Blog Archives

Country Sponsor for 2013 Consuls Ball: South Korea

south-korea-flagWe are thrilled to announce that this year’s Consuls Ball will be held on Friday, April 26 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.  The Consuls Ball is an elegant, vibrant event celebrating Boston’s international spirit and honoring the Consular Corps of Boston, which represents nearly 60 countries. This year’s ball will focus on the Republic of Korea, a modern democracy with a thriving economy. In order to prepare you for this event, here are some facts about Korea that you should know:

–       The current President of South Korea is Park Geun-hye, the first woman to serve in this position.

–       One of the fastest growing economies, Korea ranks 15th in the world by nominal GDP.

–       Korea is an industrial nation at the forefront of semiconductor, automobile, shipbuilding, steel making, and IT industries.

–       In 2010, Korea hosted the G-20 summit in Seoul, the first Asian country to chair and host a G-20 summit.

–       In 2012, Korea held the Nuclear Security Summit.

–       Korea has gained a non-permanent membership to the UN Security Council for the 2013-2014 period.

–       UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is from Korea.

–       “Korean Wave” is the name given to Korean dramas, movies, and music that are gaining massive audiences abroad.  One notable example is that of PSY, the notable singer who has popularized the song Gangnam Style.

–       In 2018, the Winter Olympics will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea.

2596588743_054a9338b1Now that you know some basic facts about Korea, you should join us in celebrating its rich and vibrant culture at our Consuls Ball. For more details about the ball, check out this link: http://cb2013unagb.eventbrite.com We hope to see you there!

*Many thanks to our Gold Sponsor -Focus Country

The_Korea_Foundation Korean_Consulate_Page_2

A Year of New Horizons: Review of 66th UN General Assembly Opening

It’s been a busy couple of weeks as the United Nations welcomed the opening of its 66th General Assembly. The General Assembly opened its 66th session formally this week at its Headquarters in New York. Former permanent representative of Qatar to the UN, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, was elected as General Assembly president in June and gave the opening speech.

In his opening speech Al-Nasser stressed that the General Assembly is an opportunity for the international community to “define our place in this decisive moment in history,” and to “prove that we have the courage, wisdom and tenacity to seek creative and visionary solutions.” He also said that he was “deeply committed” to working with each member state to “build bridges for a united global partnership.”

On Wednesday Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff became the first woman to ever open a round of UN General Assembly speeches. In her speech President Rousseff touched on a wide range of topics including social inclusion and human rights guarantees. She also spoke about the need to reform the UN Security Council and supporting sustainable development – with a reminder that in June 2012 Rio de Janeiro will be hosting the next world conference on climate change.

On Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability held its fourth meeting in New York. The Panel was established in 2010 to examine how the globe can reduce poverty and increase sustainability development while protecting our planet.

On Wednesday President Obama spoke at the UN Security Council saying that although he believes there can be peace between Israel and Palestine, there is no shortcut to that peace. He also commented on the US’ opposition to the Palestinian’s bid. “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN,” President Obama declared. “If it were that easy it would have been accomplished by now.” Rather, President Obama suggested that the international community should keep pushing Israelis and Palestinians toward talks on the four impassable issues that have presented problems since 1979.

Despite President Obama’s speech, the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, submitted an application for Palestine to become a United Nations Member State today. Mr. Abbas submitted the application to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN Headquarters in New York this morning.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also welcomed the release of Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal from an Iranian prison on Wednesday. Bauer and Fattal had been hiking near the Iranian-Iraqi border and a month later were convicted and jailed for spying allegations more than two years ago.

On Thursday, UNICEF welcomed a new agreement between the Republic of the Congo and Benin to protect children from child trafficking which has been a large problem in the region in recent years.

“With the signing of the agreement, a framework is now in place to assist the two countries to prevent, identify and assist child trafficking victims as well as to prosecute offenders,” Marianne Flach, UNICEF Country Representative in the Republic of the Congo said.

It is hard for UNICEF to come up with an exact number of children trafficked, but in 2007 the organization roughly estimated the number to be 1,800. Experts today say that the figure is actually much higher.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all remaining States today to “seize the moment” and sign and ratify the global treaty banning nuclear tests – with the goal of bringing it into force by 2012. Of the total 195 states, 182 have so far signed the treaty and 155 have ratified it. For the treaty to enter into force, ratification is required from the “Annex 2 States.” Of these States, China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the U.S. have yet to ratify it.

“My message is clear: Do not wait for others to move first. Take the initiative. Lead. The time for waiting has passed,” Ban Ki-moon said. “We must make the most of existing – and potentially short-lived – opportunities,” he added.

As demonstrated throughout this week, the UN is an extremely important organization to global security and equity across the board. As a result it is important for us to continue supporting the organization in any way we can. Don’t forget to visit Let US Lead and tell Congress to oppose bill H.R. 2829 which threatens to cut U.S. funding to the UN. Want to go a step beyond signing a petition? Schedule an appointment to meet with your local representative over the Columbus Day recess!

Here at UNA-GB we are celebrating the opening of the 66th General Assembly as well with our 66 for 66 Campaign! Help us raise $3,300 to fund 66 students in honor of this anniversary of the UN. Only $50 provides food and materials for one child to change their perspective, engage in international issues, and build skills that will be relevant in college and their future career path. Help us nurture the next generation of global leaders! Donate today!

-Alexandra

A Week Calling For Action: Week of 8/1 News Roundup

It’s August! This week was a week full of opportunity to educate and help those in need around the globe as we welcome a new month. The UN Security Council welcomed both a new month and president, as India was given the position of Presidency for the month. India seems to have some plans for going about its time as president including a peacekeeping debate and creating a strong image of itself within the UN community.Monday also brought along the start of World Breastfeeding Week, as the theme this year was “Talk to me! Breastfeeding – a 3D Experience”. The theme suggested the idea of using communication tools through technology to better educate the world about the benefits of breastfeeding. Along the topic of communication tools comes a new tool introduced this week focused on giving access to resources that are propelled by technology for those that don’t have the financial support to access these resources now. The use of technology will focus on access to women in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in creating “mobile identities” that they will be able to access from any mobile phone that will allow them to have phone access through the device as well as resources to be able to educate themselves about health topics and find jobs.

Assistance is still needed throughout the world this week, as the UN declared that the famine in Somalia has spread to three other areas of the nation this week and the crisis in the Horn of Africa is in need of major support in its fight for resources.


There are many ways that you can get involved too through a variety of different organizations to help nations in the Horn of Africa recover from this crisis. UNICEF this week proposed an idea for other organizations to get involved as well, as it asked airlines to generously give less-costly space for resources to be flown to the nations in need in the Horn of Africa, and some airlines have already agreed to either free transportation of resources or discounts. It also continues to stay involved in helping as it supports those that come to refugee camps with basic resources and child protection as a majority of those coming to the camp are women and children. The World Food Programme is getting involved with the refugee camps as it has assisted with providing food and other resources to those that arrive to the camps as well, as malnutrition is a major concern for those that arrive. As nations continue to develop and get past crisis and people come together to help in whatever way they can, Sudan which had a recent development as Southern Sudan declared its independence weeks ago faced an unfortunate tragedy this week. Four Ethiopian UN Peacekeepers lost their lives from a the effects of a landmine this week and seven other Ethiopian UN Peacekeepers were injured during a mission in Sudan.

Starting the lead for assistance in the world the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon continues to stay dedicated to helping those in need around the globe. This weekend he will be traveling to Japan to support the post-earthquake development of the nation. We look forward to hearing more about his trip and the development of assistance to those in need around the world as next week progresses.

-Cara

From Peace-Building to Nation-Building: Southern Sudan

Today, July 9th, is a day of celebration and promise as Southern Sudan declares its independence and becomes a nation with the guidance of the UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and UN organizations, including the United Nations Mission in Sudan.

The UN’s Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon looks at Southern Sudan’s newfound independence as the start of a challenge as they find their place and develop. In support of this burgeoning independence, yesterday the UN announced its new mission, the UNMISS UN Mission in Southern Sudan that will specifically focus on the development of the new country.  The Security Council voted unanimously to set up a new United Nations mission to help Africa’s newest nation consolidate peace and lay the foundation for longer-term state-building, conflict prevention and economic development.

While the history of Sudan is quite complicated, a brief overview is as follows: the history of Southern Sudan goes back all the way to the French and English influence on the continent of Africa in the 1800s leading to the English control of both the Northern and Southern parts of Sudan until 1956. The actions of Sudan’s People Liberation Movement in the 1980’s started the rebellion in response to perceived discrimination of Southern Sudan, along with division of religious beliefs in the region l, that led to the wars between the North and South. A peace agreement (CPA) was formed in 2002 with the assistance of the US that brought about the end of the civil war and a new government, but also created challenges in developing the area. Once the civil war ended in 2002, it was decided that a declaration would be formed between the government and Sudan’s People Liberation Movement by the end of 2004, with the support of the UNSC and CPA. These actions led to the support of the elections this past year that would allow Southern Sudan to gain its independence from the North.

Here, in the Boston area there are some interesting initiatives in support of the Southern Sudanese people. A Sudanese Education Fund has been started to support the educational development of the people that immigrate to the United States from Southern Sudan. Many Southern Sudanese people made efforts to be a part of the decision towards independence as they voted in the Boston area for Southern Sudan’s independence during the referendum in January of this year. There were a variety of different organizations that supported the Southern Sudanese voters, but specifically in this area was the South Sudanese Community Center in Arlington that worked to support the rights and independence of Southern Sudan.

You can get involved, too! Encourage the US Senate to support the development of Southern Sudan.  You can connect with all of the celebrations in real time online here.  And stay tuned as this country continues to develop and find it’s own identity.

-Cara

A UNited response to Japan Earthquake

Five days after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Japan’s north-east coast at 2:46 p.m. local time, the official death toll is now more than 4,300. More than 8,000 people are still missing, and half a million are homeless. Hundreds of national and international rescue teams are leading the relief effort.

Friday’s earthquake in Japan was the country’s strongest recorded quake. It hit north-east of the main island of Honshu; its epicenter was undersea, about 400 kilometers northeast of the Japanese capital, Tokyo. The quake triggered a powerful subsequent tsunami that inundated towns, villages and farmlands along the coast and devastated dozens of coastal communities. The devastation is of such magnitude that it is hard to imagine some of the communities ever being rebuilt. Town after town has been wiped away.

Source: freshnessmag.com

Now, Japan is facing another frightening reality — the possibility of a radioactive leak stemming from a second reactor at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. Since the earthquake knocked out the plant’s cooling systems over the weekend, the crisis at the Fukushima plant has mounted. The first three reactors have already exploded due to build up of hydrogen gases. The repeated releases of different amounts of radiation — some large, some small — are cause for concern.  (For the latest news and updates, check here).

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his sorrow on Friday: “I want to express my deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the Japanese people and Government, and most especially to those who lost family and friends in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami…” Mr. Ban said the UN would do all it could to mobilize humanitarian assistance and disaster risk reduction teams as soon as possible.

A United Nations disaster team arrived in Japan two days ago, and local officials have asked the world body to dispatch a team of nuclear safety experts as emergency operations continue in the wake of Friday’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. The United Nations has also called an emergency meeting to discuss possible solutions to Japan’s deepening nuclear crisis.

According to the UN, a seven-member UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team will set up an on-site operations center to help Japanese authorities disseminate accurate and timely information on the disaster and the emergency efforts. The team of specialists will travel to affected areas in the days ahead to assess the humanitarian needs, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). They will also assist the Japanese Government in providing advice on incoming international relief goods and services.

Even though Boston is close to 7,000 miles away from Japan, there are ways for YOU to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Please consider making a donation through UNICEF, The World Food Programme, or The UN Foundation. Every contribution can help make a difference. Consider donating today and please stay tuned for additional ways to get involved as the relief efforts develop!

-Hanna

100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day

 

 

Tuesday marked the Centennial Anniversary of International Women’s Day, a celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women past and present that is observed around the world. This year is also notable for being the first International Women’s Day for UN Women, created by the UN General Assembly on July 2010 and formally launched just last month.  The theme this year is “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”.  Last week, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon highlighted the imperative need for the inclusion of women to achieve greater strides in meeting the Millenium Development Goals.

“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are fundamental to the global mission of the United Nations to achieve equal rights and dignity for all… But equality for women and girls is also an economic and social imperative. Until women and girls are liberated from poverty and injustice, all our goals — peace, security, sustainable development — stand in jeopardy.”  – Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

The call to make equality a reality that was present in Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Message was also present in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s, where she called for more ways to include women in the international dialogue and provide access for all women to live with access to education and free from violence.

At the 1995 Beijing Conference, Clinton famously asserted that “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.”  This was further seen at Tuesday’s 14th Annual International Women’s Day Breakfast hosted by Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change, and co-sponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston, with the theme “Unequal Treatment Under the Law: Women in the Criminal Justice System” which drew over 200 attendees from throughout the Boston area.

Karen Holmes Ward moderated the event and introduced panelists, Ph.D. Erika Kates, Representative Kay Khan, Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral, and Girl Scouts Beyond Bars past program participant and current manager Dawn Coleman. Each of the panelists offered a unique perspective as they educated the audience on the challenges women face due to current laws and policy. The statistics were shocking and reinforced the statements made by many attendees that this breakfast was addressing an invisible issue within our national community. The moving personal account of Coleman’s own oppression within the justice system made both the extremity of the inequality and the timeliness of the issues clear to audience members. To close, Sheriff Cabral recognized many of the programs designed to give women agency and voice in this arena while also emphasizing the importance of us all in bringing to action the work that still needs to be done.

With March also being Women’s History Month, there are events being held throughout the month that focus on education and advocacy surrounding women’s issues.  Check out this month’s events!

Tuesday March 8th

International Women’s Day Celebration

Hosted by: Women’s Information Network

Time: All Day

Location: Back Bay Sheraton

NERD International Women’s Day Mixer

Hosted by: New England Research and Development Center

Time: 6-8 pm

Location: Microsoft New England R&D Center, One Memorial Drive, Cambridge MA.

Ladies Who Launch Networking Mixer

Hosted by: Ladies Who Launch

Time: 5:30 PM

Location: Top of the Hub

Saturday March 12th

Run for Congo Women

Hosted by: Women for Women International

Time: 10 am

Location: Boston’s Esplanade

Contact for more details!

Monday, March 14th

International Women’s Day Film Screening, Reception, and Panel

Hosted by: UNA-GB and My Sister’s Keeper

Time: Reception at 6:00 pm, Film Screening at 6:30 pm.

Location: Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc
10 Winter Place. Boston, MA 02108

COST: $10 Member/Student | $15 Non-member

RSVP NOW!

Friday, March 18th

V-Day Boston 2011: Spotlight on Violence Against Women and Girls of Haiti

Hosted by: UNA-GB and Suffolk University’s Center for Women’s Health & Human Rights

Time: 6:00 PM- 8:00 PM

Location: Suffolk University, 73 Tremont St, Boston, MA

Learn more and RSVP now.

 

Tuesday, March 22nd

The Challenges of Practicing Law in Sharia Courts in Nigeria

Hosted by: UNA- GB’s Women’s Forum

Time: 4:00 PM- 6:00 PM

Location: Suffolk Law School, 120 Tremont St, Boston

Free

RSVP Now!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East

Time: Reception at 6:30 PM | Talk at 7:00 PM

Location: 6 Hilliard Pl. Cambridge, MA 02138

Cost: $15 Member Ticket | $20 Non-member Ticket

RSVP NOW – Limited Space Available!

 

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day either by coming to one of the events in the area or by learning more about your local and national policies and taking action within your community to ensure women’s voices are heard!

-Alex Teague & Katie Miles.

 

Are you a human rights defender?

“When we work to secure human rights, we are working to protect the experiences that make life meaningful, to preserve each person’s ability to fulfill his or her God-given potential – the potential within every person to learn, discover and embrace the world around them.”

Today we celebrate Human Rights Day, which honors the United Nations General Assembly‘s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights.

This year’s theme recognizes the work of human rights defenders worldwide who act to end discrimination.

As Secretary General Ban Ki Moon says, “Laws to protect and promote human rights are indispensable. But quite often, progress comes down to people… courageous women and men… striving to protect their own rights and the rights of others… determined to make rights real in people’s lives.  It is these human rights defenders to whom we dedicate this year’s observance of Human Rights Day.”

You can watch the Secretary General’s message in its entirety here, as well as take a quiz to see how well you know your human rights defenders.

What will you do to protect and uphold human rights today?

If you’re in Boston, we invite you to join us today at Wheelock College for the Human Rights Day Luncheon to meet some inspiring human rights defenders!  This year’s luncheon is focused on how sports can be used to promote human rights and fight the impact of poverty and inequity on young people.

Dr. Auma Obama, CARE USA’s Sports for Social Change Initiative Technical Advisor, will be delivering the keynote address. Following Dr. Obama’s address there will be a panelist discussion that features the leading experts in sports and human rights development, including Eli Wolff, Sports and Human Rights Fellow at Brown University, Diana Cutaia, Wheelock Director of Athletics and Sports-Based Initiatives, and Pharlone Toussaint, SPARK The Truth Co-Founder.  The discussion will be followed by lunch and a networking reception.

We hope to see you today!  Find Directions Here.

-Alex

World AIDS Day – spread the word to stop the spread of the disease!

The statistics are daunting: there are over thirty four million people living with HIV world wide, thirty million of which that live in developing countries, and over one thousand children are infected with HIV per day, with even more adult infections on the rise.

Today we commemorate World AIDS Day to raise HIV awareness and tackle the prejudice that it is associated with HIV/AIDS.   This year’s theme of Universal Access and human rights ties into that of the Sixteen Days of Activism and the International Human Rights Day. Recognizing the human rights aspect is a fundamental part of the process of changing the perception of HIV/AIDS and increasing the accessibility of treatment for people that are infected.  As Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon said in June, “Universal access means more than ensuring that those who need treatment or prevention services receive them. It implies an extra effort to reach those who are marginalized, criminalized, or disenfranchised.”

World AIDS Day is one of the most recognized international health days and remembers those that have passed from the disease, in addition to celebrating the tremendous strides that have been made in HIV/AIDS research.

The Zakim Bridge here in Boston will be one of several landmarks in the world that will be lit red this evening to recognize the global health community’s commitment to honor World AIDS Day.  There are over fifteen community events this year in Boston which have been compiled by the AIDS Action Committee that range from health screenings to films.

There is also a rally being held at the Boston Common at the Parkman Bandstand from 7-9 pm tonight, hosted by the Jubilee Project. The rally will include speeches, a concert, and a candlelight vigil to remember the lives lost to the AIDS epidemic.

For those of you not in Boston, you can find out an event near you at http://www.takeanumber.org.

If you are unable to attend any of the events, you can change your Facebook profile picture to the one provided on the AIDS Action Committee fan page at www.facebook.com/AIDSActionCommittee.

Do what you can today, and every day, to help achieve Millennium Development Goal #6’s aim to eradicate HIV/AIDs!

-Alex.

Celebrate the International Day for Tolerance today!

The International Day for Tolerance was created by Resolution 51/95, where the UN General Assembly invited Member States to observe the Day on November 16th each year, with activities directed towards educational establishments and the broader public.  The day was created to provide an opportunity for everyone within the global community to rededicate their commitment to and responsibility in encouraging tolerance, respect, and cooperation among different cultures and people.

In today’s Message on the International Day for Tolerance, Secretary Ban Ki Moon said,

“Tolerance is the foundation for mutual respect among people and communities, and is vital for building a single global society around shared values.  It is a virtue and a quality, but above all, tolerance is an act – the act of reaching out to others and seeing differences not as barriers, but as invitations for dialogue and understanding.”

Tolerance is defined as, “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.”  It is important for each of us to think about how we can use our differences as invitations rather than barriers.  As today comes to a close, what have you done to open a channel of communication with someone from a culture or background other than your own? If you didn’t do anything today, what can you do tomorrow?

On this Day of Tolerance, I would even challenge us to take the conversation one step further, and consider the ways in which we can shift our tolerance of others into acceptance.

You can show your support for the Day for Tolerance on Twitter by using Twibbon to change your avatar here!

-Alex.