Category Archives: UN Day

Read about how UNA-GB celebrates the anniversary of the UN every year with events, informational posts, and the UN Day Luncheon!

Celebrating 70

Celebrate the birthday of the UN with UNAGB – Click here to learn more and get your tickets to the UN Day Luncheon!!

UN70-logoOn October 24, the world will celebrate United Nations Day and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN.  Founded in 1945 in the wake of World War II, the U.N. has had a full history, from supporting children’s rights to advocating for the end of colonialism and has been awarded a bevy of Nobel Peace Prizes for their effort.

Too often, people forget how much valuable work the UN has done, and continues to do – all with the mission to make the world a better place to live for all living things.

Click here to be reminded of what the UN has done for YOU!
…AND THEN…
Celebrate some of the UN’s greatest accomplishments

that have changed your life and the lives of those around you in the past 70 years (and see more here):

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a big supporter of the UN and helped draft the Declaration of Human Rights

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a big supporter of the UN and helped draft the Declaration of Human Rights

1948 – Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The most famous U.N. document, the Universal Declaration of Human rights was declared in the hopes of never recreating the atrocities of WWII.  It continues to be a driving force behind peacekeeping today.

1959 – Declaration of the Rights of Children
Much like the Declaration of Human rights, the U.N. declares that children must be allowed to “develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.”

1961 – World Food Programme
Established as an emergency relief program for the victims of natural disaster or civil conflict, the WFP now provides food to tens of millions of people every year.

The WHO declared Smallpox 'dead' in 1980 following a global immunization campaign. The last known natural case was in 1977.

The WHO declared Smallpox ‘dead’ in 1980 following a global immunization campaign. The last known natural case was in 1977.

1980 – The Eradication of Smallpox
A 13-year long effort by the World Health Organizations results in the eradication of the smallpox disease from the planet.

1987 – Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
The United Nations acknowledges the weakening of the protective ozone layer encircling the earth and all 197 member states ratify the treaty, setting the groundwork for the Montreal Protocol.

1995 – Fourth World Conference on Women and the Beijing Platform
On the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, delegates launch the Declaration and Platform for Action, aimed at achieving greater equality and opportunity for women.

In response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami, some UN efforts included: UN World Food Programme delivered rations in 20 days to over 1 million survivors; UNICEF provided more than 30,000 blankets, sleeping mats, water tanks, medical supplies, water purification pills and clothing; UNDP gave $10,000 each to Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Maldives and Thailand to help coordinate emergency needs; UN Population Fund gave $1,000,000 to ensure special health needs of pregnant and nursing women were met.

In response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami, some UN efforts included: UN World Food Programme delivered rations in 20 days to over 1 million survivors; UNICEF provided blankets, sleeping mats, water tanks, medical supplies, water purification pills and clothing; UNDP gave a total of $50,000 to help coordinate emergency needs; UN Population Fund gave $1,000,000 to ensure special health needs of pregnant and nursing women were met.

2000 – Millennium Goals
To acknowledge the arrival of a new millennium, the U.N. passes an ambition set of goals to address poverty, disease, infant and maternal mortality, HIV, and an array of other global issues.

2004 – Indian Ocean Tsunami
The U.N. responds to catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami with relief fund that goes on to raise a record-breaking more than $6.25 billion.

2010 – U.N. Women
The general assembly creates UN Women, the UN agency for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

What will the UN do in the next 70 years??

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Why YOU want to be at the UN Day Luncheon

It is Fall, the temperatures are dropping, and the leaves are changing colors. Do you know what that means? Drumroll! UNA-GB is pleased to announce its 2014 United Nations Day Luncheon! This years’ event will take place on Monday, December 8th at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Register now before it is too late!

Since 1948, United Nations has been celebrating the Anniversary of its founding in 1945 through UN Day. According to the UN, it should be an occasion for “governments and peoples to reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter”.  Since 2000, UNA-GB has celebrated the international holiday with our annual luncheon, gathering leaders from the business 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.

Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, David Donoghue, with United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon.

This years’ Luncheon will focus on Ireland, the world leader in quality of life. USA and Ireland have relations that go way back, from values that our ancestors shared, to emigration. Two of the most important areas that the two governments share are education and medical research. Ireland’s membership in the European Union has helped its relations with United States, especially in areas such as trade and economic policy. Besides trade and economics, United States and Ireland hold a unique bond: millions of American citizens have some ancestral connection with Ireland. Boston is known to have the highest population of Irish people in the whole United States! And this is one of the many reasons why you should attend this amazing event! Still wondering why you really need to honor us with your attendance?

Here are a few more reasons we can think of:

1.  Ambassador David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations will be there.

2. He will be our keynote speaker. Read all about him here.

3. Our attendees will include individuals and companies who are actively engaged in global affairs, as well as who have a commitment to global education in the Boston community and a desire to foster dialogue among a diverse set of companies, peoples and nations.

4. There will be opportunities to network with professionals, consuls, and other individuals who are dedicated to promoting the founding principles of the United Nations.

5. Members of the UNA-GB, professionals of all ages, Consuls from a variety of Consulates in Boston, and most importantly, YOU will have the opportunity to discuss anything from national issues/achievements to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with like-minded people who support the work of the United Nations.

Delegates voting on a resolution

 

6. It’s a good excuse to get out of the office (or school or the house) and enjoy some delicious food at one of Boston’s finest landmarks!
7. You will be supporting UNA-GB’s programs, which aim to educate today’s  youth and tomorrow’s leaders!

 

 

 

Convinced? Then hurry up and sign up to attend 2014 UN Day Luncheon here!!

 UNDayLuncheon14

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Attend UN Day Luncheon 2013!

It’s officially fall (and pretty chilly in Boston)…which means it’s once again time to celebrate United Nations Day with UNA-GB! The office honored UN Day last week on October 24th by raising the UN flag above Boston City Hall, did anyone spot it?

UN Day, which has been celebrated every year since 1948, recognizes the creation of the United Nations and its founding principles of peace, cooperation, and collective action. This year, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon echoed these founding ideals in his address: “we continue to show what collective action can do. We can do even more. In a world that is more connected, we must be more united. On United Nations Day, let us pledge to live up to our founding ideals and work together for peace, development, and human rights.”

In a more formal celebration of UN Day, UNA-GB is hosting its annual UN Day Luncheon on Tuesday, November 5th (next week!) from 12:30 to 2 pm at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Why should you honor us with your attendance? Here are a few reasons we can think of!

1) Ambassador Nicholas Burns will be there.

Ambassador Burns

Not only will he be there – he’ll be delivering the keynote speech on “America’s Global Challenges 2014.” Ambassador Burns served in the US Foreign Service for twenty-seven years, during which time he was appointed Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador to NATO, Ambassador to Greece, and State Department Spokesman.

He worked on the National Security Council staff as Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Affairs and was Special Assistant to President Clinton and Director for Soviet Affairs for President George H.W.Bush. He is currently Professor of the Practice of International Relations  at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the Programs on the Middle East and on India and South Asia, as well as Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project. Burns is also the Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group, and serves on the Board of Directors of Entegris, Inc.

You may have read some of his work in The Boston Globe, where he writes a bi-weekly column on foreign affairs.

2) Special guests, Georg Kell and Jonas Haertle will also be there.

                                                    

Mr. Kell and Mr. Haertle are this year’s Global Corporate Citizenship Honor Roll guests! The honor roll recognizes Massachusetts-based companies who have signed on to key business principles through the UN Global Compact.

Georg Kell is the Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative with 8,000 corporate participants in 145 countries. A key architect of the Global Compact, he has led the initiative since its founding in 2000, establishing the most widely recognized multi-stakeholder network and action platform to advance responsible business practices. Mr. Kell joined the United Nations in 1987, and has been at the leading edge of the organization’s private-sector engagement ever since.

Jonas Haertle is Head of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) secretariat of the  United Nations Global Compact Office. The mission of the PRME initiative is to inspire and champion responsible management education, research and thought leadership globally. In his role as coordinator for Global Compact Local Networks he works with the country networks in Latin America and the Caribbean. Mr. Haertle holds a master’s degree in European Studies of Hamburg University. As a Fulbright scholar, he also attained a MSc degree in Global Affairs from Rutgers University.

3) There will be opportunities to network with professionals, consuls, and other individuals who are dedicated to promoting the founding principles of the United Nations!

luncheonnetworking

Members of the UNA-GB, professionals of all ages, Consuls from a variety of Consulates in Boston, and most importantly, YOU will have the opportunity to discuss anything from national issues/achievements to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, to the chilly Boston weather! This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with like-minded people who support the work of the United Nations.

4) It’s a good excuse to get out of the office (or school or the house) and enjoy some delicious food!

meal

Could there be a better incentive? The Boston Park Plaza Hotel will serve some delicious appetizers, entrees, and desserts! It is a chance to spend a few hours out of the office/school, enjoy great company, and have a tasty meal at a swanky hotel…what more could you ask for?

5) You will be supporting UNA-GB’s programs, which aim to educate today’s  youth and tomorrow’s leaders!

una-gb-260

Funds raised from ticket sales and sponsorships at the UN Day Luncheon directly support UNA-GB’s community events and classroom-based programs, which serve more than 5,000 participants annually in greater Boston.

Convinced? Then what are you waiting for?! Sign up to attend UN Day Luncheon 2013 today!

Written by: Eliza Berg, Programs Intern

UN Day of the Girl Child: “Innovating for Girls’ Education”

On Thursday, October 10th, Katrina Sousounis introduced Girl Rising to about two hundred and sixty attendees at a film screening hosted by UNA-GB. She explained that the most pervasive issues affecting the people of the world today (including poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, violence) disproportionately affect young women. Katrina finished the speech with a call for educational reform to give opportunities to women everywhere, and ended with this quote from the film: “Boys need to believe in girls, and girls need to learn to believe in themselves.”

Katrina is 13 years old.

UNAGB Girl Rising Girl Up

Katrina and the Girl Up Club of the R.J. Grey Junior High School

Founder of the first Girl Up club in Massachusetts, Katrina was inspired to try and solve the problems so carefully outlined in her speech. Her club is part of an organization founded to help girls and young women around the world to reach their full potential by ensuring that they are educated, safe, well-fed, and guaranteed basic human rights.

Because of this, Katrina was asked to introduce Girl Rising at UNA-GB’s screening of the film on Thursday, which was a fundraiser for Girl Up. Her presence and hard work demonstrate a distinctive part of Girl Up’s message: to help girls reach their potential around the world, we must empower girls themselves to effect the change that they want to see.UNAGB Girl Rising Film Screening

Girl Rising is the story of nine girls from around the world: Sokha from Cambodia, Wadley from Haiti, Suma from Nepal, Yasmin from Egypt, Azmera from Ethiopia, Ruksana from India, Senna from Peru, Mariama from Sierra Leone, and Amina from Afghanistan. Each girl was paired with a writer from her country to help tell her story. Each story is artistically captured differently, with varying experiences when it comes to cultural restraints, parental support, and environmental circumstances. In essence, Girl Rising is a movement to deliver a “simple, critical truth: educate girls and you will change the world.”

The UNA-GB decided to screen this film to get a dialogue started to help men, women, boys and girls in Boston and elsewhere think about solutions to various forms of discrimination against girls around the world. After the film, a musical group called “Women of the World”, which sings in 21 different languages, performed. They chose a song that resonated with the idea that together, we can create positive change.

UNAGB Girl Rising Women of the World

Women of the World Perform at “Girl Rising” Screening

In 2011, the UN declared October 11th as the first annual tribute to its goal to improve gender equality everywhere. This year, the theme of the day is “Innovating for Girls’ Education.” It sounds simple enough, but the task of ensuring that girls worldwide are educated is complex, both in implementation and consequence.

What exactly is keeping girls from going to school?

A wide breadth of causes keep girls out of school each day. Governmental policies and social issues alike can keep girls and boys out of school. Here are a few major perpetrators:

  • School is not free everywhere, and many poor families cannot afford to send any or all of their children to school. In some countries, boys are sent to school while girls stay home and work.
  • It can be dangerous: in 2012, Save the Children reported that there were more than 3,600 attacks on education around the world.
  • About half of all girls living in the world’s least developed countries are married before the age of 18. Child marriage greatly decreases a girl’s likelihood of finishing school, according to World Vision.
  • Lack of sanitary protection means that girls may miss up to five days of school a month
  • When basic needs aren’t being met and students are not healthy or well-fed, school may be a low priority.
  • There may not be a school within walking distance, especially in rural areas.
  • Governmental policies and societal norms can make it illegal  or abnormal for girls to become educated

So, how exactly does educating girls help the world?

  • According to the UN: “When girls are able to stay in school and avoid being married early, they can build a foundation for a better life for themselves and their families and participate in the progress of their nations.”
  • Educated mothers educate their children; this not only breaks the cycle of poverty, but their sons will be more inclined to educate their daughters.
  • UNICEF connected discrimination against women and girls and hunger. Child malnutrition in South Asia is highly linked to women’s limited access to education and difficulties with finding paid employment.

What can you do?

  •  Education, education, education! Educate yourself by exploring the issue even more- try checking out some of the links below
  • Donate! Visit Girl Up’s website, or one of the other initiatives below, to give to the cause.
  • Become an activist! Join one of the causes below, or create your own!

Happy International Day of the Girl Child!

Sources/More Information:

School Girls Unite!
Girl Rising
 Girl Up

UN Day of the Girl Child
http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/index.shtml
http://dayofthegirl.org/actnow/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/11/international-day-of-girl-child_n_4080681.html?utm_hp_ref=impact

UN Day Luncheon

On Monday, December 4 UNA-GB celebrated our 13th annual UN Day Luncheon. Hurricane Sandy may have interfered with our plans to celebrate on October 29th but that  could not stop the Luncheon from happening and being a fun and informational event for all. Celebrating at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, we took this chance to honor Brazil, our growing education program and corporations that show strong corporate social responsibility. These businesses included members of the UN Global Compact, Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (PRI), and Principles for Responsible Management Education. All of these groups are dedicated to championing the cause of human rights, labor laws and above all anti-corruption. seeing so many organizations working to fight these problems that have plagued us for centuries is enough to give one hope for the future. If one person can make a difference then think of what we can all do together.

Along with speeches from our wonderful sponsors we were fortunate to have the Consul General of Brazil, Ambassador Fernando de Mello Barreto, join us as our keynote speaker for the event. He spoke of Brazil’s rising stature in the world as a global power as well as its impressive reduction of deforestation in the Brazilian jungles. Following his speech there was a brief Q&A with the ambassador which proved quite informative as well as entertaining.

 

 

 

 

(Ambassador Fernando de Mello Barreto addressing the audience)

On top of all these wonderful guests we also took time to hear from our very own fearless leaders, Lena Granberg and Richard Golob as they talked about the importance of events like these in the global community as we move forward into the future. The generosity of our guests at events such as this help expand our education programs, which currently reach around 3,000 students per year in Massachusetts.

All in all, we here at UNA-GB are  pleased that everyone could make it out to celebrate the UN at the luncheon, regardless of the rescheduling and would like to thank, from the bottom of our hearts, everyone that supported us on Tuesday.

That’s it for this semester of interns, but don’t worry, we’ll be back after the holidays!

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.

Announcing our 2012 UN Day Luncheon!

UNA-GB is pleased to announce our upcoming 2012 UN Day Luncheon; the signature event will take place on Monday, Oct 29th at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. United Nations Day celebrates the Anniversary of the UN’s founding in 1945.  According to the UN, it should be an occasion for “governments and peoples to reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter”.  Since 2000, UNA-GB has celebrated the international holiday with our annual luncheon, gathering leaders from the business 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. Funds raised at the UN Day Luncheon directly support UNA-GB’s community events and classroom-based programs.

This year’s luncheon will focus on Brazil, a formidable leader in global affairs. Brazil represents the largest national economy in Latin America, just finished a 2 year term on the UN Security Council, hosted the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June (Rio+20), and will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Brazil is not only an international powerhouse but also ever-present in the greater Boston community. Massachusetts boasts one of the highest populations of Brazilian immigrants in the nation with Framingham having the highest concentration of Brazilians in the state. The Commonwealth has seen an explosion of Brazilian-owned businesses, particularly in Allston-Brighton, in the last ten years from manufacturing, to culinary and financial services.

Brazil has also become more interested in doing business in Massachusetts and the Patrick administration has reciprocated this interest through their trade mission in late 2011. Governor Patrick along with representatives from Mass-based companies toured Brazil in an effort to establish and strengthen business partnerships in one of the world’s fastest growing markets. Additionally, when President Dilma Rousseff visited the US in 2011, she made two stops: Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill. This fall’s luncheon will be the perfect opportunity to bridge Brazil and Boston, global and local, as we celebrate Brazil’s influence in the Commonwealth and look forward to an even stronger relationship between the two.

UNA-GB is thrilled to welcome our keynote speaker for the afternoon, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil’s permanent representative to the UN. AmbassadorViotti has worked in the foreign service for three decades, and been an integral part of Brazilian decisions on international economics, development and human rights.

In addition to the Ambassador’s remarks, the luncheon will feature our second annual Global Corporate Citizenship Honor Roll, which recognizes Massachusetts-based corporations who have signed onto the UN Global Compact, Principles for Responsible Investment, or the Principles for Responsible Management Education. UNA-GB is happy to acknowledge these model companies – and, in particular, we welcome 7 new signatories to our honor roll this year.  We’re glad the commitment to global sustainability and ethical business practices is growing in Massachusetts!

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You can experience firsthand a glimpse of the Luncheon below, with the video recap from  our 2011 Luncheon and see more photos here.

UN DAY 2011

As Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said regarding UN Day 2011, “In our increasingly interconnected world, we all have something to give and something to gain by working together.” In 1947 and now more than ever, the United Nations’ mission compels us as global citizens to unite in action to foster an improved international environment. Although the UN operates throughout the globe, the organization continues to need our support. On this day, we look to not only recognize the work of the UN, but also our own efforts, within our communities in Massachusetts and beyond, that contribute to a better world. On UN Day, UNA-GB not only thanks our community for their support of our organization and of the UN, but also urges us to look forward and ask ourselves what we can do locally to become better global citizens.

We hope you will join the UNA-GB community (a special shout out to our current 2012 sponsors, listed below) on October 29 to celebrate and recognize the United Nations’ impact locally and globally!  Stay tuned for more details over the next couple of months as they develop!

-Jessica Pires

2012 UN Day Luncheon Sponsors (as of August 7, 2012)
For those interested in joining as a sponsor, please contact Kaitlin Hasseler.

GreaterMediaR

Breckinridge Capital Advisors

Brandeis University International Business School

Celebrate the 63rd Birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights!!

Tomorrow, December 10th 2011, global citizens around the world will celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on December 10th, 1948. We have come a long way since 1948 in regards to human rights and this year we have a new player in the game to thanks: social media!

In the words of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “many of the people seeking their legitimate aspirations were linked through social media. Gone are the days when repressive governments could totally control the flow of information. Today, within their existing obligation to respect the rights of freedom of assembly and expression, governments must not block access to the internet and various forms of social media as a way to prevent criticism and public debate”.

From Tunis to Madrid, from Cairo to New York, citizens across the globe have been standing up for their rights as humans through peaceful protest movements using social media tools. Even the High Commissioner for Human Rights hosted a global conversation on human rights this morning, December 9th, through social media. Missed the conversation or interested in learning more? Click here!

Continuing with the celebrations, the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to three amazing women, all leaders in the worldwide struggle for women’s rights. Liberian
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Leymah Gbowee, a social worker and peace campaigner from the same country, will share the prize with Tawakkul Karman, an activist and journalist who this year played a key opposition role in Yemen. These three inspiring women, who were chosen “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work,” will be honored with a weekend full of festivities in Oslo, Norway. Click here to learn more about the laureates and the weekend’s events!

In the Boston community, the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Harvard Kennedy School held a celebration on December 1 to celebrate not only Human Rights Day but also the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International. For more information on this event, click here!

Want to get involved?! With social media being a crucial tool in this year’s accomplishments, you can participate in this years celebrations by utilizing your favorite social media. Click here to learn more about your rights and spread the word by making a wish for universal human rights!

Help us celebrate universal human rights and the brave global citizens who stand up for them!

Check out other Human Rights Day celebrations happening around the world!

Fun Fact: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is THE most universal document in the world! The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been awarded the Guinness World Record for having collected, translated and disseminated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into more than 380 languages and dialects: from Abkhaz to Zulu. The Universal Declaration is thus the most translated document – indeed, the most “universal” one in the world.

-Jen Jones

UN Day Luncheon 2011: Celebrating 66 Years of UN Success!


Planning and executing an event worthy enough to celebrate the 66 years of the UN‘s critical work promoting peace and prosperity for all is a daunting challenge, but once again, UNA-GB rose to the challenge with this year’s 12th annual UN Day Luncheon, held on Friday, October 28 at the Boston Harbor Hotel.  The Luncheon was a wonderful gathering of Boston’s global citizens celebrating the UN and its mission and the ways we bring that mission to fruition in our community, corporate offices and classrooms!

Honorary Committee member Toni Wolfman, UNAGB Board Member Gillian Kellogg and keynote speaker Gillian Sorensen, all Smith College alumna.

The day started off with a Private Reception at 11:30 am, in the Rotunda on the 9th floor of the Boston Harbor Hotel, overlooking the gorgeous Boston harbor on a crisp but sunny fall day.  The reception provided networking time for the Luncheon’s sponsors, honorary committee and special invited guests with Gillian Sorensen, the keynote speaker, as well as light refreshments before the main luncheon, which started at 12:30 pm. After the reception, guests were escorted downstairs to the Boston Harbor Hotel’s Wharf Room, where all attendees began their meal, which included a special UN-inspired dessert of chocolate espresso cake with a sugar dove.  The program began with opening remarks and a birthday toast to the UN from UNA-GB President Richard Golob.

UNAGB Executive Director Lena Granberg presenting the UN Peace Bowl to Larry Finkelstein.

Executive Director Lena Granberg then introduced UNA-GB’s 2011 Leadership Awards and two worthy recipients. The Leadership Award is given every year to recognize outstanding contributions by Boston leaders to the local and international community that reflect the principles of the United Nations. This year’s recipients at the UN Day Luncheon were Daniel Cheever, chairman emeritus of UNA-GB, and Lawrence Finkelstein, UNA-GB Advisory Council member, both longtime supporters of UNA-GB and the UN.  In fact, both were present during the founding of the UN 66 years ago, so it was a fitting recognition of their significant support and accomplishments.   We raised our glasses to salute Dan and Larry for their leadership and commitment as Lena presented Larry with the traditional UN Peace Bowl.

Following the Leadership Award presentation, Carol Fulp, Massachusetts UN Day Chair and UN Day Luncheon Honorary Chair (and fellow 2011 Leadership Award recipient), introduced our Keynote speaker, Gillian Sorensen. Gillian Sorensen is a seasoned UN expert having served under two Secretaries-General,  Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros-Ghali. She is currently a Senior Advisor at the United Nations Foundation and is a national advocate on matters relating to the UN and UN-US relations.  Gillian addressed the luncheon with grace and wisdom on the topic of “The US and the UN: Facing the Crises of Our Time,” shedding light on the important work of the UN and the critical issues we face both as a nation and as global citizens.  Gillian closed her remarks by answering a few thoughtful, intelligent questions from the audience, including conversation around the pending legislation in the House regarding defunding the UN.

The luncheon closed with UNA-GB’s first ever Global Corporate Citizenship Honor Roll, an annual tradition in the making. With this Honor Roll, UNA-GB recognized the Massachusetts-based companies who have signed on to key UN business principles. These key business principles are the UN Global Compact, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).

More than 20 companies and academic institutions were on hand to be recognized at the Luncheon; there are currently more than 30 signatories in Massachusetts.  For a complete list of the Massachusetts-based companies and academic institutions who are signatories, click here.  We hope to see the list grow over the next years, as more companies in our community take a leadership role on sustainability and human rights!

At the end of the day, the global community of Boston had a great time celebrating the 66 years of the United Nations and UNA-GB’s work locally, and inspired the nearly 200 participants to continue to support UNA-GB’s core mission: building a grassroots network of global citizens.  Businesses, individuals, students, middle schoolers – all are necessary to make a difference now and for generations to come!

UNA-GB would like to thank our sponsors and partners for all of their support: the British School of Boston, Clark University Graduate School of Management, GGA Software Services, LLC, Ocean Spray, and the New England College of Business and Finance.

Also, a BIG thank you to these local businesses for their generous in-kind donations for our UN Day 2011 activities: Sweet Cupcakes, Dean’s Beans, and Compassed!

Missed the event? Want to view more photos from the Luncheon? Click here!

-Jen Jones

United Nations Day 2011: Celebrating the past, present and future

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.

UNA-GB President Richard Golob, ED Lena Granberg and MA UN Day Chair Carol Fulp with MUN leader Bianca Diaz.

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