Fall has officially kicked off here at UNA-GB. Over the past few weeks, UNA-GB was hard at work planning our Annual Member Meeting and Kimball Lecture, held Wednesday, September 28, and boy, was it a success!
Every year, we hold an Annual Meeting to communicate all that we’re doing with our members and friends. In addition this year, UNA-GB’s annual Kimball Lecture was held after the meeting. This year, not only did we showcase all that we have accomplished so far, but we presented our exciting plans for the rest of the year!
The evening started off with our Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors, which was open to the public, during which Officers, Board Members, and Advisory Council Members were elected. Among the newly elected were Nate Tassinari, Hakan Satiroglu and Roger Berry. We look forward to seeing what these new faces can bring to our already fantastic Board of Directors!
With an ambitious agenda, the Annual Meeting of Members began almost immediately following the Board of Directors Meeting. The program began with opening remarks from UNA-GB’s Executive Director, Lena Granberg, who played the role of Sec-Gen throughout the night, complete with a gavel and all. President Richard Golob gave a very inspiring speech laying out the success of UNA-GB during 2010 and the first half of 2011. From the Women’s Forum, to the Young Professionals Network, to our Signature Events including the annual Consuls Ball, Richard presented our enormous impact on the greater Boston community – in the past year alone, more than 5,000 people have been served with UNA-GB’s classroom and community based programming!
The expectations for the upcoming months were only raised higher after the next part of the evening.
A panel of our staff and volunteers took the stage to detail our various groups, our upcoming events, and easy ways for UNA-GB members to get involved. Among speakers were Rebecca Corcoran for our Model UN Program, Natalie Prolman for our Campus Ambassadors, Nate Tassinari for our Young Professionals Group, Elizabeth Grealy for our Women’s Forum, and Kaitlin Hasseler for our Signature Events and Advocacy/Communications. It wasn’t just pure presentation though – audience members had a chance to win big by answering trivia questions like “the world’s population will hit _____ billion in October 2011” and “what do ABC’s “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Samuel L. Jackson, Ryan Seacrest and Supreme Court Justice Breyer have in common?” (Answers?? Seven and Model UN, respectively!)
For those who weren’t at the Meeting, click here to learn more about our upcoming events, and also find out how YOU can get involved with our programs and events here! 2 easy ways to get involved right now? Become a member today! Also, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep updated with our latest news and upcoming events!
Following our panel of speakers, attendees had the chance to hear Ambassador Walter Carrington give the Kimball Lecture keynote address, focused on Africa and the War on Terrorism. Carrington served as US Ambassador to Nigeria and Senegal, and is currently an Associate of Harvard’s DuBois Institute while working on a book on Nigeria and another on Islam in Africa. And during his introduction given by Richard Golob, UNA-GB President, we even learned that Carrington was Martin Luther King Jr.’s big brother in their Fraternity at Harvard University!
The Kimball Lecture is given annually in memory of Professors Chase and Mary Lee Evans Kimball. Chase and Mary Lee were lifelong supporters and promoters of United States participation and responsible leadership in international organizations, starting with fervent advocacy of the United States entry in the League of Nations. Chase, a lawyer and professor of international relations, and Mary Lee, a professor of French, were enthusiastic and loyal supporters and generous donors to UNA-GB and the UN Council of the South Shore.
The evening ended with a Wine and Cheese Around the World Reception. The Robert F. Meagher Wine & Cheese Around the World Reception was started this year as an annual event to recognize the contributions and legacy of long-time UNA-GB Board Member Bob Meagher who passed away in 2007 at the age of 80. Our reception included cheese from all over the world including Ireland, Canada, Switzerland, and France, and our wine selection spanned from Chile, to New Zealand, and California to Hungary!
We even had a few famous faces join us at the Meeting this year, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Goodwill Ambassador (and Boston darling) Giselle Bündchen. New to this year’s Annual Member Meeting was a photo-booth with key United Nations individuals, which provided a great form of entertainment during registration.
Overall, 2011 Annual Member Meeting was a HUGE success! From the interactive photo-booth, to our panel of speakers, and our Kimball Lecture to the Wine and Cheese Around the World Reception, our guests felt engaged, informed, and excited about the upcoming months!
After a long cold winter here in Boston and with a much-needed boost of warm weather marking the promise of summer just around the corner, there’s no better time to consider how we can positively impact our surroundings! This Sunday June 5th is World Environment Day, coordinated by the United Nations’ Environment Programme, and is a great opportunity to get involved in a variety of different activities to help our planet.
World Environment Day started in 1972 and has grown to be an important environmental action supported by the United Nations for people in the world to reunite on this day for the environment. This year the Global Host of World Environment Day 2011 in India, focusing on forest development called “Forests: Nature at Your Service” and its continued support as a nation of global sustainable living.
Whether you’re in India or around the world, there is plenty going on. From the Biofestival 2011 concert in Costa Rica to the biodiversity press conference in Canada to a music concert in Belgium, to beach-cleaning and tree-planting in Bahrain, there are so many ways to get involved all around the world. All of these activities link back to the efforts of the UN’s Millennium Development Goal #7, which focuses on educating countries about the benefits of sustainable development and use of resources in protecting the environment. As we work to educate as many people as possible about protecting our environment on the microlevel, the UN is working on the macrolevel with governments to be environmentally sustainable. Just yesterday, UN officials discussed having political representatives get involved in working towards a globally “green economy” during a debate on the General Assembly floor. They discussed both the importance and the challenges involved in making government officials aware of the importance of the environment and sustainability. Included in discussions was the point that while developed countries have the technology to make a difference, they still need political and social support in order to have an impact.
Some high-profile celebrities are looking to increase the political and social support: UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors’ Gisele Bundchen and Don Cheadle are competing in the WED Challenge to get as many people to support World Environment Day, and environmental sustainability as possible. For each person that votes for either of them, a tree will be planted to support this year’s focus on forest development and support.
Do you want to get involved locally? You can choose to walk instead of driving or go as far as organizing clean-up activities in your communities. Hold a forest or river clean-up with your local community. Educate your community about how endangered species rely on having a healthy environment to live in or create a habitat for an endangered species by planting trees, praire grasses or a butterfly garden. Any ideas you may have, you can register online register online and officially become a part of the activities supported for World Environment Day. If nothing else, you should spend the day enjoying the nature around you – for fellow Bostonians, it’s a great excuse to see the swan boats in the Boston Common, walk along the Charles River, or sit among the shade in the Arnold Arboretum.
Make sure your involvement doesn’t just end after this weekend too! Another way to stay involved on a more long-term level is to join local organizations that have environmental missions. Some options in the Boston area include the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM), Green Corps (Program) and Boston Youth Environmental Network. Celebrate the great beauty of your environment this weekend, and take action, whether globally or locally in any way you can to make sure that environment is maintained for years -and generations! – to come. It’s up to each of us to ensure a plentiful and rich future for our planet.