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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.

“A Bad Bill for Everyone”

“At a time when the U.S. and United Nations are working together to address the world’s most pressing challenges — from humanitarian needs in the Horn of Africa and Haiti, to political crises and violence in Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Afghanistan — it’s more important than ever that America maintain its longstanding commitment to global leadership and engagement.” This quote comes from The Better World Campaign’s  “Let US Lead”  petition. The petition is a  place where individuals can go to show their support for the United Nations and their feelings on a new bill (H.R. 2829), recently introduced in Congress, that threatens to cut U.S. funding of the UN.

The bill, introduced by the head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and 57 co-sponsors, is being called a “Bad bill for everyone,” by the Economist, while CNN has referred to it as a “temper tantrum,”. To put it simply, the bill threatens to make substantial cuts to UN funding as well as all funding to agencies such as UNICEF and the World Food Programme.

The piece of legislation, or “United Nations Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act,” puts much of the good that the UN does throughout the world – such as feeding children impacted by famine and disease, and taking care of refugees – in serious jeopardy. Likewise, the bill would devastate US leadership within the UN, damage critical US national interests, alienate US allies, and put heavier costs on US taxpayers. If passed this new legislation wouldn’t just be harmful to US interests, but it would cause serious detriment within the UN. Such damage would mostly be due to the fact that since its founding the UN’s biggest contributor has been the US. Currently, the US funds 22% of the UN’s regular budget and more than 27% of its peacekeeping budget. Of the UN’s $22.3 billion budget, the US paid $6.4 billion. Because of the US’s continued high involvement and investment into the UN, its withdrawal of support would severely inhibit the organization’s ability to follow through on its commitments.

So why was this bill even introduced if it has the ability to be so harmful to the UN? First, Ros-Lentinen has been a critic of the UN for a long time. She believes the UN has been continuously plagued by scandal, mismanagement and inaction. Thus, her legislation, if passed, would withhold US funds to the UN if the organization does not change its funding systems so that dues are paid on a voluntary basis rather than an assessed one as it stands now. Specifically, as proposed by the bill the UN would have two years to phase in funding reform before the US withholds funds. After those two years the US would begin by withholding half of its contributions to the UN regular budget if less than 80% of the UN’s budget is not funded voluntarily at that time.

The second issue that Ros-Lehtinen has with the UN is its potential to support a Palestinian statehood proposal. She explained to her colleagues that the purpose of her bill is to also avoid a Palestinian self-declared state which she believes would “short-circuit the negotiating process, and would severely undermine opportunities for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” As a result her bill includes funding cuts to UNRWA, the agency that administers Palestinian refugee camps in the occupied territories and neighboring Arab countries. UNRWA’s budget for the fiscal year 2011 is currently set at $230 million. In this portion of the bill there is currently no condition attached to the cuts, Ros-Lehtinen simply wants to cut off funding to UNRWA.

As the Economist reported, the reality of the situation is that threats of funding cuts will most likely not be a deciding factor as to whether or not Palestinian statehood will be recognized. Rather, a Palestinian statehood proposal will be voted on in the UN’s General Assembly where, as it stands now, the 2/3rds vote in favor of recognition is likely to be met. However, Ghana, India, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Eritrea, France and the Dominican Republic are likely to not change their votes because of the US’s threat to cut off funding to UNICEF – a huge supporter of their states.

In an interview with The Cable on Wednesday, September 7th Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) said that Ros-Lehtinen’s bill was “ill-advised” and “probably dead on arrival.” Berman said he can never see this bill becoming an actual law.

“I think there are some radical proposals here,” Berman said. “I understand the frustration with a number of the U.N.’s actions and I share her frustration and anger at many of them. But the U.N. does tremendous amounts of good work. If you wipe out the funding base of the U.N., as her proposal does, you get the bad stuff but you will eviscerate the good things they are doing.”

Likewise, the White House has openly spoken negatively about the bill, saying that President Obama and his administration opposes the legislation, and although it is believed within the administration that the UN does need reform, this is not the correct way to go about it. Instead the White House suggests that the U.S. work with the UN to continue to make it stronger and more flexible.

Now more than ever is a grassroots movement supporting the good work of the UN important!    Visit Let US Lead today and tell Congress to oppose H.R. 2829 by signing the petition.  Encourage your friends and family to do the same.  You can also schedule an in-person meeting with your member of Congress during the Columbus Day recess (Oct. 13-30). To receive more information on these issues, contact Roger Nokes at UNA-USA for talking points and meeting materials. This is a great way to really ensure that your voice is being heard during this crucial time for the both the UN and America.

If you want to get more involved on advocacy in the Boston area,  UNA-GB invites you to join us at our Annual Meeting (September 28) where our programs and priorities for the year will be discussed in depth. It is a fantastic opportunity to get connected on these issues and network with other like minded global citizens in the area – register here today!

A Youthful Week: Week of 7/25 News Roundup

A lot of focus was on the global leaders of our future throughout this week as the week started with the UN high-level meeting dedicated to the development of youth. The theme of the meeting was “Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”, just in time as the International Year of Youth is coming to an end this summer.

Along with the topic of youth, came a new report released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at a side event of the UN high-level meeting, the report titled “Securing the Future Today“. This report and discussion focused on the youth’s actions to fight against the disease of AIDS. This will be a step in the right direction for our future, and the future goals in the UN’s Millennium Development Goals as goal #6 focuses on the global fight against the disease, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases including malaria.

Disease was also a big topic this week, as millions of children received the measles vaccination in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The UN World Health Organization helped in coordinating this great achievement, as there has been a measles epidemic that many people have lost their lives to and the funding was needed to make this event a great success. In efforts to globally fight against more diseases, the UN marked July 27th World Hepatitis Day as a day to recognize the fight and prevention of the disease. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with the soccer team FC Barcelona have joined this week in the fight against disease to create a campaign against polio, called “More than a Goal. End Polio”. With a said 1 percent left in the fight against the disease and its eradication, the organizations are determined to put an end to it.

Along with disease, comes the support of resources and nutrition throughout the world so that people can survive with access to basic needs and children can develop and prosper. The crisis in the Horn of Africa continued this week as the drought is causing a lack of water and therefore threat of nutrition to people throughout the continent’s nations. More support is needed, as there are also many children suffering from this crisis, causing malnutrition and this threatening their survival in the crisis for all, with a said $1.4 billion in funding appealed by the UN to support the cause.

Efforts continue to assist globally in the fights against disease, malnutrition, resources and overall the availability of safe living conditions around the world. Support and funding is needed to continue to allow for these wonderful projects to develop and you can get involved in the action! In time for August 2nd, you can contact Congress representatives to share your voice towards the budget cuts that will unfortunately help support programs like these, specifically programs that help support women and girls throughout the world have availability to resources.

Join in the support and action to help the people of today in any way you can and the global leaders of tomorrow in our youth today!

-Cara