanitarian that tragically lost his life in Baghdad, along with 21 other U.N. personnel, on this day in 2003. Along with the United Nations and governments all over the world, this day is recognized to pay tribute to the hard work, perseverance and dedication of humanitarian workers as they continue to sacrifice their lives to ease the suffering of people in crises. This year’s theme is “people helping people”, encouraging more involvement throughout the world. Check out some amazing stories from humanitarians helping around the world and artists spreading the word through music in a special music video made for this year’s recognition day.

Looking back, this past year has been plagued with humanitarian crises. Newspaper headlines all over the world tell stories from soldiers in Afghanistan to children suffering through the famine in East Africa and more. But what you don’t see in the front page are the people behind the scenes who have risked everything to assist the citizens of countries going through economic and political crises. They are the humanitarian workers who have gone beyond their call of duty to assure victims that there is hope and that they are not alone. During this World Humanitarian Day, the world recognizes the humanitarian workers that have gone through extraordinary measures to aid the victims of these crises. From Haiti to Somalia, their presence around the world have touched countless lives and helped save millions. You can make a difference in many ways which could include helping them raise awareness on the many humanitarian issues plaguing our global community and  the Millennium Development Goals or volunteering. The International Institute of Boston also welcomes you to celebrate this day with them through volunteer work. Whatever you choose to do, whichever cause you wish to undertake, know that you are making a difference.

-Lorainne Marie S. Lopez

Local Relief Efforts for Japan

A little over a month ago, on March 11th, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Japan. It was the largest recorded earthquake in the country’s history, causing untold damage, numerous deaths, and a devastating tsunami. Numerous relief and humanitarian organizations from around the world jumped in to help and support the hundreds of thousands of victims of this natural disaster. One of these organizations — the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund — is located right here in Boston and has been instrumental in providing its services to the Japanese people.

We asked the co-founder of the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund, Ms. Atsuko Toko Fish, to provide us with more detailed insights both into the organization and the overall situation in Japan so that we could share this information with all of you. Below are her responses to our questions.

1) What is the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund?

In order to provide Kibou (Hope) to Japanese people, The Boston Foundation, Japan Society of Boston and the Fish Family Foundation have established the “Japanese Disaster Relief Fund – Boston.” The purpose of the Fund is to provide immediate relief to affected individuals and communities in Northeast Japan. 100% of funds raised will go toward these relief and sustaining efforts and we anticipate that the Fund will be expended within two years.

The Fund will prioritize immediate relief through supporting local NGOs and communities on the ground best positioned to aid those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Our intention is to disperse these short-term funds as quickly as possible. We anticipate the needs assessment, due diligence, and fund allocation for short-term aid will be completed within approximately 3 months. Over the next two years, the remaining funds will be distributed periodically for mid-to longer term aid.

2) How does it differ from other relief organizations?

This Fund is a unique collaboration with three nonprofit organizations, the Boston Foundation, The Japan Society of Boston and the Fish Family Foundation. Our expertise in grant making and our networks in Japan enable us to make direct impact grants to organizations and communities in Tohoku. In addition, all administrative costs of the fund – including on-the-ground needs assessment and due diligence in Japan— are covered by the Fish Family Foundation.

3) What is needed the most in Japan right now?

What the people of Japan need is Hope. They have lost their homes and livelihoods. They need to rebuild their lives again. They need temporary shelters, medical attention, and better sanitation systems. Many elderly people are experiencing severe health conditions after being taken out of their care environment.   In addition, the children need to return back to their schools and begin a normal life again.

4) How long do you think the recovery process will take?

It is hard to anticipate. Sources say it will take more than 5 years for the region to rebuild itself again.

5) How can individuals support the Japanese Relief Fund?

You can support the grantee organizations of the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund – Boston by donating through our website (http://japanesedisasterrelieffund.org) and attending the fundraising events in the Upcoming Events page. We have many fantastic restaurants, businesses, and communities in Boston holding events to support our Fund. It is a great way to spend your weekend to help those in need.

In addition, we are getting involved with social media to actively promote the fund. Please follow us at @jdrfb on twitter and “Japanese Disaster Relief Fund –Boston” on facebook.

6) How has the Boston community responded so far to the disaster in Japan?

The Boston community has been an incredible source of support. For example, the medical community has come together to form the Boston-Japan Medical Relief Initiative to send a group of Japanese doctors to support relief efforts near the evacuee sites. We approved a $30,000 grant to this group for travel expenses and emergency medical supplies for the first two teams of Boston doctors. The first team of doctors will be returning from Japan very shortly.

7) How can the Boston community get more informed and active?

Please keep your thoughts with the victims of the earthquake and the tsunami in Japan. They have lost their families, homes, and livelihoods. The local NGOs and volunteer communities need our financial support to assist these individuals. Please visit http://japanesedisasterrelieffund.org for donations. In addition, we are happy to review proposals for fundraising plans. Please email us with your contact information and a brief fundraising proposal at info.jdrfb@gmail.com.

Please consider supporting the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund today!