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Honoring Our Presidents’ Words

In remembrance of President’s Day on Monday (Feb 20), let’s see what our past and present president(s) have to say about the United States. Below are the words of 12 twelve extremely influential men, 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans all agreed of the significant role the UN continues to play within the government.  (Special thanks to UNA-OKC for compiling this list!)
“I can assure you that the Government and the people of the United States are deeply proud and grateful that the United Nations has chosen our country for its headquarters. We will extend the fullest measure of cooperation in making a home for the United Nations in this country. The American people welcome the delegates and the Secretariat of the United Nations as good neighbors and warm friends….

“The overwhelming majority of the American people, regardless of party, support the United Nations. They are resolved that the United States, to the full limit of its strength, shall contribute to the establishment and maintenance of a just and lasting peace among the nations of the world.”

–Harry S Truman

October 23, 1946

“Never before in history has so much hope for so many people been gathered together in a single organization…. But the great tests and the great accomplishments still lie ahead. And in the confident expectation of those accomplishments, I would use the office which, for the time being, I hold, to assure you that the Government of the United States will remain steadfast in its support of this body. This we shall do in the conviction that you will provide a great share of the wisdom, of the courage and of the faith which can bring to this world lasting peace for all nations, and happiness and well-being for all men.”

–Dwight D. Eisenhower

December 8, 1953

 

“Disarmament without checks is but a shadow, and a community without law is but a shell. Already the United Nations has become both the measure and the vehicle of man’s most generous impulses. Already it has provided… a means of holding man’s violence within bounds.”

–John F. Kennedy

September 25, 1961

 

 

“We are more than ever opposed to the doctrines of hate and violence, in our own land and around the world. We are more than ever committed to the rule of law, in our own land and around the world. We believe more than ever in the rights of man, all men of every color, in our own land and around the world. And more than ever we support the United Nations as the best instrument yet devised to promote the peace of the world and to promote the well-being of mankind….

“The United States wants to cooperate with all the members of this Organization to conquer everywhere the ancient enemies of mankind — hunger, and disease and ignorance….”

–Lyndon B. Johnson

December 17, 1963

 

“The changes in the world since World War II have made more compelling than ever the central idea behind the United Nations: that individual nations must be ready at last to take a farsighted and a generous view. The profoundest national interest of our time –for every nation — is not immediate gain, but the preservation of peace.”

–Richard M. Nixon

October 23, 1970

 

“There is no limit… to our determination to act in concert with other nations to fulfill the vision of the United Nations Charter, to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and to promote social progress and better standards, better standards of life in a larger freedom.”

–Gerald R. Ford

September 18, 1974

 

 

“The United States is committed to the peaceful settlement of differences. We are committed to the strengthening of the peacemaking capabilities of the United Nations….”

–Jimmy Carter

October 4, 1977

 

 

 

“The United Nations is dedicated to world peace, and its charter clearly prohibits the international use of force. Yet the tide of belligerence continues to rise…. We must not only condemn aggression; we must enforce the dictates of our charter and resume the struggle for peace….

“I have come to this hall to call for international recommitment to the basic tenet of the

United Nations Charter — that all members practice tolerance and live together in peace as good neighbors under the rule of law, forsaking armed force as a means of settling disputes between nations….

“We, who have signed the U.N. Charter, have pledged to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territory or independence of any state. In these times when more and more lawless acts are going unpunished — as some members of this very body show a growing disregard for the U.N. Charter — the peace-loving nations of the world must condemn aggression and pledge again to act in a way that is worthy of the ideals that we have endorsed. Let us finally make the charter live.”

–Ronald Reagan

June 17, 1982

 

“The United States is committed to playing its part, helping to maintain global security, promoting democracy and prosperity. And my administration is fully committed to supporting the United Nations and to paying what we are obliged to pay by our commitment to the Charter. International peace and security, and international freedom and prosperity, require no less.”

–George H.W. Bush

October 1, 1990

 

“Fifty years ago, as the conference that gave birth to the United Nations got underway in San Francisco, a young American war hero recorded his impressions of that event for a newspaper. ‘The average G.I. in the street doesn’t seem to have a very clear-cut conception of what this meeting’s about,’wrote the young John F. Kennedy. But one bemedaled Marine sergeant gave the general reaction when he said, ‘I don’t know much about what’s going on, but if they just fix it so we don’t have to fight anymore, they can count me in.’

“Well, the United Nations has not ended war, but it has made it less likely, and helped many nations to turn from war to peace. The United Nations has not stopped human suffering, but it has healed the wounds and lengthened the lives of millions of human beings. The United Nations has not banished repression or poverty from the Earth, but it has advanced the cause of freedom and prosperity on every continent. The United Nations has not been all that we wished it would be, but it has been a force for good and a bulwark against evil.

“So at the dawn of a new century so full of promise, yet plagued by peril, we still need the United Nations. And so, for another 50 years and beyond, you can count the United States in.”

–Bill Clinton

October 22, 1995

 

“Every civilized nation here today is resolved to keep the most basic commitment of civilization. We will defend ourselves and our future against terror and lawless violence. The United Nations was founded in this cause.”

–George W. Bush

November 10, 2001

“The American people respect the idealism that gave life to this organization.

And we respect the men and women of the U.N., who stand for peace and human rights in every part of the world….

“History will honor the high ideals of this organization. The Charter states them with clarity: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, to promote social progress and better standards of life and larger freedom. Let history also record that our generation of leaders followed through on these ideals, even in adversity. Let history show that in a decisive decade, members of the United Nations did not grow weary in our duties or waver in meeting them.”

–George W. Bush

September 21, 2004

 

“In the 21st century, the world needs a confident and effective United Nations….  With determination and clear purpose, the United Nations can be a powerful force for good as we head into the 21st century. It can affirm the great promise of its founding.”

–George W. Bush

September 22, 2008

 

“The United Nations was built by men and women… from every corner of the world — from Africa and Asia, from Europe to the Americas.  These architects of international cooperation had an idealism that was anything but naïve — it was rooted in the hard-earned lessons of war; rooted in the wisdom that nations could advance their interests by acting together instead of splitting apart.

“Now it falls to us — for this institution will be what we make of it. The United Nations does extraordinary good around the world — feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, mending places that have been broken.  But it also struggles to enforce its will, and to live up to the ideals of its founding.

“I believe that those imperfections are not a reason to walk away from this institution — they are a calling to redouble our efforts.

“…We call on all nations to join us in building the future that our people so richly deserve.”

–Barack Obama

September 23, 2009

 

“…This future will not be easy to reach. It will not come without setbacks, nor will it be quickly claimed. But the founding of the United Nations itself is a testament to human progress. In times that were far more trying than our own, our predecessors chose the hope of unity over the ease of division, and made a promise to future generations that the dignity and equality of human beings would be our common cause.

“It falls to us to fulfill that promise. And though we will be met by dark forces that will test our resolve, Americans have always had cause to believe that we can choose a better history. In fact, we need only look outside the walls around us. For through the citizens of every conceivable ancestry who make this city their own, we see living proof that opportunity can be accessed by all; that what unites us as human beings is far greater than what divides us; and that people from every part of this world can live together in peace.”

–Barack Obama

September 23, 2010

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It’s clear that the UN is an important and necessary tool for global diplomacy and peace!  You can honor the words and belief of all the past (and current) Presidents above by taking action today!  Let our current President and Congress know that the UN matters to you too!

Here’s how to help:
By scheduling face-to-face meetings with your members of Congress to discuss the importance of full funding to the UN. These in-person meetings will be the most effective form of citizen advocacy and we have everything from resources, talking points, and meeting materials you possibly could need right here!

Interested in learning more about UNA-GB’s Advocacy Committee? Read our blog post here and contact us at info@unagb.org for more information on how to get involved!

 UNA-GB’s Advocacy Committee is specifically looking for volunteers who are interested in becoming District Chairs, or liaisons for UNA-GB’s members and friends in each district in Massachusetts with their local representatives! For more information, email us at info@unagb.org

Join Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, Clinton and the rest of the 12 above in taking a stand and supporting the UN today!

-Alyson R.

UNA-GB Presents our Newly Formed Advocacy Committee: Meet our Leaders!

UNA-GB is excited to announce the formation of a new volunteer Advocacy Committee! Nathaniel Watson and Heather Cochran, who are co-chairing the committee along with Alma Morrison, are looking forward to working with UNA-GB and it’s global network and dedicated members.

Over the coming months we will be working to help keep you abreast of all the important issues that you need to be aware of and that need our support. It is important that we remain vigilant and work with other organizations, both public and private, to promote the goals of the United Nations.

With so many worthy causes, we need your help. The more involvement and support we garner from you the more we can get done. Whether it be reaching out to your local town officials, writing a letter to your Governor or simply joining the conversation and helping us find ways to make our world a better place, we’re counting on you! Over the coming months we will be highlighting different issues that need your support.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry pictured here with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Currently, the future of America’s relationship with the UN is at stake. H.R. 2829 is a bill offered by Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) that would change the United States funding of the UN from a percentage of GDP to a voluntary basis. This would not only diminish the United States representation in the UN but it would set a precedent that could compromise the overall effectiveness of the UN as a whole. On Thursday, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a companion bill that would allow the U.S. to fund only those UN programs that is supports. This could severely undermine the equitability of the UN and put the interests of smaller Nations in jeopardy that would strain multi-national relations outside of the UN.

Please take the time to let your opinion be heard and contact your congressmen and women. 

Click here for a complete list of Massachusetts Representatives and their contact information!

Want to read more about this bill and its consequences? Click here!

Meet our Leaders:

Nathaniel (you may call him Nat) studied Political Science at Boston University and now works in the financial industry downtown. He has only been a member of UNAGB for just 6 months but has a passion for international relations and is a strong believer in the importance of the UN’s role both globally and locally.

Heather studied International Human Rights and has a Master’s degree
in Social Work. She currently works in the nonprofit industry. She has
a strong passion for human rights and women’s rights. She would like
to continue to work towards helping to advocate for the UN’s
millennium goals.

International Impact of the Debt Ceiling

One of the most publicized issues this summer has been the arguments on Capitol Hill over the debt ceiling. The political stalemates have been so much on the forefront of the public agenda that other dire issues, such as the famine in the Horn of Africa have been somewhat overshadowed. However, the two issues are linked more than one might initially think.

As most are aware at the end of the day on August 2nd, Congress finally came to an agreement on the debt ceiling debate which avoided the detrimental U.S. default. What is known about the agreement is that it cuts almost $1 trillion, however, what hasn’t been made immediately visible is the precise details of such cuts. We do know that important programs for the poor – throughout the globe – are at serious risk. It is also important to be aware of the appropriations bill that was passed by the House for the State Department and Foreign Assistance. Within this bill were cuts to the UN’s regular budget and UN peacekeeping. The simple truth is that if the bill is passed by Congress and signed into law, the UN will return to its previous state of cycles of debtCuts to the UN’s budget detrimentally impede the organization’s ability to aid in foreign catastrophes such as the current humanitarian crisis in the Eastern Horn of Africa – with Somalia suffering the most from the drought-induced famine.

In his op-ed, U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly of Virginia writes: ” “from terrorism to the threat of pandemics, the United States faces challenges that are beyond the power and financial means for any single nation, no matter how powerful, to address alone. Our contributions to the UN enhance our national security and our foreign policy priorities, save dollars while growing jobs and our economy and strengthen our leadership in the international community.”  And as Massachusetts’ own US Senator, and ardent foreign relations advocate, John Kerry so eloquently put it, “We can either pay now to help brave people build a better, democratic future for themselves or we will certainly pay later with increased threats to our own national security…This is not time for America to pull back from the world. This is a time to step forward.”

The UN and the U.S. are currently making substantial efforts to help the about 11 million people directly affected by the famine. Efforts include:

  •  UNICEF is working to help over 250,000 children from Somalia who are suffering from acute malnutrition. They have already provided 8,300 bags of nutritional supplies to 2,800 children. The goal is to reach 70,000 children within the next six months and to provide them with nutrition and water.
  • As of late, World Food Programme is reaching 1.5 million people in Somalia and is scaling up to reach an additional 2.2. million in the previously inaccessible south of the country. Airlifts to Mogadishu began earlier in the month to bring special nutritious foods to malnourished children.
  • UNHCR – through its partners – has delivered emergency assistance packages to benefit 15,000 internally displaced persons in Somali camps. The organization plans to distribute 7.500 additional packages in the upcoming weeks.

The U.S. is currently the largest donor to the UN and to the relief in the Horn of Africa – what will happen if important funds are cut from such initiatives? It’s important that we stay engaged and involved in the coming months in order to demonstrate to our representatives in Capitol Hill just how important our international commitments are.

That is why we hope you will join UNA-GB and our fellow chapters around the country in engaging in dialogue with our elected officials this fall.  We will be in touch with ways to take action and specific asks that will be good to make, especially when your representatives are on fall recess. Email us at info@unagb.org if you’d like to be involved more in depth on these advocacy efforts.

Also, if you want to learn more about the crisis in the Horn of Africa and what we can do to make a difference, on September 12th UNA-GB is co-sponsoring the DocYard’s screening of Rain in a Dry Land, a film which provides an eye-opening look at what it means to be a refugee in today’s “global village.” Purchasing tickets to view the film, which chronicles the lives of two Somali Bantu families, is a great way to get educated more on what refugees face in the transition process.  There will also be information shared about how you can help end the famine crisis in Somalia and the Horn of Africa.

-Alexandra

From Main Street to Capitol Hill: 2011 UNA-USA Annual Meeting Recap

Last week I joined UNA-USA members and staff from more than 60 chapters across the country to raise awareness about the United Nations and the critical role it plays in advancing American national security and foreign policy goals during UNA-USA’s Annual Meeting in Washington DC.  The Annual Meeting agenda focused on how we can continue to strengthen support for the work of the UN at the grassroots level.

UN Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, and UNA-USA Executive Director Patrick Madden at the 2011 UNA-USA Annual Meeting.

The week’s meetings were particularly exciting, because it was the first Annual Meeting since UNA-USA officially joined the United Nations Foundation family.  A number of new faces were on hand, including former Senator Timothy Wirth, President of UN Foundation, and Kathy Calvin, CEO of UN Foundation.

Conversations emphasizing “focus” and “change” dominated the Annual Meeting.  Many of the speakers drove home the need to focus on the work of the UN and how we can better advocate for a strong US role in promoting global cooperation.  Our support for the UN is imperative to peace.  As Ambassador Rice so eloquently put it, “Now more than ever, Americans’ security and wellbeing are inextricably linked to those of people everywhere. Now more than ever, we need common responses to global problems. And that is why the U.S. is so much better off—so much stronger, so much safer and more secure—in a world with the United Nations than we would be in a world without it.”  In her keynote address at the conference, Ambassador Rice also highlighted the immense change going on in the world, seen most clearly in the Middle East.  She encouraged everyone to “break out of old habits and find new answers to 21st-century challenges.”

The partnership between UNA-USA and UN Foundation seems well-positioned to find new ways to leverage the strengths of each organization, creating a powerful synergy and focus of missions.  UNA’s grassroots outreach, combined with UNF’s grasstops mobilizing and campaigning, creates a real opportunity for progress. While it’s true that change never comes without growing pains, UNA members and leaders expressed excitement about gaining access to strong UNF campaigns like GirlUp and Nothing But Nets, and the elevated co-branding opportunities that exist between the two organizations.

In addition to meeting the UNF key players, those in attendance heard from UNA-USA’s new Executive Director, Patrick Madden.  Madden set forth a strong vision for the future of UNA’s work and partnerships.  He also challenged us to grow our local membership, engage young professionals in our programming, and expand our advocacy efforts.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the chance to take up Madden’s call to action to advocate for the UN, and foreign affairs as a whole.  On Tuesday, all of us UNA members went to the Hill to meet with our respective congressional members My Massachusetts counterpart, Alma Morrison, and I deftly navigated all 3 House buildings and 2 of the 3 Senate buildings to meet with staffers from the offices of Reps. McGovern, Capuano, and Lynch, and Sens. Brown and Kerry.  We shared our concerns and wishes regarding US engagement on global issues and made sure our elected officials knew these issues are important to us and our fellow UNA-GB members, their constituents.  It was clear that with drastic budget cuts looming, now more than ever our elected officials needed to hear about our values and priorities directly from us.

I came away from the 2011 UNA-USA Annual Meeting inspired to take action more concretely and to continue to mobilize the greater Boston community on the issues that matter to the UN.  As the oft-repeated mantra goes, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”   It is imperative for us to act now.  I look forward to more fully engaging with UNA-USA, UNF, and the UN, as we work together towards stronger and more successful action and messaging!  I sincerely hope you join us!

-Kaitlin Hasseler, UNA-GB Program Manager