Southern New York Division 
Newsletter  March 2017 

From the President
George Garland

"New Leaders, Pressing Challenges"--and Opportunities!
On February 17, more than 700 UNA-USA members and UN supporters met in the General Assembly Hall to participate in a day of rich panels and robust discussions. This year's theme, "New Leaders, Pressing Challenges," called attention to the future of the US-UN relationship following recent leadership changes in the United States and at the United Nations and aptly leads to an emphasis on advocacy as UNA-USA chapters and members are challenged to weigh in on so many vital issues.
Issues included refugees, conflict resolution, and sustainable development. Attendees were able to network with community leaders, academics and students, and representatives from think tanks and global organizations. Members also used social media during the day, and especially Twitter, to advocate to members of Congress and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley in support of refugees and full funding for the United Nations.

Speakers at the event included Ambassador Jeffrey D. Feltman, Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs; Kamal Amakrane, Director, Office of the President of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly; Ihab Moustafa Awad Moustafa, Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the UN; Ambassador Sebastiono Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN; Kathy Calvin, President and CEO, United Nations Foundation; Hamdia Ahmed, Sophomore, University of Southern Maine and former refugee in Kenya; R. Steven Johnson,Vice Chair, UNA-USA National Council and Representative to WFUNA Youth.

So what can be done at the chapter and division level? 
  • Chapters can organize visits to their local representatives, and include supporters from as many organizations and sectors as possible.
  • Chapters can organize letter-writing and phone-calling campaigns about UN funding--our chapters and division cover many congressional districts and our two US Senators.
  • Members can foster direct relationships with their representatives and schedule individual visits.
  • Most recently, Chris Whatley called for us to weigh in on whether the US should abandon its seat on the Human Rights Council. Should the US participate in global discussions of human rights?
  • Full funding for all UN programs, including peacekeeping, is still the number one national priority. The Continuing Budget Resolution for 2016/2017 must be replaced by April 28. The budget for 2017/2018 will be debated in June. Immediate action should include both.
  • Reports out of DC indicate the President is calling for cutting funding for the Department of State. This limits our ability to solve international issues without military action, though limiting military action is another national priority. Let your voice be heard.
  • Climate change. Implementing the Paris Accords is needed to stem climate change. More action is needed, not less. Yet the key element of the US commitment, the Clean Power Plan, is a priority for elimination by new leadership.
  • The US role in addressing 65 million refugees is yet another area where your voice may be heard.
  • Representative Nita Lowey introduced the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights Act (Global HER) on January 24th. This lifts the gag rule which prohibits US funds from being used to advise global women on family planning. She needs your support!
On Tuesday, February 28, UNA-USA and more than 100 other civil society organizations sent a letter to Senators Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer and Representatives Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi urging them to support strong US leadership at the United Nations--including fully meeting our nation's financial obligations to the UN.
Join us for the 2017 Leadership Summit, from June 11-13 for three days of advocacy and action. UNA-USA members meet with high-ranking US government and UN officials.

Advocacy Alert

Sign Up for the Leadership Summit!

Join us for the 2017 Leadership Summit, June 11-13, at the National Education Association Building in Washington, DC. 

UNA-USA members from around the country will come together for three days packed with advocacy and action.  You'll meet with high-ranking US government and UN officials, learn from global experts, urge Congress to make progress on key humanitarian issues, and encourage them to fully-fund the UN!

Early bird registration ends April 11th! Sign up here.

March Calendar / Around the Division

NYC/Manhattan Chapter

Thursday, March 9
Steelcase Store
4 Columbus Circle (58th Street and 8th Avenue)
New York, NY

Join Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner of the NYC Mayor's Office for International Affairs, to discuss the importance of NYC as host city to the UN headquarters, and a partnership based on values for a more equitable world.

SNY Division

Girls, Women, Clean Energy and Entrepeneurship

Wednesday, March 15
UN Foundation
801 Second Avenue, 9th Floor
New York, NY

Join us for a discussion with speakers from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, KDCK (a Haitian non-profit working in Cotes de Fer, Haiti), the Population Council, and HEART in Haiti. This is a parallel event to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Thursday, March 16
UN Foundation
801 Second Avenue, 9th Floor
New York, NY

Join UNA-SNY, the Partnership for the Eradication of Human Trafficking (PEHT), and Alpha Kappa Alpha for a panel discussion. Featuring Rev. Que English from Safe Haven International, Jayne Bigelsen from Covenant House New York, and Maria Almario from the PEHT.

Young Professionals-SNY 

The Importance of Activism  and How to Get Involved

Wednesday, March 22
UN Foundation
801 Second Avenue, 9th Floor
New York, NY

Join our Young Professionals for an interactive panel and workshop with activists from Kenya and the United States working on the refugee crisis, global health, and more.  Speakers include Rabita Tereque, GenUN City College; Maurine Merenga, RESULTS; Carol Houston, RESULTS NY Volunteer Lead; and George Garland, UNA-SNY Division President. 

Save the Date / Around the Division

Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter

Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Rd.
New Paltz, NY

Featured speakers include İlgu Őzler, Giovanni Ciarlo, Tara Stuart, and a World Café Roundtable Session (introduced by Dot Maver,
founding director of the National Peace Academy) and provide attendees opportunities to network and consider initiatives that can breach difference and create solutions for refugees in crisis. All are welcome.

United Nations Association / Southern New York Division 

The United Nations Association is dedicated to educating, inspiring, and mobilizing Americans to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations, strengthening the United Nations system, promoting constructive United States leadership in that system and achieving the goals of the United Nations Charter.

The Southern New York Division includes the New York (Manhattan), Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Nassau, Hudson Valley, and Westchester UNA Chapters and Young Professionals. 

United Nations Association is a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization.

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