Blog Archives

Fall 2013: Meet the Interns!

Rose Llanos-Almeida UNAGB InternRose Llanos-Almeida

I am a second year graduate student studying international affairs at Boston University. My area of focus is theory and policy and I am very much interested in Latin America, specifically Brazil. I was originally born in Florida but my parents are from Peru and El Salvador. My heritage has played such a significant part in my professional interests that I decided to major  in Portuguese and Spanish for my undergraduate studies. During my free time, I love to go salsa, forro, and samba dancing and spend time with my husband, friends and family. I also love traveling; visiting Brazil has been one of the highlights of my travels. One place I would love to travel to is Greece; I spent the summer studying abroad in Geneva, Switzerland and visited many other places in Europe yet did not have enough time to squeeze in Greece. Ultimately, my dream job would be to work in international development focusing on improving the lives of children, their families and communities.

Marc Orlandella UNAGB InternMarc Orlandella
I am a senior at Boston University majoring in International Relations and Business Administration.
I am from Saugus, MA. In my free time I serve as a mentor at BU, helping new students adjust to campus life. I offer my help and advice when new students need some assistance. My favorite place I’ve traveled to is probably Madrid. I studied abroad there over the spring semester and it was an awesome experience! It’s a beautiful city. While I was there I had the chance to learn a lot about the culture and increase my Spanish speaking skills. If I could go anywhere in the world I would choose Italy, especially Sicily. My whole family comes from Southern Italy and my grandfather is from Sicily. I would love to visit and spend time there! My dream job is being involved in the education field. I love working with students and mentoring, so I think I want to work for a school/university. It would be especially great if I had the chance to combine international relations with an education position. Or more realistically, I would be an actor and star in my own sitcom on TV. I would want to use a time machine to travel into the future, like maybe a thousand years ahead. I’m curious to see how the world will be and how it will look. I think it would be pretty great to see all the new technology that will exist.
Kyeu Eun UNAGB Intern
Kyeu Eun (Cathy)
I am from Seoul, South Korea. In my free time, I like to walk around outside, listen to music, and look at different design blogs. My favorite place that I have been is Vancouver because of the beautiful environment and diverse groups of people. I would love to travel to Greece someday because I would like to look at ancient architecture and artifacts in person. Also, Greek food is absolutely amazing! If I had a time machine, I would like to observe 10 years from now, which would be 2023, because I would like to see my parents’ health conditions and warn them now to be become healthy.

Eliza Berg

Eliza Berg UNAGB Intern

This is me above the Thames in London, where I studied Conflict Resolution in the summer of 2012

I am currently a senior at Boston University studying International Relations and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and I am very excited to continue my internship at UNA-GB! Originally from a small town in New Hampshire, I have slowly become accustomed to the busy city life in Boston and I love all of the diverse opportunities for research, networking, performance, and art (to name a few) here! One of my favorite things to do in Boston is take walks along the esplanade next to the Charles River, and to eat delicious food at restaurants and cafes with a variety of cuisines. I’ve made it my goal to go to one restaurant per month that features food from a different area of the world (which should be easy with YP’s awesome “Taste Of” events!) One of the places that I have always wanted to visit is Morocco, and I am finally getting the opportunity to go to Rabat in January to do some independent research! I would also love to visit other North African and Middle Eastern countries, and I love learning the Arabic language.  For these reasons (and because of my research interests) I hope to one day work for a non-profit or government agency that promotes women’s rights in the MENA and other developing countries.

Jennifer Beiwise UNAGB intern

This is me outside of Belfast City Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Jennifer Bleiwise

I am a senior at Northeastern University studying International Affairs with minors in Political Science and History. I’m from a small town in central New Jersey. I love traveling abroad, and I have studied abroad multiple times and have done internships abroad as well. I have studied in England, Austria, the Czech Republic, and France, and did two different internships in Northern Ireland. I really enjoyed studying in Austria and the Czech Republic because I have both Austrian and Czech heritage. Every city I have been to is beautiful and charming in its own way, but if I had to go back to one, I would buy a one way ticket to Belfast, Northern Ireland. My dream job would probably be to be a country singer!

Lesley Ta UNAGB Intern
Lesley Ta
Hi, my name is Lesley Ta and I’m currently a senior at Malden High School in Malden, Massachusetts. I was born and raised in Boston. I will be a first generation college student; I hope to have a career concerning international relations or political science. I have a gravitational pull toward water sports – I love rowing, kayaking, sailing, and paddle boarding. Although I’m not the most athletic person out there, I enjoy being able to physically and mentally challenge myself. In the following spring, I will be traveling to Beijing and Shanghai through my school. I’m so excited to be here at the UNA-GB, having participated in the same Model UN conferences that I now assist with.
Alyssa Russell UNAGB Intern

This is me in front of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Alyssa Russell

I am a senior at Boston University studying International Relations and Public Relations. I am originally from Falmouth, MA, which is on Cape Cod. I have always loved anything and everything to do with the ocean. In my free time, I love to read, walk or hike outside, write, and explore wherever I happen to be living! Last year, I studied abroad in Paris, France, doing an internship program. I learned so much and got to travel all over Europe; it’s hard to choose, but I think that my favorite place was Edinburgh, Scotland. I loved the medieval feel of the city, the natural beauty both in and around the city, and the people- and I even got to see a fire festival while I was there! If I had a time machine, I would want to go to the lost Inca city at Machu Picchu. I have two dream jobs: one would be to be a highly-in-demand travel blogger, paid to travel all over the world and write about it, and the other would be to work for an international nonprofit, maybe doing conservation or development work.

Montana FredrickMontana Fredrick UNAGB Intern

I am a sophomore at Northeastern University studying International Affairs and am from Chicago, IL. This semester my free time has been devoted to movie hopping–seeing three movies for the price of one–and creating homemade conditioners. I have been to the movies about three times this semester and seen five movies, my goal is to see all of the films that have been given the Oscar nod. I would definitely go to Morocco. I am fluent in French but miss being around french speakers, although Morocco isn’t the first place people go to practice their french I have recently become fascinated with their presence in North Africa. My dream job is to be an international super star like Celine Dion! If I could, I would go into the future to see myself at age 30. I’m curious to know what I will be doing for a living, what friends I will have and if I have kept any, what my younger siblings would be doing, where I will be living, and what the world would be like.

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UN Day of the Girl Child: “Innovating for Girls’ Education”

On Thursday, October 10th, Katrina Sousounis introduced Girl Rising to about two hundred and sixty attendees at a film screening hosted by UNA-GB. She explained that the most pervasive issues affecting the people of the world today (including poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, violence) disproportionately affect young women. Katrina finished the speech with a call for educational reform to give opportunities to women everywhere, and ended with this quote from the film: “Boys need to believe in girls, and girls need to learn to believe in themselves.”

Katrina is 13 years old.

UNAGB Girl Rising Girl Up

Katrina and the Girl Up Club of the R.J. Grey Junior High School

Founder of the first Girl Up club in Massachusetts, Katrina was inspired to try and solve the problems so carefully outlined in her speech. Her club is part of an organization founded to help girls and young women around the world to reach their full potential by ensuring that they are educated, safe, well-fed, and guaranteed basic human rights.

Because of this, Katrina was asked to introduce Girl Rising at UNA-GB’s screening of the film on Thursday, which was a fundraiser for Girl Up. Her presence and hard work demonstrate a distinctive part of Girl Up’s message: to help girls reach their potential around the world, we must empower girls themselves to effect the change that they want to see.UNAGB Girl Rising Film Screening

Girl Rising is the story of nine girls from around the world: Sokha from Cambodia, Wadley from Haiti, Suma from Nepal, Yasmin from Egypt, Azmera from Ethiopia, Ruksana from India, Senna from Peru, Mariama from Sierra Leone, and Amina from Afghanistan. Each girl was paired with a writer from her country to help tell her story. Each story is artistically captured differently, with varying experiences when it comes to cultural restraints, parental support, and environmental circumstances. In essence, Girl Rising is a movement to deliver a “simple, critical truth: educate girls and you will change the world.”

The UNA-GB decided to screen this film to get a dialogue started to help men, women, boys and girls in Boston and elsewhere think about solutions to various forms of discrimination against girls around the world. After the film, a musical group called “Women of the World”, which sings in 21 different languages, performed. They chose a song that resonated with the idea that together, we can create positive change.

UNAGB Girl Rising Women of the World

Women of the World Perform at “Girl Rising” Screening

In 2011, the UN declared October 11th as the first annual tribute to its goal to improve gender equality everywhere. This year, the theme of the day is “Innovating for Girls’ Education.” It sounds simple enough, but the task of ensuring that girls worldwide are educated is complex, both in implementation and consequence.

What exactly is keeping girls from going to school?

A wide breadth of causes keep girls out of school each day. Governmental policies and social issues alike can keep girls and boys out of school. Here are a few major perpetrators:

  • School is not free everywhere, and many poor families cannot afford to send any or all of their children to school. In some countries, boys are sent to school while girls stay home and work.
  • It can be dangerous: in 2012, Save the Children reported that there were more than 3,600 attacks on education around the world.
  • About half of all girls living in the world’s least developed countries are married before the age of 18. Child marriage greatly decreases a girl’s likelihood of finishing school, according to World Vision.
  • Lack of sanitary protection means that girls may miss up to five days of school a month
  • When basic needs aren’t being met and students are not healthy or well-fed, school may be a low priority.
  • There may not be a school within walking distance, especially in rural areas.
  • Governmental policies and societal norms can make it illegal  or abnormal for girls to become educated

So, how exactly does educating girls help the world?

  • According to the UN: “When girls are able to stay in school and avoid being married early, they can build a foundation for a better life for themselves and their families and participate in the progress of their nations.”
  • Educated mothers educate their children; this not only breaks the cycle of poverty, but their sons will be more inclined to educate their daughters.
  • UNICEF connected discrimination against women and girls and hunger. Child malnutrition in South Asia is highly linked to women’s limited access to education and difficulties with finding paid employment.

What can you do?

  •  Education, education, education! Educate yourself by exploring the issue even more- try checking out some of the links below
  • Donate! Visit Girl Up’s website, or one of the other initiatives below, to give to the cause.
  • Become an activist! Join one of the causes below, or create your own!

Happy International Day of the Girl Child!

Sources/More Information:

School Girls Unite!
Girl Rising
 Girl Up

UN Day of the Girl Child
http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/index.shtml
http://dayofthegirl.org/actnow/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/11/international-day-of-girl-child_n_4080681.html?utm_hp_ref=impact

Summer 2013: Meet the Interns!

Summer 2013 has started and so have the new interns! Here is a little bit more about each one…

“Ali’s Interns” (Programming)

At PAUL Bakery in Prague

Me at PAUL Bakery in Prague eating a macaroon, one of my favorite pastries!

Brittany Osachuk
Hi, my name is Brittany Osachuk and I am a fifth year student at Northeastern University studying International Affairs with a minor in Political Science. I am a citizen of the U.S. and Finland and grew up in central Massachusetts but spent time living in Grenada and Finland during my younger years. I have a passion for travelling and experiencing new cultures which has led me to study abroad in the Czech Republic and Japan. In my free time I love to dance hip-hop and am on the No Limits Dance Crew at Northeastern. Fun fact: I can speak Finnish fluently, and yes, it is an uncommon and unusual language! If I could be anyone for a day I would be a KGB spy during the Cold War.

If I could be anyone for a day, I would be Darius Rucker so I could wagon wheel all the time.

Tim Lawlor

My name is Timothy Jude Lawlor Jr. I am a senior at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (home of real education). I am from Merica, meaning I am American from Irish background. My favorite country is Germany, and my hobbies include outdoors activities and working on my truck. Fun fact – I worked in Germany for a summer at a camp for the Boy Scouts.  If I could be anyone for a day, I would be Darius Rucker so I could wagon wheel all the time.

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Along with academics at PC, I am also a cheerleader for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, and I enjoy dancing with the dance club and playing intramural soccer.

Cayla Barbour

Hi! My name Cayla and I am a rising junior at Providence College. I am a Raynham, MA native, but both of my parents are from Lebanon making me 100% Lebanese. I love my family’s homeland,but Lebanon is only one of my favorite places to travel. Being a Spanish minor, I love Spain, specifically the city of Granada. I love countries and languages, and that has inspired me to pursue a degree in Global Studies with a double minor in Spanish and Political Science. Along with academics at PC, I am also a cheerleader for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, and I enjoy dancing with the dance club and playing intramural soccer. A fun fact about me is that I can lick my elbow, and if I could be anyone for a day, I would be Kate Middleton (or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge).

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A casual picture of me skydiving recently.

Shuvam Rizal

Hello. My name is Shuvam Rizal and I am a junior at UMass Amherst. I am from Kathmandu in Nepal, but my favorite place is obviously here at UNA-GB building in Boston.  Like Tim, I am fan of Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel,” and one of my hobbies is jamming out to it on the guitar every now and then. Fun fact – A large part of me is still very angry at Scar for Mufasa’s death. If I could be anyone for a day, I’d be one of the Beatles, no question!

“Rebecca & Monika’s Interns” (Education)

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My hobbies include volunteering at my local church, playing the piano and going out with my friends!

Beatriz Pereira

Hi! My name is Beatriz, and I am currently a sophomore at UMass Boston studying Political Science and International Relations. I am originally from Vitoria, Brazil but I have been living in Boston since 2001. Officially I am Brazilian because I was born in Brazil but I have a crazy mixture of German, Portuguese and Italian because of my parents’ ancestors. If I had to visit one place I would go to Australia, who wouldn’t want to visit the biggest island in the world? I love their accents, their free-spirited style and their way of living. My hobbies include volunteering at my local church, playing the piano and going out with my friends! I would love to be Queen Elizabeth for a day, to just know the feeling of being a queen without the responsibilities. A random fun fact about me is — I am a little obsessed with painting my nails.

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I love Thai, Chinese, and Mexican food!

Maham Ahmed

Hi, my name is Maham, and I will be a freshman this fall at UMass Amherst! I am from Reading, MA, and I am originally from Pakistan. I love traveling especially to older cities like London, but I am a little biased when it comes to my favorite city as it would have to be Peshawar, Pakistan, the city I was born in. My hobbies include cooking, baking, reading, watching movies, making collages, and photography. I love Thai, Chinese, and Mexican food! A fun fact about me is that I can speak 6 languages (including English).  And if I could be anyone for a day I would probably be… Michael Kors or Vera Wang.

Wenwen Zhang (1)

If I could choose a person to be for a day, it must be Luxun, a writer who used his pen to fight against darkness and dictators, and his books influenced and inspired many young people at that time.

Wenwen Zhang

My name is Wenwen Zhang, Class 2013 in Wheaton College. I am from an ancient city Shaoxing (China) with 2,500 years’ history. I really want to visit North Korea one day and learn the local cultures and history. I love travelling and photography, and three facts about myself: 1. I cannot swim and am afraid of water; 2. I always mix “kitchen” and “chicken”; 3. I am a big fan of Mayday, a Taiwanese band. If I could choose a person to be for a day, it must be Luxun, a writer who used his pen to fight against darkness and dictators, and his books influenced and inspired many young people at that time. I am really interested in economic development and I would like to work on improving people in developing countries’ living standards in the future.

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A fun fact about me is that I won Best Hair in my graduating class and if I could be anyone for a day I’d be James Bond.

Caio Alvim

Hi, my name is Caio and I’m going to be a freshman at Umass Boston in the  fall where I’ll be studying Political Science. I was born in the town of Mendes Pimentel in Minas Gerais, Brasil. I’m a native Brasilian of both Italian and Portuguese ancestry. I haven’t traveled enough to have a favorite place picked out in the world but there’s no place I want to get to know more than northern Italy. I love my hometown of Boston and I’m a huge Boston sports fanatic! I love film and acting and I hope to one day pursue my love of acting and become a major Hollywood film star. I also love international relations and might end up choosing to become a diplomat and follow my love of international diplomacy. I love sports, and I was a Division I swimmer in high school and hope to continue swimming in college. A fun fact about me is that I won Best Hair in my graduating class and if I could be anyone for a day I’d be James Bond.

UNA-GB Intern Date

Time flies! The fall semester is almost over and it’s been fantastic with our awesome group of interns. Before the crazy weeks of finals, our interns decided to hang out and celebrate the end of the semester outside of the office. With great meals and drinks at the Cheesecake Factory, the interns enjoyed “UNA-GB Intern Secret Santa,” guessing who got whom. Everyone filled out their wishlists beforehand except Josh, our only guy intern. They all loved their secret santa presents!!!

It was a wonderful “Intern Date” and everyone enjoyed it. And that’s all for this semester! Happy holidays and we’ll be back!

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Interested in our internship program? click here.

Young Professional’s “Taste of Brazil”

December has been the month of the Young Professionals with events ranging from film screenings to restaurant visits; YP has been very busy the last few weeks! The past two Wednesdays had YPers eating delicious international cuisines from Brazil and Mexico.

On the 5th, a group of 12 gathered at Oliveira’s Restaurant (297 Chelsea St) for all-you-can-eat Brazilian buffet. The food ranged from salads in varieties of greens, potatoes, olives, tomatoes, and pasta; to beans and rice; to meats where chicken hearts were a favorite tester; and finally to a scrumptious coconut chocolate confection for dessert.

As we enjoyed the ethnic food, we also got to learn a little about Brazil! For example, do you know what two South American nations Brazil does not share a border with? Chile and Ecuador! Can you guess how many stars are on the Brazilian flag? 27! And do you know what colors are on the Brazilian flag and what they stand for? Apparently the yellow stands for gold, the blue for sky and the green for forest.

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The very next week, on the 12th, YP met once again to enjoy Mexican food at Ole Restaurant (11 Springfield St). 26 people crowded together in a private back room to taste traditional tapas dishes, which included the obvious guacamole and salsa with chips, quesadillas, melted cheese and mushroom, and fried plantains, all served with homemade corn tortillas! Similar to our Taste of Brazil, interesting trivia questions were shared, but also fun language cards floated around the room, teaching us that burrito actually means little donkey! Or coaching us on flirting phrases in Spanish, such as ‘isn’t that guy over there handsome?’

imageYP was lucky enough to get a demonstration from the head chef and owner of Ole about Mexican food, his relationship with it, how to make the best guacamole (don’t forget your lava stone!), and smelling the different chili peppers. We devoured the food and margaritas well into the night, unwilling and sad to end the evening.

We will be having our last event of the year, ‘Hotel Rwanda’ screening for a belated celebration of Human Rights Day on December 19th.

Happy December everyone and we hope that the holiday season is starting out well! Hope to see you all at some YP events in 2013!

A Night with Women’s Forum: Micro-financing in Developing Countries

Last night, Women’s Forum, in partnership with UNICEF and Accion, held a special presentation and discussion on how successful micro-finance programs in developing countries help empower women. The two keynote panel speakers were Willow Shire, Executive Consultant at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Erika Eurkus, Senior Director for External Affairs of Accion, a global nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives.

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Micro-finance is an increasingly popular development approach, particularly in developing countries, that provides an appropriate range of high quality finance services, including savings, insurances, and fund transfers, to low-income or poor individuals. Additionally, micro-financing helps promote gender equality, which allows women to have more active roles in both society and their families.

In her presentation, Eurkus from Accion talked about Accion’s micro-financing projects which support low-income people. Accion has 63 institutions in 31 countries helping 13 million people. She showed a video starring two women helped by Accion; one was able to start up her own jewelry making business and another who now runs her own restaurant.

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Shire first showed a tear-inducing promotional video from UNICEF, and then went on to discuss specifically UNICEF’s Communal Banking project in Bolivia. Her project helps train women from rural areas in finance and operations. This approach stressed the importance of business planning, continued education and also provides complementary educational courses on hygiene, sanitation, and environmental awareness.

The question and answer period following the presentation showed the varied interests of the attendees; with questions ranging from education, to financial particulars and of course the social impact of micro-financing on women across the globe.  Accion and UNICEF stressed their differences (success in the city vs rural etc) but also showed how very similar they are and how important their work is.

The event was a great success with over 40 attendees and a lengthy networking reception afterwards. Check out more pictures of the event on our Facebook page!!!

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Please join us in our upcoming events. We have more exciting plans in the works!!

A Warm Welcome to the Fall 2012 interns!

As the leaves are changing in New England, so are the UNA-GB interns! We would like to give a warm welcome to our new, wonderful fall semester interns and to congratulate those returning for more. We have a colorful array of new and old faces gracing the office with varied backgrounds, interests and strengths; each bringing a little something special to the office.

Programs:

ImageMarcela Aguirre

I am a second-year international affairs graduate student at Boston University. My specific concentrations are theory and policy with a regional focus on Europe. I hold an undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, in communication studies with a minor in French from University of Texas at El Paso. This past summer I studied abroad in Europe for an international conflict resolution program with BU. I spent the first month in Geneva learning theories and concepts of conflict resolution while visiting international organizations such as the United Nations. I spent the second month in London learning case studies in conflict resolution. After I complete my master’s degree in May 2013, I hope to find a job in the field of public diplomacy.

YeJin Kim

I am YeJin Kim, a second-year international relations and international communication graduate student at Boston University. I was born and raised in South Korea up until high school, when I moved to the United States and attended high school in North Carolina. I received my bachelor’s degree in public relations from Indiana University Bloomington. I love meeting new people, traveling, taking photos, and learning about different cultures. In the future, I hope to work in the communications sector of an international organization. I’m excited to be working with the United Nations Association of Greater Boston this Fall because I’m eager to learn skills from the experienced UNA-GB team.

Devin Denny

I am Devin Denny and a graduate student at Harvard University earning a M.T.S. in Religion, Ethics, & Politics, specializing in women’s rights within Islam and Hinduism. I graduated from University of Rochester with a B.A. in European History and Comparative Religion with Honors. I am particularly interested in human trafficking, international human rights public policy, and educational equity. After spending my summer in Morocco, I am determined to perfect my Arabic verb conjugations! When I’m not studying, I love crossword puzzles, ballet, and planning trips to all corners of the world.

Valeria Vidal

My name is Valeria Vidal and I am a junior at Northeastern University pursuing a dual degree in international affairs and language, literature and culture .I have two minors, one in law and public policy and the other in sustainable business practices. I am originally from Peru but I have grown up in many different places around the world such as the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Argentina, Dominican Republic, and France to name a few. I am passionate in my support of the UNA-GB’s mission to work with students in the Boston area by keeping them informed, engaged, and inspired in the work of the United Nations.

Education:

ImageNathalie Van Der Elst

Hi! I am Nathalie Van Der Elst, a recent graduate of Boston University with a major in international relations. I come from Belgium, from my father’s side, and my mother is South Korean. However, I have never lived in either of the two countries. Instead, my father’s work took me to places such as Turkey, where I lived for 14 years, and China. My parents have very different backgrounds but it is their international mindset that gave them the courage to pursue life across the world, an attitude that has inspired me. I believe the UNA-GB has the same mindset. One that teaches us to understand, learn, and experience different cultures, and become immersed in a global, giving community. I hope to further my studies through international law to continue promoting internationalism; and perhaps someday I can inspire others too.

Anna Avetissian

My name is Anna Avetissian and I am currently a graduate student at Harvard University. In 2008, I founded a fundraiser to raise awareness and funds for the underprivileged youth in Armenia. This experience inspired me to pursue a degree in international relations. I believe strongly in the phrase: “It takes a village to raise a child” and the necessity of positive relationships in a child’s life. This philosophy is mainly inspired by ten years of my professional life working for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and LA’s BEST After School Enrichment Program as an educator.

ImageNaa Aku Shika Addo

I am a senior at Emmanuel College with a double major in global studies & international relations and sociology with a concentration in social justice. I live in Vermont but am originally from Ghana, the country of birth of the former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. Last spring, I studied abroad in Brussels where I had the opportunity of interning with the Mission of Montenegro to the European Union. Over the summer, I also interned with the ECOSOC committee of the United Nations in New York. My passion for global studies spurred from having the opportunity to travel along with the experiences that she has had. I would love to get my master’s degree in diplomacy. But for now, I plan to take a year off after graduation to study for the LSAT.

Miranda MacKinnon

Hi, I am Miranda MacKinnon. I graduated from Gordon College (Wenham, MA) in May 2012 where I studied Sociology, Development, and Global Health. I have been working with UNA-GB since June 2012. During the Spring of 2011, I studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, for a Global Health and Developmental Policy program and conducted research at the United Nations and the World Health Organization. To further my research, I co-designed a community development project (Summer 2011) called “The Learn Africa Project” focused on preventing disease and promoting education in Togo, West Africa. I currently live in Boston, MA, working a variety of jobs while searching for a job in nonprofit, development, or public health. I hope to attend graduate school for public health and international development. I enjoy meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, exploring the outdoors, painting, traveling, and learning.

ImageJiwon Ma

I am Jiwon Ma, and I am a junior at Lesley University majoring in global studies and minoring in psychology. I am a Community Advisor (CA), or commonly known as an RA in other universities. Over the summer, I studied abroad in Seoul, South Korea at Yonsei University. It was really interesting to experience Korea as an adult.  I learned about International Organizations and Globalization, focusing on the United Nations and its purpose and function. I was born in South Korea. I lived in South Korea when I was a child and immigrated to Fiji. I have lived in the United States the majority of my life.

ImageGrace Holley

Hi, my name is Grace Holley and I am a student of International Relations at Boston University. I am from Malden, MA and graduated from Malden High School, so I am glad to be working at the UNA-GB which has close ties to my hometown and other local cities and schools. At age eighteen, after working for much of the year, I was able to backpack independently through Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Spain, and Morocco. The inequality I was exposed to in these countries drives me to work toward a sustainable solution global injustices and extreme porverty. I am excited to be starting my career in global development and hope to help make the world a better place!

We look forward to a productive and exciting semester with all of these wonderful new interns! Welcome! And for those interested in joining our stellar internship team next spring and beyond, check out more info here!

Inspiration, Perspiration, and Celebration: 2012 UNA-USA Annual Meeting Recap

This year’s UNA-USA Annual Meeting just wrapped up last week, and was a great success with more than 150 UNA-USA members from 63 Chapters and 31 states coming together in Washington DC from June 10-12 for Chapter development sessions, briefings at the U.S. Department of State, and Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.  We had an impressive showing by Boston members this year; along with staff member Kaitlin Hasseler and Board Member Alma Morrison, we had 5 members actively participate in the conference.  Read their recaps of the activities below.

UN Foundation President Tim Wirth and Dan Sullivan at the UNA-USA ’12 Meeting

Dan Sullivan, former Young Professionals chair and current UNA New England Region Steering Committee Member:
The state of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is strong and vibrant. UNA members met for the annual meeting in our nationʼs capital June 9-12th as a unified cadre of committed citizen ambassadors representing the principles embodied in the United Nationsʼ mission. Newly elected CCR-Steering Committee representatives assembled Saturday for dinner and their first official meeting.

Alma Morrison, UNA-GB Board Member and outgoing CCR Chair (far left), with Patrick Madden, UNA-USA Executive Director, and additional chapter members.

A palpable energy was evident in the Westin DC City Center Hotel on Sunday as members convened for the first time since the UNA-USA-UNF merger was finalized last year.  The meeting opened with Executive Director Patrick Madden and our very own Alma Morrison, outgoing Chair, Council of Chapters and Regions presiding over the annual business meeting and awards ceremony. Alma was recognized for her extraordinary, selfless allegiance to UNA-USA throughout a challenging time. She is a legend and a hero to all UNA-USA members and we are immensely proud of her at UNA-GB.

The morning continued with a regional breakout session and working lunch. UNA-GB members, along with Alma and UNA-GB staff member Kaitlin Hasseler met with leaders from the two Connecticut chapters to share programming successes, ideas on membership and retention, and the possibility of hosting a joint event in the coming year. The great Gillian Sorensen (who we were thrilled to have as a keynote speaker at our UN Day Luncheon last Fall) discussed with us some of the myths and misperceptions of the UN and why she commits her life to serving as an “advocate, debater, and defender” of the United Nations. Aaron Sherinian, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations at the UN Foundation presented on utilizing online media strategies for chapters while Laura Giroux, Membership Director at UNA-USA and Andrew Cornelius of the UNA-USA Denver chapter gave a presentation on how to retain members and attract young professionals.

The UN Foundationʼs newest campaign, Shot@Life, champions the cause of vaccines
in the fight to save childrenʼs lives in the developing world.  Director Devi Thomas spoke of how to effectively advocate for global vaccines. Chapters seeking advice on how to integrate Model UN programs were able to meet with Global Classrooms staff and chapter leaders in the afternoon.

Young Professionals Happy Hour at the UNA USA 2012 Meeting

On Sunday evening, the UNA-National Capital Area Young Professionals hosted a happy hour attended by over 40 UNA-USA members of all ages to share appetizers, cocktails, and conversation on UN news and chapter activities.  Following the happy hour, a film screening of Iron Ladies of Liberia was showcased at the hotel.

On Monday, members were treated to a spectacular, unique opportunity to enter the State Department for a day of high-level meetings and a memorable luncheon in a hallowed, historic venue, the Benjamin Franklin Dining Room. The morning began with a panel discussing Agenda 21 and how to battle the misperceptions rampant now. We were then regaled by one of Americaʼs legendary diplomats, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, on peace and security and the state of the UN Security Council. Concurrent sessions followed on human rights and reproductive health. The elevators filled as we rode to the luncheon in the famed Benjamin Franklin Dining Room, taking time to savor the many paintings and artifacts displayed there and to walk out on the veranda overlooking Washington with the enormous Stars and Stripes and State Department flags waving proudly in the June air. United Nations Foundation President and former U.S. Senator Tim Wirth and Reid Detchon, Vice President, Energy and Climate, UN Foundation spent the luncheon informing us of the key energy and climate issues surrounding the Rio+20 Conference and the historical progress made since 1992. The day at State concluded with a terrific overview of U.S.-UN relations by Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, U.S. Department of State. Dr. Brimmer need be thanked for so kindly setting up our luncheon.

The meeting culminated Tuesday with an early breakfast at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation before our march on the Capitol to wear out our soles promoting legislation to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, compel Congress to ensure the U.S.
seeks a second term on the UN Human Rights Council, and that congressmen support the Senate Appropriations bill which includes full funding of the U.S. monetary obligation to the UN. Meetings with house and senate staff took place throughout the day with a lunchtime break in the Kennedy Caucus room to hear from John Danvers, Foreign Relations Committee Staff Director to Chairman John Kerry, U.S. Senator (D-MA). UNA-GB representatives articulated the agenda with poise and precision, meeting with the offices of Congressmen Tierney, Lynch, Capuano, Markey, and Keating as well as the offices of Senators Brown and Kerry. Staff welcomed us with open arms, open ears, and open support for our advocacy acumen. The day was a great success for UNA-USA as members passionately sought support from their congressional delegations to maintain a robust U.S.-UN partnership keeping with the recent data from two prominent, national nonpartisan polling companies showing that 86% of Americans support a strong U.S.- UN relationship.

The 2012 UNA-USA Annual Meeting concluded Tuesday afternoon as members made
their way to trains, planes, buses, and automobiles for their journey back home. After
four days of inspiration, perspiration, and cerebration the state of the UNA-USA is the
most vibrant it has ever been. Bringing UNA-USA and the United Nations Foundation together has fostered a new, vigorous pursuit to advocate for and defend the work of the UN and its role in the international arena. On behalf of myself and UNA-GB, thank you to all who made this meeting a tremendous success. Let us continue the vital work of informing citizens, educating students, and serving as dedicated citizen ambassadors of
the United Nations. The work goes on.

Below is additional feedback and the opinions of our other volunteers that attended the conference!

UNA-GB members Immaculate, Ritah and Virginia (L-R) outside the State Department’s renowned Benjamin Franklin Room.

Immaculate Nansubuga:
“I joined the UNA-USA early this year and I am greatly honored to be a part of the largest network of UN supporters in US history.  I was so fortunate to attend the 2012 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, where I enjoyed not only the talks and discussions on some of the recent world’s most pressing challenges, but also I was greatly inspired by the various speakers, staff and chapter members of the UNA-USA whose impeccable dedication, passion and support for UN was explicit in numerous ways.  Our meetings with Members of Congress were smooth, thanks to Kaitlin, Alma and Daniel who delivered the keynotes and asks with just the right mix of hard data, examples and opinions.

I learned a lot about how the UNA-USA connects people, ideas and resources to help the UN solve some of the major global problems.

I also learned the reasons why it is more important than ever for the US as a nation as well as each individual who wants to see a better world, to show our continued support for the UN, goals and objectives.”

Ritah Nakandi:
“My objective of attending the conference was to broaden my knowledge of UN’s activities and familiarize myself with its progress in the global affairs. From the speeches and discussions, I was able to identify UN’s input especially with the MDG’s and its advocacy for Congress’s continued support of UN’s activities in the future. It was such a great experience for me to enlighten UN’s contribution in the world especially by demonstrating it’s progress in the Millennium Development Goals. I was mesmerized by UN member’s enthusiasm in implementing UN’s goals like the SHOT@life which captivated me.  Most importantly, the people have high energy and their loyalty to the UN mission is an everlasting selfless act that is a worthy call that I will always be drawn to.  I learned the significance of member engagement and how it consolidates one to have successful outcomes. This empowerment makes us, the UN members feel as one and as a family striving for a common goal and always be hopeful. It was such an informative and fruitful experience for me and I was really blown by the ambiance of the places that I never thought I would even get a chance to visit.”

Virginia Kinene:
“It was a great pleasure meeting you at the conference. As a new member of the UNA-GB, i found the conference very informative. I gained first hand information about the organization’s mission, objectives and how the organization is of great value to society through it’s development  goals such as, ensuring child education is promoted and its significant achievement so far, as reflected in the statistics.

I too enjoyed the great presentations and discussions conveyed by the the various UNA and State representatives on interesting topics such as awareness on human rights and the mechanisms for establishing standards in human rights, communication mechanisms, and the various advocacy methods, among other topics.

It was also an amazing experience meeting great personalities of both the U.N and the State and to also have made professional relationships with people from diverse regions and culture.”

Martin Ssekyewa:
“It was an honor to have such a great opportunity to meet with UNA-USA members from almost all states, people who have devoted their time, experience, and money to sacrifice for the good of humanity. I believe that this meeting was about the common good for all humanity. I had a chance of exploring the millennium goals which do not only favor Boston, but the whole planet and even back to the community where I came from in Uganda.

I have learned to work together with others in order to address the global issues and to find ways how to help my community here in Boston and back home in Africa. From the conference I learned new skills of being a model citizen; I am now well aware of the means I can use to bring back harmonious co-existence and harmony between the environment and man, because without the existence of one, the other is affected. I was so excited to learn how UNA has incorporated the millennium goals for all groups of people despite of their origin, race, gender and color, to work together as a one family.

According to my knowledge, the UNA programs have contributed a lot toward the National Development Plan, with a focus on equity and inclusion, peace, recovery, population and sustainable growth, to mention but a few. I encourage all people to join and support the UN Missions.”

Thank you to Dan, Immaculate, Ritah, Virginia, and Martin, who attended the event on behalf of the UNA-GB! We greatly appreciated your comments, feedback and participation in the event! And we hope we can see exponential growth at next year’s UNA-USA meeting as well!

Learn more about this year’s Meeting, see photos and video, and access post-conference materials (powerpoints, handouts and more!) here.

Bon Appetit: Cuisine and Conversation with UNA-GB’s Young Professionals

On Tuesday, May 7, UNA-GB Young Professionals (YP) said “bon appetit” with 25 young professionals of Boston at their bi-monthly Taste Of series. While sipping on French wine, authentic cheeses, hor’ dourves, and desserts at  Petit Robert Central Bistro attendees discussed the culture and current events of France. The hot topic of the night was the recent presidential election in France.

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Dominique Thomas, a student from France, gave insight on Francois Hollande defeating Nicolas Sarkozy in the election that gained worldwide coverage.  Hollande won 51.9 to Sarkozy’s 48.1 with 80 percent of the French population voting. Hollande, the first socialist president in almost two decades, could alter the future of the European Union.

Dan Sullivan, YP Leadership Board

Dan Sullivan, a YP leadership board member, educated the group on the relationship between France and the United Nations. France is one of 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. France is present in 10 of the current 15 peacekeeping operations including Afghanistan and Lebanon.

A game of trivia was played for those who were not so familiar with their French facts.  France ranks second among host countries for the Olympics with five, falling behind the US who has hosted the games eight times. France ranks first with Nobel Prize in Literature with twelve.

The evening ended with further discussion on French topics and a chance to network with other young professionals of Boston. Please stay posted for the UNA-GB next event at the end of July! Stay updated through Facebook and Twitter!

Santé!

-Olivia

Introducing International Women’s Day 2012

International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s when it was originally celebrated as International Working Women’s Day. It is recognized on March 8th every year and honors women’s economic, political, and social achievements.

Gender equality is a huge focus for the UN community, with Millennium Development Goal #3 specifically designed to empower women and girls, and dozens of the agencies and entities focused on gender-based initiatives.  In fact, this year honors the official one year anniversary of the creation of UN Women, a more powerful UN entity designed to help spread gender equality and women’s rights empowerment.

International Women’s Day is near and dear to UNA-GB, as we have celebrated it with an annual film screening and panel for the past few years.  This screening is the biggest event of our Women’s Forum, which was created in 2006 to raise awareness about women’s issues in developing countries and engage men and women in Boston on solutions.  You can learn more about this year’s screening below, and make sure to check out last year’s blog post on our screening event.

We hope you can join us at some (or all!) of the events listed below.  We will continue to update the blog as we learn of more events, so check back!  It’s important that we continue to work together towards eliminating discrimination and improving the lives of women all across the world.

International Women’s Day Film Screening and Panel

War Redefined with Series Producer Abigail E. Disney

When: Monday, March 5; 5:30 – 8:30 PM
Where:
MCLE Auditorium, 10 Winter Pl, Boston

Don’t miss UNA-GB’s annual International Women’s Day Celebration, featuring a film screening of War Redefined, the last of the Women, War & Peace series, produced by series executive producer Abigail E. Disney.  A panel discussion on the role of women in peace building and war will follow the film, featuring Abigail E. Disney, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Dr. Amani El Jack and Sahana Dharmapuri.  This is an incredibly timely topic, with 3 women peace-builders winning the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the Obama Administration’s December announcement of the US National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and Secretary Clinton’s recent comments on the lack of women at high-level security talks.

War Redefined reframes our understanding of modern warfare through probing conversations with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright; Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee; Bosnian war crimes investigator Fadila Memisevic; Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International; globalization expert Moisés Naím; and Cynthia Enloe of Clark University, among others.

RSVP at http://iwd2012warredefined.eventbrite.com/

Along with hosting our annual International Women’s Day film screening and celebration, UNA-GB is also co-sponsoring some incredible International Women’s Day Events in Boston:

Ending Violence Against Women: Pathways to Power, Resilience and Leadership
International Women’s Day Breakfast

When: Thursday, March 8; 7:30-9:30 AM
Where: 
Simmons College, Linda K. Paresky Conference Center, Boston

Join UNA-GB and dozens of organizations around Boston in celebrating the city’s 15th Annual International Women’s Day Breakfast. Panel will include Purnima Mane, CEO and President of Pathfinder International, Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley, Audrey Porter of My Life My Choice and Ann Fleck Henderson from Simmons College.
RSVP at http://iwd2012.eventbrite.com/

Women for Women International’s Boston “Join Us at the Bridge” Event

When: March 8, 10am-12pm
Where:
Massachusetts Avenue Bridge Boston

Stand up with women around the world, honoring the strength of women working for equality, justice, and peace.

RSVP at http://joinmeonthebridge.org/events/massachusetts-ave-bridge

 Feeding Boston, Changing the World:  International Women’s Day 2012

When:  Saturday, March 10, 2012, 6-9pm
Where: 
Ballroom, Curry Student Center, Northeastern University
What
:  Panel discussion followed by a dinner celebration
Free and open to the public.  Spaces limited.  RSVP here.  

This International Women’s Day, Boston’s Oxfam Action Corps invites you to honor women who work the land, feed their families, and plow the way forward to more sustainable agricultural economies here and abroad.

 

Additional International Women’s Day Events around Boston:

End Impunity for Sexual Violence against Women and Girls

When: Thursday, March 8, 2012 5:00PM-7:30PM

Where: Old South Meeting House

In recognition of Int’l Women’s Day, this conference will take a critical look at international impunity for sexual violence and issue a resounding call to end it.

Latina Women’s Conference
Extraordinary Women fighting for Migration Justice

Where: MA State House
When:
Friday, March 9th, 2012 9:30- am- 3:00pm

Hosted by: Women in Solidarity Committee, whose network of Women in Solidarity is growing. 300 Latina women participated in 2011. Latina women advocated last year to opposed secure community program and create a community forum to reflect on violence and immigration issues.  Their goal is to create space for Latinas por el Cambio and expanded their reach to other places.  They founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers.
http://reddemujeres12.eventbrite.com/

Celebrate International Women’s Day Event at Gallery Kayafas

When: Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 7pm – 8:30pm

Where: Gallery Kayafas, 37 Thayer St. @450 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118

Learn about AI’s work defending women’s rights featuring Zainab Abdullah, a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan who has recently returned from researching honor killings in Pakistan. She will be joined by Beena Sarwar, a leading Pakistani journalist and democracy, human rights, and peace advocate. Hosted by the Back Bay Amnesty Group. RSVP to Alexandra Prim by 3/5/12. Space is limited. Learn more.

Celebrate International Women’s Day at the Eritrean Community Center

Where: 590 Shawmut Ave, Boston
When:
Saturday, March 10th, 8-10pm

The Eritrean Community Center of Greater Boston works to promote social and cultural interactions among Eritrean-Americans as well as area residents and friends for mutual understanding and awareness, integration, economic self-sufficiency, Eritrean heritage, and youth leadership.

Click here

2012 International Women’s Day:

Rally & March

When: March 10, 12 PM

Where: Meet at the Boston Common at the Gazebo

Meet to kick of the rally and then we’ll take it to the streets with guest speakers at Court Street, State Street MBTA, and State House. All individuals and groups are encouraged to bring a banner or signs, instruments, and other creative forms of expression and march together in struggle for living wage jobs, universal healthcare and childcare for all.

Benefit Show

Where: Midway Café 3496 Washington St, Jamaica Plain 02130

When: March 10, 7 PM

Benefiting The Prison Birth Project & Girls Rock Campaign Boston  $5 at the door, 21+ event

To register email InternationalWomensDayBoston@gmail.com

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/events/245509598867806/

Harvard Kennedy School’s International Women’s Day Celebration 

When: March 8, 2012

Where: HKS campus, various locations

8:30 – 10:00am, Breakfast for faculty, students and staff

Allison Dining Room, Taubman building, 5th floor

The Women and Public Policy Program is hosting a breakfast with HKS Academic Dean, Iris Bohnet, women faculty from across Harvard, students, staff and other members of our community. All are welcome!

11:40am – 1:00pm, WAPPP Seminar: Women’s Health and Health System Reform: The Route to Transformational Development?

WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman Building, 102

Health system reform in the United States and globally holds the promise of improving the health and well-being of women and a major opportunity for development, particularlyin the developing world. Dr. Johnson will explore the intersection of health system reform and the opportunities for transformational development through improvements in women’s health status, workforce development, and advancing women’s rights.

6:00 – 8:00pm, Film Screening: Iron Jawed Angels

WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman Building, 102

“Iron Jawed Angels” tells the remarkable and little-known story of a group of passionate and dynamic young women who put their lives on the line to fight for American women’s right to vote.

http://hvrd.me/AuzJ1b

To learn more about even more events happening in your area, check out the International Women’s Day websiteLet us know if you find any other events in the Boston area to celebrate International Women’s Day, so that we can update this blog to help people stay connected and aware of how to get involved locally!

-Alyson R.