Issue 3, Volume 4
  January 2016
United Nations building illuminated in lights for their 70 th Anniversary celebration
 
Dear Members,
 
Welcome to the third edition of the "Armenian Relief Society at the United Nations". This edition is dedicated to the work of ARS Ungerouhies from all parts of the world. We will discuss the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations and impact ARS UN women have had at the UN and chapters worldwide.We also would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the UN for its 70th Anniversary. We hope that you will find this issue inspiring and noteworthy.

Sincerely,
ARS UN Team and Editors
United Nation's 70th
Anniversary, UN Work and Impact

On October 23 rd 2015, the United Nation's celebrated the 70 th Anniversary of the UN through music at the UN Day Concert. This celebration is dedicated to the global efforts and achievements of the UN. Many people wonder if the UN really does make a positive impact on the world. The celebration marking the 70 th anniversary provides evidence that the UN is truly making an impact. One of the main areas the UN has had a significant impact on is development. The United Nations has devoted its attention and resources to promoting living standards and human skills and potential throughout the world. The United Nation's expenditures for development amount to more than 10 billion dollars. UNICEF works in 157 countries and spends more than 1.2 billion dollars a year on protecting children, providing immunization, fighting HIV/AIDS and promoting girls' education. UNCTAD helps countries make the most of trade and opportunities for development. The World Bank provides developing countries with loans and grants totaling around $18 billion- $20 billion yearly, in order to support 9,500 development projects since 1947. 
ARS Work in New York
Hovnanian School Students, Ambassador Mnatsakanyan and ARS UN Representatives at the First International Day for the Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of the Crime at the United Nations Event.
ARS Participates in the First International Day for the Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime at the United Nations
 
On December 9, 2015, the ARS participated in a historic day for the Armenian people.  It marked the first UN observance of the International Day for the Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime at the UN. This commemoration, which will take place every year on December 9 going forward, was established pursuant to a UN General Assembly Resolution (69/323), passed on September 11, 2015, sponsored by Armenia and co-sponsored by 84 nations.  December 9 is not an arbitrary date-it also marks the date on which the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide went into effect 67 years ago.  Raphael Lemkin, legal scholar and Polish Jewish refugee, was the catalyst behind the Convention, coining the word "genocide" after studying the horrors of the Armenian Genocide and before losing 49 members of his family during the Holocaust. With the efforts of the ARS UN committee members and the school principle, the New Jersey Hovnanian school students from grade 6 to 8 were able to attend this commemorative event. As Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan reminded the audience in his remarks" Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it."
Patricia Talisse Youth Representative for Close the Gap and friend to ARS at the center of the podium
On December 10 th 2015, Fordham University MSW student Patricia Talisse, spoke during the UN Women, Malala Fund, and MALA presentation of the documentary "He Named Me Malala" (in honor of UN's Human Rights Day at the General Assembly). As an Armenian Syrian refugee she shared with the audience how Malala's story related to her own.  Patricia is a youth representative for the organization Close The Gap, during her speech at the United Nations General Assembly this week she thanked and mentioned the Armenian Relief Society for the work we are doing in Syria for the Armenian Syrian refuges. Thanks to her remarks thousands of UN guests, mission representatives, UN Staff members and NGOs were able to understand the impact that NGOs have in unstable conflict regions such as Syria.
(From left to right) Ungerouhi Nory Boiatchian, Ungerouhi Suzan Azarian, and Talin Bagdassarian; ARS Intern, volunteering during the WGG IDG Event 2015
Working Group on Girls - International Day of the Girl Speak Out 2015
 
ARS Ungerouhis have been active participants of the Working Group on Girls (WGG) for over 10 years. On October 9 th , 2015 ARS Ungerouhis volunteered and attended the International Day of the Girl Speak Out. The event took place in the United Nations Trusteeship Council and focused on girl related issues in Education, Gender Equality, Health and Sanitation, Climate Change, Violence Against Girls, and Girls Leadership. The event had a mixture of featured activist monologues, performances, music, song and video developed by girls around the world. In addition to attending and volunteering at WGG events ARS Ungerouhis participated in the WGG advocacy monthly meetings and raised awareness on issues pertaining to girls by meeting with various country missions. The International Day of the Girl was established by efforts of the WGG in 2011 as a day of recognition and celebration for girls worldwide. The day is meant to bring together communities across the world in support of the full recognition of human rights for girls.  This year the event was sponsored and organized by the Missions of Canada, Peru and Turkey. Speakers at the event included Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director, Strategic Partnerships, Coordination and Intergovernmental Support Bureau at UN Women and His Excellency Mongens Lykketoft President of the General Assembly. 
The New CGO CSW/NY Executive Committee at the UN
New NGO CSW/NY Executive Committee 2015-2017

On July 25th, 2015 Ungerouhi Houry Geudelekian, thanks to her hard work and dedication to the committee, was officially selected as part of the NGO CSW Executive Committee in her new role as Communications Secretary. The ARS has had a more prominent role in the NGO CSW since Houry's participation with the CSW in 2011. The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY (NGO CSW/NY) supports the work of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and UN Women. By playing an active role in the UN Community, Houry advocates for women's rights and the advancement of women and girls worldwide. The ARS supports the Beijing Platform for Action, UN Security Resolution 1325, the Millennium Development Goals, and the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Currently there are approximately 100 organizations that are monitoring and actively participating in the work of the NGO/CSW. For the next two years Houry will assist in the organization of the next two conferences held at the UN bringing together activists from all around the world for an approximate 2-week period annually. Collectively ARS UN representatives will work with Houry to network, share strategies and best practices, and lobby governments to implement resolutions and treaties signed in relation to women's rights. 
Ungerouhi Houry Geudelekian facilitating the December 2015 NGO CSW meeting on COP21 .
December 2015 NGO CSW Monthly Meeting

On December 17 th , 2015 the NGO CSW of New York held its monthly meeting.  The Facilitator of the meeting was our very own ARS UN Coordinator Ungeroohi Houry Geudelekian. This month's discussion topic was the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21).  Panelists included; Eleanor Blomstrom, Program Director at Women's Environment and Development Organization, Sarabeth Brockley, Current Policy Analyst at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Susan Kath, Director of the Environment Program at Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice.  Each panelist spoke of their experiences at the conference, touching on the process of negotiations for the agreed conclusion of the COP21 Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The international political response to climate change started at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, resulting in a convention that set out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gasses. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force on March 21 st, 1994 with a universal membership of 195 parties. In 2015 COP21 aimed to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate with an aim in keeping global warming below 1.5 Celsius. The conference resulted in 50,000 participants and included 25,000 delegates. For further information and detail on the historic Paris agreement of 2015 please refer to the following link: http://unfccc.int/key_documents/the_convention/items/2853.php
Armenian Relief Society Co-Sponsors Program, "Forced Migration: Healthcare for the Displaced-a Pandemic"

"All seats were filled" during the United Nations NGO Health Committee's program, "Forced Migration:  Healthcare for the Displaced-a Pandemic," held on October 21, 2015.  The program was co-sponsored by the Armenian Relief Society, New York University College of Nursing, and the International Health Awareness Network.  Well-versed panelists included:  Jennifer Schlecht, LMSW, MPH, Senior Program Officer at the Women's Refugee Commission; Catherine Panter-Brick, MA, MSC, DPhil, Professor of Anthropology at Yale University; and John Solecki, Senior Policy Advisor for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees' Liaison Office in New York.  The audience, for this very timely program, included a wide sector of UN representatives, as well as undergraduate and graduate students from local colleges and universities. 
 
Some alarming facts were presented:
  • 60 million people in the world are currently "displaced"-the highest number post World War
  • Syria has witnessed the largest exodus of refugees in history
  • 50 percent of the world's refugees are children-the highest number in history
  • In Syria alone, almost 7 million people were forced to flee their homes in 2014-approximately 1/3 of the country's population
  • Throughout the program, it was reinforced that "everything cascades from the family," as the family is the only remaining institution for displaced persons. 
Talin Bagdassarian ARS UN intern volunteering at the International Day of the Girls Speak Out
ARS Intern Talin Bagdassarian

Since early September of 2015 Talin Baghdassarian has been an Intern at the New York United Nations Headquarters for the ARS.  She has been an active participant in attendance of briefings in relation to women's empowerment, gender equality and the status of women in conflict affected areas. She was in attendance and volunteered at two major side events, "Civil Society Watch: Governments to Action" and the "International Day of the Girl Speak Out Event". Since her work this past fall she has obtained a deeper understanding of the role that NGOs play at the United Nations and their impact in agenda setting at national and global levels. 
Snapshot of the General Assembly Room during the High Level Youth Event
High-Level Youth Event
 
On May 29 th 2015, Ungerouhi Nory Boiatchian, attended the High Level Event of the General Assembly marking the 20 th Anniversary of the World Programme for Action to highlight Youth Priorities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. This event offered the opportunity for Member States, Non-governmental Organizations and Youth from all around the world to come together and discuss issues pertaining to problems youth face today. One of the major issues discussed was youth and employment. Today's young people are the most educated generation ever. Nevertheless, they encounter difficulties in entering and remaining in the labor market. For many youth, the transition to work is a problem. One of the many issues discussed among the youth during this event was youth unemployment. Self-employment and entrepreneurship were discussed as possible solutions to the youth unemployment problem. One of the platforms created in bringing employers and youth together by international organizations such as the ILO (International Labor Organization) is the YEN (Youth Employment Network). The YEN engages, educates and motivates actors to provide improved employment opportunities for youth. 
ARS UN Work Around the World
ARS Work in Geneva
On June 22 nd 2015, Ungerouhi Armik Yeroumian and Ungerouhi Annie Yeromian Sallier were present at the United Nations Office at Geneva Civil Society: "Non-Governmental Organization, United Nations and Civil Society for Peace, Rights and Well-being: 70 Years and Beyond" event.   Speakers included Ambassador Cho from South Korea, Mrs. Cecillia Cannon, from the Graduate institute of International Relations, Mrs. Bundegaard, Director of Save the Chilren and Mr. Peter Splinter, Representative of Amnesty International.  Mrs. Cecillia Cannon discussed her doctoral work on the role of non-state actors in international policy. She framed the importance of NGOs in framing global governance and influencing agenda settings at the National and International levels. Mrs. Bundegaard, briefly recalled the history of the foundation of Save the Children and stressed the importance of the "Declaration of the Rights of the Child". She emphasized the issue of its ratification to national rights and highlighted the global movement launched by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon "Every Women, Every Child". Mr. Peter Splinter discussed the issues between NGOs and Delegations. He brought awareness of the issue on how delegations use tactics of intimidation and reprisals by suspending NGO accreditation.   He denounced the push back of civil society organizations at the national and international levels.
ARS Work in South America
Ungh. Lucy Pamboukdjian reporting on the ARS UN initiatives, in South America

Ungh Lucy Pamboukdjian serves on the ARS UN Committee in Brazil. She was in attendance of the ARS UN Exhibit this past May and NGO CSW New York UN Side Events and briefings in New York. Since her travels to New York Ungerouhi Lucy Pamboukdjian has been raising awareness of ARS UN Work all across South America starting at the local chapter level to a radio program heard by many Armenians in South America.  On July 19 th 2015 Ungerouhi Lucy presented the work of the ARS UN Committee and her experience on the Montevideo Armenian Weekly Radio Program.  Ungerouhi Lucy hopes that her experience on the UN Committee will inspire Armenian youth all across the world in becoming active members of the ARS. She continues to emphasize the importance of retention and recruitment of members. 
ARS Convention in Yerevan, Armenia
Ungerouhis from around the world in attendance of the ARS 71st International Convention in Yerevan, Armenia

ARS Convention in Armenia
 
The 71st International Convention of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) convened from Sunday, October 4, 2015, until Friday, October 9, 2015 in Yerevan, Armenia. During the six days, the convention considered the ARS Central Executive Board's activities for the past four years, evaluated the activities, and adopted special programs. Along with educational, health, social and assistance programs for the needy, the convention paid particular attention and adopted corresponding resolutions for the following: the crisis in the Middle East; standing in solidarity with our compatriots in Armenia, Artsakh and Javakhk; providing care packages to soldiers; helping border villages with their various issues; the financial hardships facing the ARS Armenian Blue Cross in Greece; and the immediate needs of the other Armenian communities. During the convention ARS Ungerouhis collectively decided on a resolution with three final points in relation to the work of the ARS at the UN, the points decided where as follows:
 
Whereas the United Nations (UN) has abundant opportunities for the ARS as a non-governmental organization (NGO);
  • Be it resolved that the ARS Central Executive Board through its UN committee encourage ARS entities to propel their members to more fully participate in meetings and conferences within their regions, including those on the Commissions on the Status of Women.
  • Be it resolved that the ARS United Nations (UN) committee facilitate the expansion of the internship program within the UN.


Committee Ungherouhis brainstorming during ARS Convention in Yerevan on visits with UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, OXFAM, several Ministers and many more NGOs on projects to be implemented in partnerships for the coming years.

From left to right: 
Ungh Armine Muqoyan; ARS Yerevan office representative.
Ungh Houry Geudelekian; ARS UN Coordinator
Ungh Frida Nercess Kezelian-Hadjian; ARS Armenia UN Committee
Ungh Lala Demirdjian-Attarian; ARS Executive Director 
Ungh Pauline Getzoyan; ARS UN CEB Liaison (2011-2015)
ARS UN Committee 2015-2019
ARS UN Executive Committee

Valentine Berberian - USA, Chairperson
Sarine Adishian - USA
Pauline Getzoyan - USA
Meline Toufaian - USA
Garine Shamlian - USA
Nora Simonian - USA
Frida Kezelian-Hadjian- Armenia
Araxie Apelian-Kolanian- Greece
Lucy Pamboukdjian- South America
Lucy Pampalian- Australia
Nyree Derderian - USA, CEB liaison
Silva Takvorian- USA, CEB liaison

ARS UN Representatives in 
New York

Suzi Azarian
Valentine Berberian
Nory Boiatchian
Carol Jaffarian
Linda Tarzian

ARS UN Representatives in Geneva

Dorine Kouyoumjian
Armik Yeromian
Annie Yeromian-Sallier

ARS UN Coordinator

Houry Geudelekian
Sincerely,
 
ARS, Inc.
Armenian Relief Society, Inc.