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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

Join UNA-GB’s 66 for 66 Campaign

As world leaders prepare to gather today for the United Nations General Assembly’s opening session, here at UNA-GB a brand new 66 for 66 Campaign has been launched.  In connection with the opening of the 66th session of the General Assembly and in honor of the 66th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, our campaign focuses on providing 66 Boston-area high school students the unique opportunity to step into the shoes of diplomats at the annual UN Day Model UN Simulation at the Massachusetts State House on October 24.

“Now more than ever we need to invest in and nurture the next generation of global leaders” says Jennifer Irizarry, Education Director at UNA-GB.  “Unfortunately, too many urban students do not have access to the life-changing resources offered through Model UN, so this campaign allows us to offer more students an opportunity to broaden their perspective, engage in international issues, and build skills that will be critical for college and workplace success.”

UNA-GB’s Model UN program is a college-preparatory program that exposes public school students to the work of the United Nations, the tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and topics such as international economics, development and sustainability, while building leadership and negotiation skills, critical reading and writing ability, and public speaking prowess.

It only costs $50 to support one student’s participation in a Model UN, so the 66 for 66 Campaign’s total goal is to raise $3,300 to serve 66 students.  The campaign will run up through Monday, October 24, when dozens of Boston-area public school students will come together at the Massachusetts State House in honor of the 66th anniversary of the UN to solve a critical issue in international development. Students representing diverse nations such as Afghanistan, Paraguay, and South Africa will participate in a Model UN simulation to debate solutions to gender inequality and answer the question: Why do global inequalities for women in education and employment persist and what can be done about it?

Want to learn more about and to support the 66 for 66 Campaign? Visit http://ow.ly/6sdrB!  And invite your friends and family to join you today in investing in the global leaders of tomorrow!

-UNA-GB Education

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

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

August 9 was established as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People by the UN’s General Assembly in 1994 with the  goal to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous people and to recognize significant achievements and contributions of the population. Recognizing indigenous filmmakers was the theme of the 2010 observance, with films being screened at the UN Headquarters.

In addition to recognizing the accomplishments of indigenous filmmakers, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday addressed the urgency to improve the lives of indigenous people. “Indigenous peoples still experience racism, poor health and disproportionate poverty,” Mr. Ban said. “In many societies, their languages, religions and cultural traditions are stigmatized and shunned.” (Source)

He indicated that statistics from the January UN report on the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples included disturbing statistics: indigenous peoples are 600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis than the general population in some countries. Also, an indigenous child can expect to die 20 years before a non-indigenous fellow citizen.

Even with these shocking figures, the Secretary General continued that the situation has seen improvement over the past few years. “Since [the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly in 2007] we have seen more governments working to redress social and economic injustices, through legislation and other means, and indigenous peoples’ issues have become more prominent on the international agenda than ever before,” Mr. Ban said.

Even though there has been considerable progress in advancing the rights of indigenous peoples in the past few years, the recent statistics clearly demonstrate a drastic need for more improvement for the lives of indigenous peoples. The United Nations and other organizations are essential in this ongoing process.

In Cambridge, MA, the organization Cultural Survival partners with Indigenous communities to help them achieve their goals and defend their land, languages and cultures. To learn more about how you can help indigenous peoples in the New England area visit Cultural Survival’s website http://www.culturalsurvival.org/

Christina