Blog Archives

An Afternoon with Dr. Brimmer

photoYesterday, UNA-GB held a teatime discussion with Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations. In her role as Assistant Secretary, Dr. Brimmer leads the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which strives to advance U.S. interests through international organizations in areas including human rights, peacekeeping, food security, humanitarian relief, and climate change.

photo copy 6During the discussion, Dr. Brimmer spoke about the role of the U.S. in conflicts such as Libya, Mali, and Syria, to name a few. She also spoke about the changing nature of women and conflict. For example, there has been an increase in the number of women involved in peacekeeping operations. She also spoke about the creation of UN Women, which strives for gender equality. UN Women also deals with issues of human trafficking, human rights, humanitarian action, and peace and security.

photo copy 4Dr. Brimmer also offered insight on her personal experience working in her current position. She said that her most rewarding experience was in September 2009 when she spoke at the Human Rights Council on behalf of the U.S.  It was at this session that the U.S. pledged to advance human rights and strengthen the Human Rights Council.

We would like to thank Dr. Brimmer for giving her time to talk to UNA-GB members. We are very lucky to have had her give her insight on her current role. Thank you, Dr. Brimmer!

Our next event is in a few days! Join Women’s Forum @ UNA-GB on Monday, March 4 for International Women’s Day. For more details, check out this link: http://wfiwd2013.eventbrite.com

Motion to Reflect: 2012 Model UN Summer Institute Session 1 Recap

As temperatures rose in New England last week, 44 middle and high school students convened in the air conditioned classrooms of the Harvard Business School for a week of intensive global diplomacy training at the UNA-GB’s Model United Nations Summer Institute.  These budding global leaders chose to trade in traditional camp activities like archery, swimming and horse-back riding in order to debate, negotiate, and create resolutions to the world’s most pressing issues, honing the skills they will need as global citizens and leaders in the 21st century.

The students kicked off the week with ice breakers and activities geared towards understanding the UN and learning about the complexities of human rights law.  These activities taught the students effective debate skills, such as listening to each other and learning to respect and draw attention from the other delegates during the simulations. Throughout the week, students were introduced to international relations and critical 21st century skills like negotiation, public speaking and problem-solving through the lens of Model United Nations curriculum and simulations focused on terrorism and Human Rights. They had the unique opportunity to learn about the UN’s parliamentary procedure, formal debate vocabulary and how to complete high-level research through actual simulated debate and role play.

For the full simulation on Friday, the students teamed up in pairs to represent a UN member state in the General Assembly, allowing them the unique opportunity to step into the shoes of UN delegates and present their country’s position on conflict diamonds.  This involved significant group work and alliance building among countries in order to come up with possible solutions. These solutions were translated into UN resolutions that were then debated and voted on by all countries. 

In order to create a resolution, the students had to recognize and understand the complexity of each global issue and they had to take into account the various economic and political implications a resolution would have on different countries. They also had to reach a compromise amid widely conflicting country interests, from Zimbabwe to the UK to China.

The dedication, seriousness and excitement exhibited by the students throughout the week was impressive and inspiring to all staff and adults in attendance.  It was a real treat to see how realistic and impressive the debates were, and how the youth, no matter their age, were cooperative, motivated and committed to crafting feasible resolutions to modern day global challenges of terrorism and conflict diamonds.

We want to thank all of these future global leaders for giving up a week of their summer vacation to tackle the world’s pressing global challenges and to learn critical 21st century skills, all while having fun and building valuable friendships.  We hope to see some familiar faces next summer and at the Model UN programs during the year!

Stay tuned for student testimonies and additional feedback from the second session, to be held from July 9-July 13, serving 45 more young global advocates!

– Julia Kuperminc and Catherine Schrage

From Belgium to UK: A Recap of the 2012 Consuls Ball, Boston’s Global Gala

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The United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNA-GB) hosted our annual Consuls Ball – an elegant, high-spirited international event that gives tribute to the city’s global leaders of today while benefiting the global leaders of tomorrow – at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston on this past Friday evening, April 27. Nearly 400 guests and 34 consuls who facilitate business, trade, education, and other linkages in the state came out to celebrate the international community in Boston. The day was also a celebration of Governor Deval Patrick’s proclamation of April 27 as the official Consuls Day in Massachusetts.

The Consuls Ball commenced as the 34 members of the Consular Corps of Boston in attendance, from Belgium to the UK, processed into the packed Ballroom for acknowledgment. A toast was given by Dr. Arese Carrington, UNA-GB Board Vice President, recognizing the lasting economic and cultural impact of the Corps, which now numbers almost 60 Consulates in Boston, or nearly one third of UN Member States.

“Today, so-called ‘democratic space’ has expanded to all corners of the world; a development never witnessed before in the history of mankind,”shared Ambassador Kazuo Kodama, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, who gave keynote remarks at the Ball.  “Yet, one of the most difficult challenges confronting the UN at this juncture is how to assist countries in transition in rooting democracy and the rule of law in their home soil… I can provide full assurances that Japan is committed to extending our continued support in cooperation with the efforts of the international community at large.”  See Ambassador Kodama’s full remarks here.

The night had a special focus on Japan, with the Ball falling at the end of the first week of the new nonstop flight linking Boston to Tokyo and the rest of Asia, an event certain to extend Boston’s global footprint and strengthen economic and cultural ties not only between Boston and Japan, but between all of New England and Asia.  The Ball also coincided with the Cherry Blossom Centennial, as well as the one year marker of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.  Along with Ambassador Kodama’s remarks, the night showcased the best of Japanese culture, from Taiko drumming to stunning Ikebana centerpieces to sushi and a special Cherry Blossom Cosmo.  The night was capped by a raffle drawing of a dream trip on the new JAL Dreamliner direct flight to Tokyo (retail value $5,000), which was won by Calvin Williams, resident of Arlington.   Roy Chase,  of Hyannisport, was the other lucky winner of our second raffle drawing – a gorgeous 18 Karat White Gold Pearl and Diamond bracelet (retail value $2,500) donated by Shreve, Crump and Low and designed by Mastoloni Pearls.

Not only did the Consuls Ball recognize current global leadership, but it also raised money for the future global leaders in Boston area schools, who are preparing to live and work in an ever more globalized world.  The Consuls Ball supports UNA-GB’s Model UN programs, which teach 6th-12th grade students in local public schools to think critically about complex global issues, increase their understanding of diversity and the world beyond our borders, and provide them with conflict resolution and public speaking skills.

“[Model UN] is an opportunity to have a voice, to jump out of your comfort zone, and most importantly take that experience into the future such as in college, the working place, and society in general”,shared Stephanie Thermora, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and active Model UN participant.  “Every student should have an opportunity to participate in a Model UN program because every student has in something they can share with the world and the capability to change the world.”

In the 2011-2012 school year, close to 3,000 students — more than half from urban schools — participated in nearly 100 schools throughout the Greater Boston area.

The evening’s events were closed with a final toast by our fearless Board President, Richard Golob, in recognition of the next generation of global leaders, our youth participants in Model UN.  It was a beautiful night of international celebration and support, and we are deeply grateful for all the support and energy provided by our sponsors, table hosts, guests and volunteers!

See photos from the Reception and Dinner Program.  You can also see our coverage in the Boston Globe’s PartyLines section.  And check back soon for a video recap!

We hope you can join us in April 2013 for the next Consuls Ball!

-UNA-GB staff

Today’s Defense with Congressman Barney Frank

On Thursday the 15th of March, I had the pleasure of going to see Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank at the Harvard Club on Commonwealth Ave. He was delivering a speech titled “The Deficit and Defense” and it was to an audience of around 100 individuals representing both the private and public sector.

Mr. Frank’s speech was geared towards explaining how our inflated military budget, which is currently around $700 billion including the war in Afghanistan, contributes to the national deficit, which is near $1 trillion, and the long term costs of servicing this debt. Our military spending is greater than the next 14 highest spending countries in the world and accounts for over 45% of all the worlds military expenditures. While Mr. Frank is a great supporter of our troops and wants them to have the absolute best equipment and weaponry available, it was clear in his talk that he firmly believes that today’s military strategy and structure is from an era that no longer exists.

The United States built up vast arrays of conventional weaponry (tanks, bombers, artillery, etc) during the cold war that was available in case the unthinkable happened. Today, our enemies have changed in a dramatic way. They are no longer confined by borders, international law, or concern themselves with the worries or desires of the international community.
Mr. Frank made it clear in his remarks that not only is there plenty of potential for savings and gained efficiencies at the Pentagon but that it will be of necessity as the United States is forced to make budget cuts in order to pay for the tremendous debt that has been accumulated over the years. Mr. Frank highlighted the recent effectiveness of international operations in Libya, Kosovo, and other involvements in several other conflict zones as proof that multi-nation coordinated action is the most cost effective and equitable solutions to most of the threats that we should expect in the decades to come.
The United Nations was put on center stage during the revolution in Libya and Mr. Frank could not stress enough how important it is that future engagements are handled in a similar manner. The United States did not enter by themselves, they did not commit to a never ending battle, and they did not enter without consulting the international community, creating clear objectives, and defining an exit strategy. This serves as a template for future administrations and is an extremely effective option for the United States and others as we embark on an more connected, boundless, and inter-dependent world.
At the end of Mr. Frank’s rousing speech I was fortunate enough to be able to ask whether he supported the United States funding UNESCO once again, regardless of their stance on Palestine, and he stated that he did and that he was hopeful funding for the UN would become a greater importance to the Congress over the coming years. While Mr. Frank is not expected to run for re-election and is hoping to have a quieter life with his husband in their home in Maine, I think it is clear that Mr. Frank believes in the importance of the UN now and it’s even greater importance in the future.
Here at UNA-GB, the advocacy committee will continue to engage our members and elected officials alike on supporting the UN and its mission.  We hope you join us!
– Nat Watson, UNA-GB Advocacy Co-Chair

Honoring Our Presidents’ Words

In remembrance of President’s Day on Monday (Feb 20), let’s see what our past and present president(s) have to say about the United States. Below are the words of 12 twelve extremely influential men, 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans all agreed of the significant role the UN continues to play within the government.  (Special thanks to UNA-OKC for compiling this list!)
“I can assure you that the Government and the people of the United States are deeply proud and grateful that the United Nations has chosen our country for its headquarters. We will extend the fullest measure of cooperation in making a home for the United Nations in this country. The American people welcome the delegates and the Secretariat of the United Nations as good neighbors and warm friends….

“The overwhelming majority of the American people, regardless of party, support the United Nations. They are resolved that the United States, to the full limit of its strength, shall contribute to the establishment and maintenance of a just and lasting peace among the nations of the world.”

–Harry S Truman

October 23, 1946

“Never before in history has so much hope for so many people been gathered together in a single organization…. But the great tests and the great accomplishments still lie ahead. And in the confident expectation of those accomplishments, I would use the office which, for the time being, I hold, to assure you that the Government of the United States will remain steadfast in its support of this body. This we shall do in the conviction that you will provide a great share of the wisdom, of the courage and of the faith which can bring to this world lasting peace for all nations, and happiness and well-being for all men.”

–Dwight D. Eisenhower

December 8, 1953

 

“Disarmament without checks is but a shadow, and a community without law is but a shell. Already the United Nations has become both the measure and the vehicle of man’s most generous impulses. Already it has provided… a means of holding man’s violence within bounds.”

–John F. Kennedy

September 25, 1961

 

 

“We are more than ever opposed to the doctrines of hate and violence, in our own land and around the world. We are more than ever committed to the rule of law, in our own land and around the world. We believe more than ever in the rights of man, all men of every color, in our own land and around the world. And more than ever we support the United Nations as the best instrument yet devised to promote the peace of the world and to promote the well-being of mankind….

“The United States wants to cooperate with all the members of this Organization to conquer everywhere the ancient enemies of mankind — hunger, and disease and ignorance….”

–Lyndon B. Johnson

December 17, 1963

 

“The changes in the world since World War II have made more compelling than ever the central idea behind the United Nations: that individual nations must be ready at last to take a farsighted and a generous view. The profoundest national interest of our time –for every nation — is not immediate gain, but the preservation of peace.”

–Richard M. Nixon

October 23, 1970

 

“There is no limit… to our determination to act in concert with other nations to fulfill the vision of the United Nations Charter, to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and to promote social progress and better standards, better standards of life in a larger freedom.”

–Gerald R. Ford

September 18, 1974

 

 

“The United States is committed to the peaceful settlement of differences. We are committed to the strengthening of the peacemaking capabilities of the United Nations….”

–Jimmy Carter

October 4, 1977

 

 

 

“The United Nations is dedicated to world peace, and its charter clearly prohibits the international use of force. Yet the tide of belligerence continues to rise…. We must not only condemn aggression; we must enforce the dictates of our charter and resume the struggle for peace….

“I have come to this hall to call for international recommitment to the basic tenet of the

United Nations Charter — that all members practice tolerance and live together in peace as good neighbors under the rule of law, forsaking armed force as a means of settling disputes between nations….

“We, who have signed the U.N. Charter, have pledged to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territory or independence of any state. In these times when more and more lawless acts are going unpunished — as some members of this very body show a growing disregard for the U.N. Charter — the peace-loving nations of the world must condemn aggression and pledge again to act in a way that is worthy of the ideals that we have endorsed. Let us finally make the charter live.”

–Ronald Reagan

June 17, 1982

 

“The United States is committed to playing its part, helping to maintain global security, promoting democracy and prosperity. And my administration is fully committed to supporting the United Nations and to paying what we are obliged to pay by our commitment to the Charter. International peace and security, and international freedom and prosperity, require no less.”

–George H.W. Bush

October 1, 1990

 

“Fifty years ago, as the conference that gave birth to the United Nations got underway in San Francisco, a young American war hero recorded his impressions of that event for a newspaper. ‘The average G.I. in the street doesn’t seem to have a very clear-cut conception of what this meeting’s about,’wrote the young John F. Kennedy. But one bemedaled Marine sergeant gave the general reaction when he said, ‘I don’t know much about what’s going on, but if they just fix it so we don’t have to fight anymore, they can count me in.’

“Well, the United Nations has not ended war, but it has made it less likely, and helped many nations to turn from war to peace. The United Nations has not stopped human suffering, but it has healed the wounds and lengthened the lives of millions of human beings. The United Nations has not banished repression or poverty from the Earth, but it has advanced the cause of freedom and prosperity on every continent. The United Nations has not been all that we wished it would be, but it has been a force for good and a bulwark against evil.

“So at the dawn of a new century so full of promise, yet plagued by peril, we still need the United Nations. And so, for another 50 years and beyond, you can count the United States in.”

–Bill Clinton

October 22, 1995

 

“Every civilized nation here today is resolved to keep the most basic commitment of civilization. We will defend ourselves and our future against terror and lawless violence. The United Nations was founded in this cause.”

–George W. Bush

November 10, 2001

“The American people respect the idealism that gave life to this organization.

And we respect the men and women of the U.N., who stand for peace and human rights in every part of the world….

“History will honor the high ideals of this organization. The Charter states them with clarity: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, to promote social progress and better standards of life and larger freedom. Let history also record that our generation of leaders followed through on these ideals, even in adversity. Let history show that in a decisive decade, members of the United Nations did not grow weary in our duties or waver in meeting them.”

–George W. Bush

September 21, 2004

 

“In the 21st century, the world needs a confident and effective United Nations….  With determination and clear purpose, the United Nations can be a powerful force for good as we head into the 21st century. It can affirm the great promise of its founding.”

–George W. Bush

September 22, 2008

 

“The United Nations was built by men and women… from every corner of the world — from Africa and Asia, from Europe to the Americas.  These architects of international cooperation had an idealism that was anything but naïve — it was rooted in the hard-earned lessons of war; rooted in the wisdom that nations could advance their interests by acting together instead of splitting apart.

“Now it falls to us — for this institution will be what we make of it. The United Nations does extraordinary good around the world — feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, mending places that have been broken.  But it also struggles to enforce its will, and to live up to the ideals of its founding.

“I believe that those imperfections are not a reason to walk away from this institution — they are a calling to redouble our efforts.

“…We call on all nations to join us in building the future that our people so richly deserve.”

–Barack Obama

September 23, 2009

 

“…This future will not be easy to reach. It will not come without setbacks, nor will it be quickly claimed. But the founding of the United Nations itself is a testament to human progress. In times that were far more trying than our own, our predecessors chose the hope of unity over the ease of division, and made a promise to future generations that the dignity and equality of human beings would be our common cause.

“It falls to us to fulfill that promise. And though we will be met by dark forces that will test our resolve, Americans have always had cause to believe that we can choose a better history. In fact, we need only look outside the walls around us. For through the citizens of every conceivable ancestry who make this city their own, we see living proof that opportunity can be accessed by all; that what unites us as human beings is far greater than what divides us; and that people from every part of this world can live together in peace.”

–Barack Obama

September 23, 2010

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It’s clear that the UN is an important and necessary tool for global diplomacy and peace!  You can honor the words and belief of all the past (and current) Presidents above by taking action today!  Let our current President and Congress know that the UN matters to you too!

Here’s how to help:
By scheduling face-to-face meetings with your members of Congress to discuss the importance of full funding to the UN. These in-person meetings will be the most effective form of citizen advocacy and we have everything from resources, talking points, and meeting materials you possibly could need right here!

Interested in learning more about UNA-GB’s Advocacy Committee? Read our blog post here and contact us at info@unagb.org for more information on how to get involved!

 UNA-GB’s Advocacy Committee is specifically looking for volunteers who are interested in becoming District Chairs, or liaisons for UNA-GB’s members and friends in each district in Massachusetts with their local representatives! For more information, email us at info@unagb.org

Join Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, Clinton and the rest of the 12 above in taking a stand and supporting the UN today!

-Alyson R.

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

Haiti 2 Years Later: Measured Progress & Hope

Today marks the two year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. On that day, hundreds of thousands of Haitians lost their lives and were injured while millions became homeless when the 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  Two years later, they are still struggling to rebuild their country and get back to normal, everyday life.

The international community, including the UN, has been integral in the recovery, relief and rebuilding process that still continues today.  Over the last week, many journalists and commentators have looked at the current situation on the ground in Haiti. Our national office, UNA-USA, has added to this dialogue via our online magazine, The InterDependent, which you can read here to learn more.

While Haiti has made great strides in the past two years, an emphasis needs to be put on moving Haitians from camps to permanent residences. According to the International Organization for Migration (IMO) report released in July 2011, nearly 500,000 people are still living in 800 camp sites in earthquake-affected areas of Haiti after two years.

A system has been created by the Haitian government as well as aid groups to offer a $500 voucher to camp occupants that can find permanent residences with access to water and marked safe to live in by the government. The voucher is valued at the average year’s rent in Haiti and will allow tenants to get back on their feet once again. The only stipulation that applies is that camp occupants must destroy their old tent as stated by the IMO.

In an effort to fully recover, Haiti is moving towards its transition phase to concentrate on reconstruction, debris removal, and the creation of jobs. Rebeca Grynspan, the Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) believes that,

“It has been a major challenge since that we know that Haiti still needs a combination of humanitarian support… but slowly the emphasis and allocation of resources is shifting towards recovery and reconstruction.”

With that being said, UNDP is responsible for creating 300,000 temporary jobs thus allowing 60,000 Haitian families the opportunity to rebuild their livelihoods. “This is the largest job creation programme we have in the world… 90 percent of the labour force employed in the execution of UNDP projects is Haitian,” Grynspan said.

The recovery phase will take many years, but numerous results have already been observed on the ground over the past 12 months: 50 percent of the debris removed, more than 300,000 jobs created, 60 percent of TB patients cured, 400 hectares of land reforested and 2,000 metres of gabion walls erected, according to the UNDP.

See the video below detailing more of the progress made by Haitians supported by UNDP.

While there is so much more work to be done, progress is being made and will continue to be made, with national Haitian institutions, the UN, other international NGOs, and the United States working collectively to develop a plan for a more vibrant Haitian economy. Check out Huffington Post’s top ten successes of Haiti in the past two years to see the continuous efforts that need to be made and share with us the programs/successes/visions you have for the future of Haiti.

-Alyson R.

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