Blog Archives

A Warm Welcome to the Summer 2012 interns!

It’s not just the temperatures rising in Boston that gets the office buzzing in June – we are excited to welcome a whole new batch of interns during the summer months!  And this summer we’re making our global to local tagline come to life in the office – we have a big group who come from a variety of different schools across the country, not just Boston, and have a diverse portfolio of experience!  Learn a little bit more about our interns below.  And for those interested in joining our stellar internship team this fall and beyond, check out more info here!

Julia Kuperminc

Intern Focus: Education

Hi! My name is Julia Kuperminc and I am an education intern at the UNA-GB.  I am a rising senior at Brandeis University where I major in International & Global Studies (IGS) and Politics.  I studied international criminal law in The Hague on a Brandeis program last summer.  Last fall, I studied French and international law in Paris.  Aside from IGS and Politics, I also study Spanish, French, and Legal Studies at Brandeis.

Miranda Mackinnon

Intern Focus: Education

I recently received a BA in Sociology from Gordon College (Wenham, MA). During my Junior year, I also studied Global Health and Developmental Policy in Geneva, Switzerland 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 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 reading.

Ashan Singh

Intern Focus: Education

Growing up, moving around so much is definitely what made me such a globally oriented person. I was born in Mumbai, India, and spent much of my childhood moving from India to the United Kingdom, and then from the UK to the United States. Since moving from the United Kingdom, I have spent most of my life in the Greater Boston Area, and was a student in the Newton Public Schools system.  I have had a strong interest for current events and the world since a young age, and I have certainly let my passions guide me throughout my academic career. During my time in high school I co-founded Destination Education, a club promoting free and compulsory education in developing countries, and I have spent summers in both India, as well as one summer in Ghana, working at a school teaching children English. I was also heavily involved within my high school, serving in student council, as the managing editor of the newspaper, and as a member of several sports teams.  After graduating from Newton South High School in 2011, I have begun my pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in both International Development and International Relations and will be entering my sophomore year at Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana this coming fall.

Sarah Kester

Intern Focus: Education

I am a rising senior at Tufts University where I am double majoring in International Relations with a focus in global health and Community Health. I first developed an interest in international affairs at the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC, where I participated in a number of Model UN conferences. Model UN was one of my favorite things about high school so I am very excited to be helping with the UNA-GB’s Summer Institute. Outside of school, I love to sing and cook with my friends!

Molly McCabe

Intern Focus: Programs and Development

I am currently a senior at Stonehill College, as a double major in sociology and interdisciplinary studies.  Last year, I studied abroad in South Africa, where I took a service learning course in sustainable community engagement. During this time, I taught in the Lynedoch Primary School and developed a fourth grade curriculum based on the UN Children’s Rights Declaration. My time abroad spurred a passion in me for global studies, and a commitment to engaging youth in these issues.  I am very excited to be working with United Nations Association of Greater Boston this summer, where I will learn more about what I can do locally to continue this work!

Catherine Schrage

Intern Focus: Communications and Graphic Design

I am rising senior at Cornell University, studying Psychology, French and Gender Studies. I just returned from a year abroad in Paris, France where I took classes at the Sorbonne and University of Paris 8. I’m passionate about design, art and magazines and I am co-editor-in-chief of a quirky features publication called Kitsch Magazine at Cornell. I’m from Mystic, Connecticut and I am hoping to move back abroad after I graduate in December. My goal for the next couple years is to learn Arabic and Italian, so who knows where I’ll end up!

Jessica Pires

Intern Focus: Events and Membership

I am a rising senior at Colby College double majoring in International Studies and Anthropology. At Colby, I am very active in student programming, serving as Co-Chair for Live Music and am a founding member of my school’s Women of Color Alliance. Last fall I studied abroad in Durban, South Africa and did research at a drug rehabilitation facility for street children. I am originally from Boston but now live in Stow, the apple capital of Massachusetts. This summer I will be planning some of UNA-GB’s signature events, mainly focusing on October’s United Nations Day events. In the future I hope to work with a human rights organization and hope to take what I learn here at UNA-GB with me!

Leah Beaudoin

Intern Focus: Young Professionals Coordinator

I am a junior at Simmons College pursuing a dual major in International Relations and Economics with a minor in Social Justice. I am especially interested in Middle Eastern politics and cultures. I am really excited to intern with the UNA-GB this summer where I can learn even more about the world around me. I plan on studying abroad in London next year, and after getting my degree, I hope to attend law school and start a career in Washington D.C. I am interested in humanitarian affairs, and think that the UNA-GB is a great place to further that interest.

Bianca Diaz

Intern Focus: Office Assistance and Education

Hi, my name is Bianca, I am 17 years old and a rising senior at Boston Latin Academy. I have been doing Model UN for 4 years and absolutely love it.  I’ve also been the longest-standing intern – working at UNA-GB since 7th grade!! I want to move to Washington D.C and become an immigration lawyer.  I like listening to other people’s problems and helping them.  Overall I am an outgoing person to be around and I look forward to working with everyone because I like making new friends.

Stephanie Thermora

Intern Focus: MLK Summer Scholar / Office Assistance

I am 18 years old and a senior at Boston Latin Academy. I have always been interested in foreign politics and International Relations since I was young.
At a young age, I loved watching Taboo, National Geographic and The Travel Network. I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to work with United Nations Association of Greater Boston this summer. I hope that I may continue learn more about the world with UNA-GB and college!

Eve Krassner

Intern Focus: Education

I am currently a junior at Boston University studying Anthropology and French, and I hope to someday go into International Relations and conflict resolution.  I grew up on a farm in Brazil, just outside of São Paulo.  I love to travel, and over the past couple of years I have spent my summers eating gelato in Italian piazzas, bargaining with crazy vendors in crowded Moroccan markets, bungy-jumping off of bridges in South Africa, and working with the most wonderful kids in Tanzania and Rwanda. This fall I will be taking on the International Honors Program, studying globalization and sustainable development alongside a group of college students as passionate about the world as me, and I can’t wait!


Child Marriage Call & Response: An Afternoon of Action for Africa

ImageYesterday afternoon, May 21, the Women’s Forum@UNA-GB welcomed many guests to celebrate Africa Day with a delicious lunch and inspiring conversation. 50 community members and leaders joined us to raise awareness about the issue of early child marriage in sub-Saharan Africa. At noon the room was buzzing with lively conversation as guests enjoyed Kenyan dishes from Taste of Kilimanjaro Catering and delicious fresh fruit juices from Teranga Senegalese Restaurant.

UNA-GB Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships & Development, Kaitlin Hasseler, opened up the forum, framing how one goal of the Luncheon was to celebrate how far Africa has come – she shared hopeful statistics including that between 2000 and 2010 six of the ten fastest growing economies were African, the poverty rate has been on the decline by about 1% every year, educational opportunities have expanded and more girls are in school, and in 2010 Africa achieved a major global milestone when South Africa hosted the World Cup.  She then introduced Wamburu Mitaru, a Berklee student originally from Kenya, to start off the celebration with a powerful song dedicated to the children of Africa.

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Despite the encouraging progress in Africa, there are also significant challenges the region faces, including the 2nd highest rate of child marriage globally, which the panelists were then tasked with expanding upon.  The focus was not only on engaging in a dialogue about child marriage but also shining a light on those whom have already begun making a difference in their communities to combat the practice.  Blessing Rogers of Hope for Children International, Inc., Josephine Kulea of the Sambura Girls Foundation, and Amanda Grant-Rose of Lift Up Africa, offered different perspectives on the issue of child marriage. Ms. Rogers provided more information about the historical and cultural context surrounding the topic, explaining where the practice originated from and what kept communities tied to the practice.  Josephine spoke more about her organization and shared her personal experiences, including detailing a particular marriage intervention that she led in her home community of Samburu, Kenya.   Amanda Grant-Rose followed by highlighting Lift Up Africa’s work supporting the organization HELGA and their bride rescue project – this work is led by Priscilla, a Maasai woman who has earned the trust of her community and spent the past 2 decades rescuing girls and educating them (when Kaitlin visited this program in November 2011, she had rescued 706 girls at that point!).

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Our panelists- Blessing, Josephine, and Amanda

To close, our panelists offered simple action plans encouraging guests to share what they’ve learned and make small steps towards change:

  • Blessing shared that while we can’t all travel to Africa,  we can get engaged in advocacy efforts by voicing our opinions and communicating with state and federal bodies directly.  She  specifically mentioned organizations such as USAID.
  • Josephine asked for support to build a dorm/rescue center for her girls, underscoring the importance of concrete solutions that directly help the community (you can learn how to support these efforts here). She also invited attendees to sponsor a girl. 
  • Amanda encouraged everyone to go home and share what they learned with least 5 people about the broader issue of child marriage and what they can do, again stressing the importance of the impact that education and small actions can make.
  • Kaitlin emphasized the importance of educating the next generation, sharing information about UNA-GB’s partner, UN Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, geared towards adolescent American girls, as well as UNA-GB’s Model UN program, which educates 6th-12th graders in Boston about critical global issues including child marriage.

Wamburu Mitaru ended the luncheon with another beautiful song that was a call and response with the audience – a fitting end to an event focused on how we as a community can answer the call to action on ending child marriage!

Thank you to everyone who attended and helped to make it a wonderful afternoon!  See more photos here from the Luncheon and stay tuned for upcoming events with our Women’s Forum on our event calendar.

-Jessica Pires

Welcome to Our Spring ’12 Interns!

The start of each semester is always an exciting time for us here at UNA-GB, as we welcome a batch of new interns.  Every few months, we have the pleasure of bringing on new, bright, energetic and talented college students and recent graduates to substantively grow our work and expand our influence.  This spring we have a robust and knowledgeable group (and the largest in number to date too!)  Learn a little bit more about our interns below.

Natalie Prolman

Intern Focus: Student Ambassadors- Education

I am a Senior at Northeastern University studying a dual major in International Affairs & Human Services, with a minor in Sociology. Last year I served as a Campus Ambassador for the UNA-GB, and I am now the Coordinator for the Student Ambassador Program. During my time at Northeastern I have participated in two Dialogue of Civilization study abroad programs, including  a Global Corps Practicum to Thailand and a Service Learning and Transnational Activism program in India. I have previously interned for the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya an Capitol d on Hill for Congressman Dennis Kucinich. I am interested in community development and international social work as well as traveling and photography. I hope to one day work for the United Nations or start an NGO of my own.

Deanna McLaughlin

Intern Focus: Programs- Development

I am currently finishing my senior year at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. I am a double major in political science and international studies with a minor in Spanish. I grew up in Gorham, Maine. I spent last semester in La Paz, Bolivia studying Latin American revolution movements and conflict resolution and also a semester prior in Washington DC interning at the National Governors Association. I am working with the UNA-GB team in development. After graduation I plan to spend at least one year engaging in post-graduate service.


Chelsea Contre

Intern Focus: Programs- Events/Website

I am a junior at Lesley University majoring in Communications and minoring in Design and Business Management. I have played soccer and basketball while growing up in Connecticut and currently play both sports at Lesley. Last spring I had the opportunity to study abroad in Australia, where I spent four months traveling and studying. I have a passion for understanding and learning other cultures other than my own. I am interested in designing and event planning, as well as the communications department of UNA-GB where I’m excited to learn more in the field.

Elizabeth Ross

Intern Focus: Programs- Consuls Ball/Silent Auction

I am a senior at Tufts University, majoring in
International Relations with a concentration in “Ideologies.” I am
originally from Billings, Montana. Over the past four years I have
studied abroad in Talloires, France; Lima, Peru; and most recently for
the 2010-2011 academic year at Pembroke College at Oxford University,
England. Other internship experiences include working at KULR-8, a
local TV news stations in Billings, MT; Fred Friendly Seminars in New
York City; and US Senator Max Baucus’ office. Upon graduation I
hope to work in Washington DC or London. In my spare time she enjoys
outdoor activities, sports, shopping, and cooking.

Nathalie Van der Elst

Intern Focus: Education

I am currently a senior at Boston University studying International Relations. I come from Belgium, from my father’s side, and my mother is South Korean. However, I have never lived in both countries before. 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 freed them of their national boundaries and gave them the courage to pursue life across the world, an attitude that has inspired me. I believe the UNAGB has the same mindset. One that teaches us to understand, learn and experience different cultures, and become immersed in a giving global community. I hope to further my studies through International Law to continue promoting internationalism; and perhaps someday I can inspire others too.

Alyson Reitano

Intern Focus: Programs- Communications

I am a Global Business and Marketing major finishing up my senior year at Suffolk University. I am from Merrimac, Massachusetts and from Italian and Irish decent. I have been blessed with the opportunity to have studied abroad in three different locations and my majors have provided me with the flexibility to have been able to study in Spain, Australia and Italy. I have been immersed in many cultures and have practiced each country’s unique method of doing business. I am currently taking 5 classes as well as being the Vice President of Suffolk University’s International Business Club and am a Lead Caller Student Ambassador for the Suffolk University Annual Fund. In the future, I hope to continue travelling and to someday work for the U.S. government.

Stephen Armstrong

Intern Focus: Education

I am a senior at Emmanuel College, studying international affairs. I hope to pursue a doctorate degree in International Affairs, after my military service is completed. I was born in Tottenham England, a blue collar borough of London, eventually settling in Bedale Yorshire. I lived there for seven years, before moving to Revere, Massachusetts. I am an aspiring athlete for the Greater Boston Track Club, where I compete for the club in different competitive events. I am profoundly excited about the prospects of interning in the educational department of UNA-GB.

Braeden Lord

Intern Focus: Education 

I am a freshman at Boston College studying Islamic Civilization and Society as well as Political Science. After spending a very moving summer in one of the most torn post-Troubles neighborhood in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I understood that my career calling was mitigating international crises. The past five years I have intensively participated in Model United Nations Conferences as far as St. Petersburg, Russia, and I hope that my international experience will serve me well as I study Arabic and aim my career at promoting peaceful solutions in the Middle East. I am very excited to be working with the United Nations Association of Greater Boston.

Peter Hung

Intern Focus: Education

I am a junior studying International Relations at Boston University. Although I was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, my enrollment into the International School of Beijing in 2004 introduced me to a community of diplomats who reside in China, and consequently, the importance and beauty of diplomacy and international cooperation’s. In high school I was an avid participant and organizer of Asian regional Model United Nations Conferences such as THIMUN-Singapore. I speak fluent Mandarin, English and now am honing my proficiency in Swahili and Spanish.

Lian Lian Ma

Intern Focus: Education

I am a senior from Boston University studying International Relations and International Management. Having grown up in Shanghai, China and moved to Vancouver, Canada during high school, I was always passionate about international events and global politics. While my first two years involved IR research on topics like Chinese diplomacy and conflict resolution, I transitioned to international management in junior year, hoping to understand the world from a business perspective. I was actively involved in Model UN conferences for the past year, during which I gained much knowledge on the impact of international organizations and businesses. I’m currently considering pursuing my Masters after graduation, and I hope to work for the World Bank in the future.

Jun Il Hwang

Intern Focus: Education 

I grew up in the Republic of Korea until I was fourteen years old and began to study in the United States of America as an international student ever since. Now I am about to graduate from Boston University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a minor degree in Spanish. I have taken some summer courses in Spain and Peru to learn Spanish and also their political/social issues and dilemmas today. Also in Madrid, I was an intern at an NGO called COSOP, which helps immigrants in need. I have worked at UNAGB for about 6 months now and have had a great experience so far. I look forward to continue my internship here and learn even more about global citizenships, education, and intriguing international affairs.

Alyssa Brodie

Intern Focus: Programs- Consuls Ball

Growing up in Miami, Florida, I was exposed to a diverse upbringing; with my high school being 40% white (non-hispanic) and 60% a mix of Hispanic, African-American, and Asian… and I loved it! Since, I have craved the need for new people in my life who bring a different background and perspective. This, in itself, is what drove me to intern at the UNA-GB. Majoring in Advertising with a minor in International Relations at Boston University, I have been able to mesh my passion for everything the UNA-GB stands for and my passion for planning events/promotions. Being able to bring people together at the Consuls Ball from different nationalities for causes we each care about is what is so incredible about America and the UNA-GB.  On a side note, I also enjoy painting, concerts, karaoke, practicing speaking Hebrew, and the “Back to the Future” movie trilogy.

Olivia DiNucci

Intern Focus: Programs- Young Professionals 

I am a junior at Emerson College where I study Political Communications and also play for the women’s basketball team.  Pittsburgh, PA is my home and where I acquired an interest for social justice. My current goals are broad and open to possibilities. I want to be a citizen of the world who is constantly learning and discovering what life has to offer.  I want to be more then just life’s tourist, I want to live and immerse myself within new, different, and stimulating environments.  I want to explore the many cultures of this earth through the people and minds that created them. I am interning with the Young Professionals department at UNA-GB where I can connect with others over international issues and culture.

Katie Lansing

Intern Focus: Education

I am a senior year major in International Relations at Lesley University. Born in Boston, I moved to France when I was four years old. At the age of eight, my family moved the Democratic Republic of the Congo where we lived for a year before moving back to France. I attended and graduated from a French high school, after which I moved back to Boston to start college. I love travel, I love the game of International Relations, but most of all I love people. After I graduate I hope to get a Masters in conflict resolution and one day
work in conflict mediation.

Bianca Diaz

Intern Focus: Office Assistance/Education

Hi, my name is Bianca, I am 16 years old (almost 17!) and currently a junior at Boston Latin Academy. I have been doing Model UN for 4 years and absolutely love it.  I’ve also been the longest-standing intern – working at UNA-GB since 7th grade!! I want to move to Washington D.C and become an immigration lawyer.  I like listening to other people’s problems and helping them.  Overall I am an outgoing person to be around and I look forward to working with everyone because I like making new friends.

We anticipate great things will come out of this semester with this unique and accomplished group of young people! A WARM welcome from the UNA-GB staff!

-UNA-GB staff: Lena, Kaitlin, Jennifer, Rebecca and Ann

A Historical Moment For Genocide

Our newest blog series is about to start–Get Educated, One Topic At A Time!  Learn about a variety of global issues and countries around the world as we highlight each week the work of one of our Education Department Interns , who are hard at work creating Topic Guides covering everything from Child Poverty to Foreign Direct Investment for our classroom-based Model UN program.  Check out the first post below and check back each Monday for the next post in the series.

While the International Criminal Court (ICC) is making headlines today for issuing an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, international law and justice reached another milestone recently. On Friday, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda issued the first conviction of a woman on the charge of genocide under international law.

The woman, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, served as family minister for the Rwandan government during the Rwandan Genocideof 1994. Nyiramasuhuko directed and aided militia groups in attacking members of Rwanda’s Tutsi minority.

The genocide, which the Rwandan government covertly supported at the time, took place over the course of 100 days in 1994 (April-July) and resulted in the deaths of about 800,000 individuals. The relationship between Rwanda’s two ethnic groups – the Hutu and the Tutsi – had been violent and contentious for decades. Prior to European involvement in sub-Saharan Africa, the minority Tutsi population dominated the Rwandan elite and established a monarchy. The Germans and Belgians, who administered Rwanda before and after World War I respectively, preserved this system and limited the opportunities available to the majority Hutu population for decades.

However, after World War II and the beginning of decolonization, the Belgians pushed for reform in Rwanda but faced resistance from the Tutsi. By the late 1950’s, the Belgians had called for elections in Rwanda, which led to the rise to power of the majority Hutu. Following independence from Belgium in 1962, the dynamic between the two groups reversed as the Hutu dominated the political elite via their huge majority. Under Hutu rule, Tutsis were required to carry identification cards (eerily reminiscent of the Nazi policy of Jewish identification), were limited to a small percentage of public sector jobs, and faced widespread discrimination in the private sector.

From the 1960’s to the 1990’s, anti-Tutsi violence routinely broke out in Rwanda, resulting in thousands of deaths and a massive flow of Tutsi refugees to Rwanda’s neighboring countries. Although the Rwandan government officially condemned this violence, evidence suggests that it actually supported it in some cases. By the 1990’s, evidence suggests that the Hutu-dominated Rwandan government began covertly training and arming Hutu militias (known as the Interahamwe, “those who stand together”) to attack Tutsis inside Rwanda. The anti-Tutsi Rwandan Genocide in 1994 was largely carried out by such groups and it is these groups that Nyiramasuhuko has been convicted of aiding.

The United Nations faced enormous criticism regarding its response to the genocide. Despite the fact that the UN had 2,500 armed peacekeepers in Rwanda in 1994, they did not intervene to stop the violence. In fact, members of the UN Security Council (including the United States) actually voted to reduce the number of UN troops in Rwanda in response to the violence. The resulting devastation marked what is quite possibly the UN’s greatest failure. Today, a Tutsi leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which fought the Rwandan government and ended the genocide, is President of Rwanda. He has controversially banned the use of the terms “Hutu” and “Tutsi” in any official capacity to avoid inflaming past tensions.

Ever since, the UN has gone to great lengths to learn from its mistakes in Rwanda rather than hide from them. International intervention since Rwanda has been more frequent and more effective. Most recently, the UN Security Council approved measures to protect civilians from government-led massacres in Libya, which NATO has taken responsibility for carrying out. In addition, the UN created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which has convicted over two dozen individuals for their roles in the genocide. Nyiramasuhuko is the latest Rwandan official to be convicted. The ICTR demonstrated that international tribunals can be effective, and influenced the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has jurisdiction over all its member states to convict individuals for crimes against humanity, in 2002. Although the United States is not a member of the ICC, it did support a UN resolution that referred Moammar Gadhafi to the ICC, which has since indicted him.

Although the Rwandan Genocide will forever live on as a painful stain on history, its legacy serves as a constant reminder of the tragedy of genocide and how the international community should respond to prevent them in the future. Next year, the UNA-GB will help further the UN’s mission to educate the public about genocide with a simulation of the crisis leading up to the Rwandan Genocide at our annual Regional Model United Nations conference.

– Nicholas Blake, Education Intern

From Main Street to Capitol Hill: 2011 UNA-USA Annual Meeting Recap

Last week I joined UNA-USA members and staff from more than 60 chapters across the country to raise awareness about the United Nations and the critical role it plays in advancing American national security and foreign policy goals during UNA-USA’s Annual Meeting in Washington DC.  The Annual Meeting agenda focused on how we can continue to strengthen support for the work of the UN at the grassroots level.

UN Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, and UNA-USA Executive Director Patrick Madden at the 2011 UNA-USA Annual Meeting.

The week’s meetings were particularly exciting, because it was the first Annual Meeting since UNA-USA officially joined the United Nations Foundation family.  A number of new faces were on hand, including former Senator Timothy Wirth, President of UN Foundation, and Kathy Calvin, CEO of UN Foundation.

Conversations emphasizing “focus” and “change” dominated the Annual Meeting.  Many of the speakers drove home the need to focus on the work of the UN and how we can better advocate for a strong US role in promoting global cooperation.  Our support for the UN is imperative to peace.  As Ambassador Rice so eloquently put it, “Now more than ever, Americans’ security and wellbeing are inextricably linked to those of people everywhere. Now more than ever, we need common responses to global problems. And that is why the U.S. is so much better off—so much stronger, so much safer and more secure—in a world with the United Nations than we would be in a world without it.”  In her keynote address at the conference, Ambassador Rice also highlighted the immense change going on in the world, seen most clearly in the Middle East.  She encouraged everyone to “break out of old habits and find new answers to 21st-century challenges.”

The partnership between UNA-USA and UN Foundation seems well-positioned to find new ways to leverage the strengths of each organization, creating a powerful synergy and focus of missions.  UNA’s grassroots outreach, combined with UNF’s grasstops mobilizing and campaigning, creates a real opportunity for progress. While it’s true that change never comes without growing pains, UNA members and leaders expressed excitement about gaining access to strong UNF campaigns like GirlUp and Nothing But Nets, and the elevated co-branding opportunities that exist between the two organizations.

In addition to meeting the UNF key players, those in attendance heard from UNA-USA’s new Executive Director, Patrick Madden.  Madden set forth a strong vision for the future of UNA’s work and partnerships.  He also challenged us to grow our local membership, engage young professionals in our programming, and expand our advocacy efforts.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the chance to take up Madden’s call to action to advocate for the UN, and foreign affairs as a whole.  On Tuesday, all of us UNA members went to the Hill to meet with our respective congressional members My Massachusetts counterpart, Alma Morrison, and I deftly navigated all 3 House buildings and 2 of the 3 Senate buildings to meet with staffers from the offices of Reps. McGovern, Capuano, and Lynch, and Sens. Brown and Kerry.  We shared our concerns and wishes regarding US engagement on global issues and made sure our elected officials knew these issues are important to us and our fellow UNA-GB members, their constituents.  It was clear that with drastic budget cuts looming, now more than ever our elected officials needed to hear about our values and priorities directly from us.

I came away from the 2011 UNA-USA Annual Meeting inspired to take action more concretely and to continue to mobilize the greater Boston community on the issues that matter to the UN.  As the oft-repeated mantra goes, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”   It is imperative for us to act now.  I look forward to more fully engaging with UNA-USA, UNF, and the UN, as we work together towards stronger and more successful action and messaging!  I sincerely hope you join us!

-Kaitlin Hasseler, UNA-GB Program Manager