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Celebrating 70

Celebrate the birthday of the UN with UNAGB – Click here to learn more and get your tickets to the UN Day Luncheon!!

UN70-logoOn October 24, the world will celebrate United Nations Day and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN.  Founded in 1945 in the wake of World War II, the U.N. has had a full history, from supporting children’s rights to advocating for the end of colonialism and has been awarded a bevy of Nobel Peace Prizes for their effort.

Too often, people forget how much valuable work the UN has done, and continues to do – all with the mission to make the world a better place to live for all living things.

Click here to be reminded of what the UN has done for YOU!
…AND THEN…
Celebrate some of the UN’s greatest accomplishments

that have changed your life and the lives of those around you in the past 70 years (and see more here):

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a big supporter of the UN and helped draft the Declaration of Human Rights

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a big supporter of the UN and helped draft the Declaration of Human Rights

1948 – Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The most famous U.N. document, the Universal Declaration of Human rights was declared in the hopes of never recreating the atrocities of WWII.  It continues to be a driving force behind peacekeeping today.

1959 – Declaration of the Rights of Children
Much like the Declaration of Human rights, the U.N. declares that children must be allowed to “develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.”

1961 – World Food Programme
Established as an emergency relief program for the victims of natural disaster or civil conflict, the WFP now provides food to tens of millions of people every year.

The WHO declared Smallpox 'dead' in 1980 following a global immunization campaign. The last known natural case was in 1977.

The WHO declared Smallpox ‘dead’ in 1980 following a global immunization campaign. The last known natural case was in 1977.

1980 – The Eradication of Smallpox
A 13-year long effort by the World Health Organizations results in the eradication of the smallpox disease from the planet.

1987 – Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
The United Nations acknowledges the weakening of the protective ozone layer encircling the earth and all 197 member states ratify the treaty, setting the groundwork for the Montreal Protocol.

1995 – Fourth World Conference on Women and the Beijing Platform
On the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, delegates launch the Declaration and Platform for Action, aimed at achieving greater equality and opportunity for women.

In response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami, some UN efforts included: UN World Food Programme delivered rations in 20 days to over 1 million survivors; UNICEF provided more than 30,000 blankets, sleeping mats, water tanks, medical supplies, water purification pills and clothing; UNDP gave $10,000 each to Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Maldives and Thailand to help coordinate emergency needs; UN Population Fund gave $1,000,000 to ensure special health needs of pregnant and nursing women were met.

In response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami, some UN efforts included: UN World Food Programme delivered rations in 20 days to over 1 million survivors; UNICEF provided blankets, sleeping mats, water tanks, medical supplies, water purification pills and clothing; UNDP gave a total of $50,000 to help coordinate emergency needs; UN Population Fund gave $1,000,000 to ensure special health needs of pregnant and nursing women were met.

2000 – Millennium Goals
To acknowledge the arrival of a new millennium, the U.N. passes an ambition set of goals to address poverty, disease, infant and maternal mortality, HIV, and an array of other global issues.

2004 – Indian Ocean Tsunami
The U.N. responds to catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami with relief fund that goes on to raise a record-breaking more than $6.25 billion.

2010 – U.N. Women
The general assembly creates UN Women, the UN agency for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

What will the UN do in the next 70 years??

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Why YOU want to be at the UN Day Luncheon

It is Fall, the temperatures are dropping, and the leaves are changing colors. Do you know what that means? Drumroll! UNA-GB is pleased to announce its 2014 United Nations Day Luncheon! This years’ event will take place on Monday, December 8th at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Register now before it is too late!

Since 1948, United Nations has been celebrating the Anniversary of its founding in 1945 through UN Day. According to the UN, it should be an occasion for “governments and peoples to reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter”.  Since 2000, UNA-GB has celebrated the international holiday with our annual luncheon, gathering leaders from the business 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.

Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, David Donoghue, with United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon.

This years’ Luncheon will focus on Ireland, the world leader in quality of life. USA and Ireland have relations that go way back, from values that our ancestors shared, to emigration. Two of the most important areas that the two governments share are education and medical research. Ireland’s membership in the European Union has helped its relations with United States, especially in areas such as trade and economic policy. Besides trade and economics, United States and Ireland hold a unique bond: millions of American citizens have some ancestral connection with Ireland. Boston is known to have the highest population of Irish people in the whole United States! And this is one of the many reasons why you should attend this amazing event! Still wondering why you really need to honor us with your attendance?

Here are a few more reasons we can think of:

1.  Ambassador David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations will be there.

2. He will be our keynote speaker. Read all about him here.

3. Our attendees will include individuals and companies who are actively engaged in global affairs, as well as who have a commitment to global education in the Boston community and a desire to foster dialogue among a diverse set of companies, peoples and nations.

4. There will be opportunities to network with professionals, consuls, and other individuals who are dedicated to promoting the founding principles of the United Nations.

5. Members of the UNA-GB, professionals of all ages, Consuls from a variety of Consulates in Boston, and most importantly, YOU will have the opportunity to discuss anything from national issues/achievements to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with like-minded people who support the work of the United Nations.

Delegates voting on a resolution

 

6. It’s a good excuse to get out of the office (or school or the house) and enjoy some delicious food at one of Boston’s finest landmarks!
7. You will be supporting UNA-GB’s programs, which aim to educate today’s  youth and tomorrow’s leaders!

 

 

 

Convinced? Then hurry up and sign up to attend 2014 UN Day Luncheon here!!

 UNDayLuncheon14

Happy 67th Birthday, United Nations!

October 24, 2012 was United Nations Day, and the UNA-GB celebrated in style! 

The UNA-GB celebrated the 67th anniversary of when the United Nations Charter went into effect. This year, UNA-USA commemorated this special day with more than 170 events around the country hosted by 100 communities in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The UNA-GB was excited to participate in these celebrations at Boston’s City Hall. Fortified with pastries and coffee provided by Rebecca’s Cafe, attendees heard Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s UN Day Message and City of Boston’s UN Day Proclamation.

Mary-Frances Wain, our keynote speaker, is the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Association of the United States of America. Within her engaging speech, Ms. Mary-Frances Wain discussed the importance of finding solutions in three categories: hunger, sickness, and conflict.

In addition, Brooke Loughrin, the first ever U.S. Youth Observer for the United Nations, took some time to share her unique perspective about the UN.

We finished the celebration of international unity by raising the UN Flag at City Hall Plaza. Despite a small flag mishap, we still were able to reflect the impact of United Nations on a local and global level.

How did you celebrate UN Day?

Tweet us @UNAGB or leave a comment on our Facebook! For more pictures of UNA-GB’s UN Day Celebration, click here.

Announcing our 2012 UN Day Luncheon!

UNA-GB is pleased to announce our upcoming 2012 UN Day Luncheon; the signature event will take place on Monday, Oct 29th at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. United Nations Day celebrates the Anniversary of the UN’s founding in 1945.  According to the UN, it should be an occasion for “governments and peoples to reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter”.  Since 2000, UNA-GB has celebrated the international holiday with our annual luncheon, gathering leaders from the business 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. Funds raised at the UN Day Luncheon directly support UNA-GB’s community events and classroom-based programs.

This year’s luncheon will focus on Brazil, a formidable leader in global affairs. Brazil represents the largest national economy in Latin America, just finished a 2 year term on the UN Security Council, hosted the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June (Rio+20), and will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Brazil is not only an international powerhouse but also ever-present in the greater Boston community. Massachusetts boasts one of the highest populations of Brazilian immigrants in the nation with Framingham having the highest concentration of Brazilians in the state. The Commonwealth has seen an explosion of Brazilian-owned businesses, particularly in Allston-Brighton, in the last ten years from manufacturing, to culinary and financial services.

Brazil has also become more interested in doing business in Massachusetts and the Patrick administration has reciprocated this interest through their trade mission in late 2011. Governor Patrick along with representatives from Mass-based companies toured Brazil in an effort to establish and strengthen business partnerships in one of the world’s fastest growing markets. Additionally, when President Dilma Rousseff visited the US in 2011, she made two stops: Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill. This fall’s luncheon will be the perfect opportunity to bridge Brazil and Boston, global and local, as we celebrate Brazil’s influence in the Commonwealth and look forward to an even stronger relationship between the two.

UNA-GB is thrilled to welcome our keynote speaker for the afternoon, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil’s permanent representative to the UN. AmbassadorViotti has worked in the foreign service for three decades, and been an integral part of Brazilian decisions on international economics, development and human rights.

In addition to the Ambassador’s remarks, the luncheon will feature our second annual Global Corporate Citizenship Honor Roll, which recognizes Massachusetts-based corporations who have signed onto the UN Global Compact, Principles for Responsible Investment, or the Principles for Responsible Management Education. UNA-GB is happy to acknowledge these model companies – and, in particular, we welcome 7 new signatories to our honor roll this year.  We’re glad the commitment to global sustainability and ethical business practices is growing in Massachusetts!

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You can experience firsthand a glimpse of the Luncheon below, with the video recap from  our 2011 Luncheon and see more photos here.

UN DAY 2011

As Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said regarding UN Day 2011, “In our increasingly interconnected world, we all have something to give and something to gain by working together.” In 1947 and now more than ever, the United Nations’ mission compels us as global citizens to unite in action to foster an improved international environment. Although the UN operates throughout the globe, the organization continues to need our support. On this day, we look to not only recognize the work of the UN, but also our own efforts, within our communities in Massachusetts and beyond, that contribute to a better world. On UN Day, UNA-GB not only thanks our community for their support of our organization and of the UN, but also urges us to look forward and ask ourselves what we can do locally to become better global citizens.

We hope you will join the UNA-GB community (a special shout out to our current 2012 sponsors, listed below) on October 29 to celebrate and recognize the United Nations’ impact locally and globally!  Stay tuned for more details over the next couple of months as they develop!

-Jessica Pires

2012 UN Day Luncheon Sponsors (as of August 7, 2012)
For those interested in joining as a sponsor, please contact Kaitlin Hasseler.

GreaterMediaR

Breckinridge Capital Advisors

Brandeis University International Business School

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

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

A Reform For The World

Check out this week’s blog post from our Get Educated, One Topic At A Time blog series. This week, learn about the modernization of international relations through history and reform of the UN Security Council in preparation for a MUN simulation coming up on UN Day . Also, check out our last five blog posts from the series: “Creating A Road To Democracy”, “A Historical Moment For Genocide”, “Two Sides To Invest”, “An Undefined Grasp Of Failure” and “A Necessary Priority”.

If there is one thing that international relations experts agree on unanimously, it is that the modern international system has changed drastically since its origins in the aftermath of World War II. The shadow of fascism no longer hangs over Europe and Asia; the “Iron Curtain” has been pulled back; and, perhaps most importantly, large developing countries are beginning to emerge on the “world stage”. Despite these major shifts in world politics in the past half-century, much of the international system’s critical infrastructure remains exactly as it has always been. Recently, calls for reform have grown louder as rising powers are eager to take to the helm of the international system. In particular, many nations are calling for reform of the UN Security Council to better reflect the current dynamics of world politics.


The Charter of the United Nations charges the Security Council – the most powerful and important organ of the UN – with “the maintenance of international peace and security”. The founders of the UN gave five victors of World War II – the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China – permanent seats on the Council with the power to veto any of the Council’s resolutions. The General Assembly (GA) of the UN elects the remaining 10 non-permanent members on the Council (none of whom holds veto power) for two-year terms. Although frequently criticized, this structure has barely changed since the founding of the UN, with the notable exception of an expansion of the Council from 11 to 15 members in 1965.

Number of resolutions vetoed by each of the five permanent members of the Security Council between 1946 and 2007.

The most controversial characteristic of the Security Council is the “veto power” afforded to the five “permanent members” (aka. the “P-5”). Initially developed as an incentive to develop consensus and to maintain the absolute sovereignty of the world’s leading powers, the veto is sometimes criticized as a relic of a bygone era and an impediment to the Council’s effectiveness. Notably, the veto power effectively prevents the Security Council from resolving conflicts between its permanent members. For example, during the Cold War, the Security Council held a much less important role in maintaining international peace and security than it does today due to the competing vetoes of the United States and the Soviet Union. More recently, the veto power prevented the Security Council from addressing the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia. Some also argue that countries abuse their veto power for political gain. For example, China sometimes vetoes resolutions that send aid to nations that recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation. While criticism of the veto power is widespread, it is unlikely to disappear any time soon, as its elimination would require the approval of the very nations that possess it.

A more likely scenario for Security Council reform would be further expansion of its membership. Many criticize the fact that the Council has two permanent European members (UK & France), yet no permanent members from Africa, Latin America, or South Asia/Middle East. While most nations agree that a larger Council would be more representative of the international community, there is little consensus on how to expand or who would receive the new seats. One proposal would expand the number of permanent members but not the veto power. New permanent seats could go to resurgent and/or emergent world powers such as Germany, Japan, India, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria or Mexico. Other proposals involve expanding the number of non-permanent seats, or some combination of the two. However, as the current permanent members must approve any reforms, there are many roadblocks to these proposals. Today, we know more about which nations the “P-5” would refuse to allow permanent seats than we do about which nations they could support. For example, China fiercely opposes a permanent seat for rival Japan and all permanent members fear diluting their significant clout on the Council. However, US President Barack Obama has notably endorsed India’s bid for a permanent seat on the Council. Although potential expansion of the Council appears to be gaining steam, it remains to be seen if the international community can overcome the necessary challenges.

Reform of the Security Council appears necessary and inevitable in order for the international system to retain its legitimacy and successfully prevent conflict. However, many critics argue that reform would make the Council more representative, but not more effective. For now, the dominant viewpoint is that emerging and resurgent powers must mature before they can take to the helm of maintaining international peace and security.

However reform unfolds, this issue is clearly among the most complex debates taking place at the UN today! We invite you to debate the issue with us at this year’s United Nations Day celebrations on October 24, 2011!

– Nicholas Blake, Education Intern

UN Day Ceremony: A Beautiful Success!

Though yesterday was a warm, gorgeous day, a large turnout took time out of the sun to join us for our annual UN Day Ceremony at the State House. As sweet harmonies of Women of the World flowed through the air, the room surrounding the Grand Staircase quickly filled with people and buzzed with friendly networking and conversation. The ceremony began with a wonderful welcome and introduction from Alma Morrison, the clerk of our Board of Directors, and Lena Granberg, our Executive Director. Then, our lovely student ambassadors, Ricky Hanzich of Harvard University and Natalie Prolman of Northeastern University read the governor’s UN Day Proclamation and a message from our Secretary-General (read it here!).

This year, we gathered to celebrate 65 years of the United Nations’ service to the international community. We had the honor of having the Permanent Judge of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as the keynote speaker. Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov, also known as Judge T, shared his experiences as a judge in prosecuting war criminals responsible for the genocide and other crimes against humanity that occurred in Rwanda in 1994. He expressed compelling thoughts on justice and reconciliation for these war criminals and their victims sparking fascinating discussion and Q&A.

The ceremony closed with an amazing musical performance by Berklee’s Women of the World. This ensemble of women from Japan, India, US, Greece and Brazil combined their incredible voices and music to perform two touching African songs which left the entire room in awe and united with hope for world peace.

It was truly a beautiful day to conclude our 2010 UN Day Celebrations! Check out the pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?aid=92231&id=1438526316&fbid=1656940670230!

Thank you to our partner organizations and all our attendees! We hope to see you again at our future events!

-Geroline