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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

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

Realizing MLK’s Dream This Summer

This summer, UNA-GB had the exciting opportunity to partner with John Hancock’s MLK Summer Scholars Program. The goal of the project is to employ Boston youth in various non-profits throughout the city for the summer, allowing them to gain professional office experience. UNA-GB was lucky enough to be one of the selected non-profits, and we employed a rising junior from Boston Latin Academy, Bianca Diaz, to be our Summer Scholar.

Along with working in a professional office throughout the summer, the Scholars attended workshops every Friday at Boston University’s Agganis Arena. Each week, the workshop had a different theme, ranging from what to do with your summer earnings to physical fitness, from personal branding to social responsibility.  I was fortunate enough represent UNA-GB as a mentor for a small group of MLK Scholars during the Friday workshops. In our group discussion, the Scholars talked about how to improve the education system in the city of Boston, how to manage their student loans after they graduate from college, and how they feel about their neighborhoods.

At every workshop, the Scholars heard from a distinguished member of the Boston Community, who represented the theme of that week’s workshop. One of the speakers was Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who shared her journey from growing up in the urban environment of Chicago where her mother lived paycheck to paycheck to make sure she attended the best school in the city to entering the Boston political arena. The Scholars were extraordinarily impressed with her candor and her passion for the city of Boston, and her desire to see each one of the Scholars and all of Boston’s youth succeed.

At the end of the 7 week session, the Scholars participated in a celebration of their achievements, and their gifts. Many of scholars put on performances of their own forms of personal expression, through rap, dance, song, and poetry. One particularly inspiring young woman, who interned at Write Boston, shared her story about growing up in Afghanistan and how, due to the violence and turmoil, her family had to flee to the Russian Federation, and eventually immigrated to Boston. She challenged the group of over 600 Scholars to join advocacy efforts to build a peaceful future for Afghanistan.

Overall, the MLK Summer Scholar experience enabled the Scholars to gain invaluable insights into the professional world, while serving the community.  I feel extremely fortunate that I was able to share in the Scholars journey, and UNA-GB and I feel privileged to have been a part of the program.  We look forward to working with more students in the future!

Check out a video about the program below and learn more on their website. 

-Rebecca Corcoran, Model UN Coordinator

Carol Fulp address teen delegates at RMUN 2011

Over 350 high school students from the Bay State, New England and Bermuda came together on Friday May 13th at Northeastern University to take part in the Regional Model UN Conference put on by UNA-GB and affectionately known as RMUN!  You can check out some of the on-site photos and updates if you search #UNAGBRMUN on Twitter and you can see more photos from the conference here.

Student delegates debating Sports for Peace and Food Security in the UNESCO committee were treated to a surprise visit from a pillar of the business and civic community here in Boston and one of President Obama’s US representatives to the United Nations, Carol Fulp.  Fulp also was the 2011 Leadership Award recipient at UNA-GB’s 2011 Consuls Ball (see photo below and more photos of the Ball here).

Ms. Fulp discussed the global importance of the role of sports international development strategies and gender equality.  Students were given an insider’s view of the vetting process that Ms. Fulp underwent before her confirmation was made official by Congress and stressed the importance of transparency and ethics to the group of teens, many of whom are aspiring diplomats themselves.

The Conference was a great success, with all committees submitting impressive resolutions!  Our world is in good hands with these future leaders!

-Jennifer

Behold Massachusetts: Consuls Day 2011 has arrived!

Consuls Ball banner

While we know here in the office how important today is, it’s now a statewide recognized fact – Governor Deval Patrick declared today, April 29th to be the official “Consuls Day!” As Boston celebrates with global leaders to honor the Consular Corps, Carol Fulp and local leaders tonight at the 2011 Consuls Ball, the governor issued the following proclamation to make today a day to acknowledge the Consuls and their global leadership:

Whereas: The Consular Corps of Boston serves as a vital connection between Massachusetts and over 50 countries of the world; and

Whereas: The members of the Consular Corps of Boston serve the citizens of Massachusetts and of their nations, and work to facilitate business and educational exchanges, as well as foster technology transfer, economic development, and international understanding; and

Whereas: The Consular Corps is a reflection of the diverse backgrounds of the citizens of Massachusetts, and the rich diversity of the many cultures of the world;

Therefore, I, Deval Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim Friday, April 29, 2011 to be

Consuls Day

in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

(Governor Deval Patrick’s Consuls Day 2011 Proclamation)

Come celebrate Consuls Day with us 7 pm tonight at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.  For more information, visit http://www.unagb.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=41&Itemid=28!

-NaEun