Southern New York Division  Newsletter
December 2016 

From the President
George Garland

Our Division is proud to announce our support for Dr. Abdiqafar Yasin Farah, a UN Staff Member and peacemaker with the DDR division of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia. Dr. Farah has continued his work with the UN to disengage and rehabilitate Al-Shabaab fighters even after he lost his right arm in 2006 to one of their IEDs in a suicide attack prior to working with the UN. He is on the frontlines of the battle against terrorism through non-military means.
At our November 14 Board meeting, we had the good fortune to meet Dr. Farah as our guest speaker and hear his story. We need to support such strength and courage and that is why we are helping to fundraise for him to receive a functional prosthetic limb. 

Vice President for Communications Melinda Richardson with Dr. Farah

We have held a series of successful fundraising events for him in the Division in November, organized by our Vice President for Communications Melinda Richardson. And we encourage all members to go to the site set up for you to further contribute. Please help Dr. Farah to receive a prosthetic arm so he may continue the vital work he does. Please note that 100% of donations raised through this campaign will go towards Dr. Farah's prosthetic limb and medical care.

Dr. Farah represents what the UN stands for in this complex world.
Please click here to read more.

Advocacy Alert
Visiting Our Member of Congress

Sixteen Members of Congress representing the SNY Division, including our chapters within it, were re-elected on November 8th. Since Congress is expected to adjourn around December 15th, we are asking our members meet with their representatives in their District offices to discuss continued support for the vital work of the United Nations.  

We especially seek support for four issues of UNA-USA's 2016 Advocacy Priorities:

*Full Funding for the UN
*Refugee services
*Sustainable Development Goals / Humanitarian Crisis  
*Climate Change.

Backgrounders on these issues as well as suggestions for discussion can be found here.

Here is a short summary of these four issues.

Funding: Full funding includes paying the UN regular budget dues and peacekeeping dues. UN Peacekeepers are working to maintain peace and security in 16 zones on four continents.  As conflicts wind down, there is much work to be done to stabilize the society:  addressing the needs of the people for food and shelter, rebuilding schools, hospitals and government institutions, organizing elections, demobilizing former combatants, preventing renewed conflicts.  All this work is protected by UN Peacekeepers who come from many countries and do their work at much lower cost than U.S. troops would incur.

Refugees: The number of refugees and displaced persons in the world now exceeds 65 million. The UN always takes the lead in organizing services for victims of humanitarian crises resulting from natural disasters such as earthquakes, droughts and floods. Conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have added to the crisis. The UNHCR, UNICEF and the World Food Program do the initial work of providing for the basic needs of people: food, clothing, shelter. They set up refugee camps that eventually include providing schools, health care and employment opportunities. People may spend years in these camps as UNHCR attempts to have them resettled. Refugees coming from the Middle East to the U.S. for resettlement have followed an established process that takes about two years to complete. Before they leave the camp, they have been vetted first by UNHCR and later, by the U.S. State Department, and then assigned for resettlement in selected communities in the U.S.  We ask that our government continue to resettle refugees who are unable to return to their countries of origin.

Sustainable Development Goals: At the start of the 2015 UN General Assembly meeting, the Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals) were adopted. They are designed to improve the standard of living for all people. They address the basic needs of people: poverty reduction, education, health care, gender equality, clean energy, clean water and sanitation, an opportunity to work. They also require governments to set up strong institutions that would provide peace and justice in their communities.

Climate Action: Providing a sustainable environment is the goal of several of the SDGs which include climate action and protecting the seas and the land. The Paris Agreement to limit global temperature increases by controlling greenhouse gas emissions was adopted by the UN member countries in December 2015 and went into effect on November 7th, the day before the U.S. election. The U.S. had been a prime mover in reaching the agreement. We ask that our government implement the EPA's Clean Power Plan and contribute to the Green Climate Fund that will help poor countries control their emissions and adapt to climate change.
If you would like to join a group making a local visit to your Member of Congress, contact your Chapter leaders or the SNY Division Vice President for Advocacy, Margaret Shannon, at
Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.

This year, Human Rights Day calls for everyone to stand up for rights! 

Many of us are fearful about the way the world is heading. Disrespect for basic human rights continues to be wide-spread in all parts of the globe. Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Messages of intolerance and hatred prey on our fears. Humane values are under attack. 

We must reaffirm our common humanity. Wherever we are, we can make a real difference. In the street, in school, at work, in public transport; in the voting booth, on social media.
The time for this is now. "We the peoples" can take a stand for rights. And together, we can take a stand for more humanity.

It starts with each of us. 

Step forward and defend the rights of a refugee or migrant, a person with disabilities, an LGBT person, a woman, a child, indigenous peoples, a minority group, or anyone else at risk of discrimination or violence. 

December Calendar / Around the Division

City College of New York Chapter

Thursday, December 8
Program: Disability & The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The John Jay College Student Council, in partnership with The United Nations Association - CCNY Chapter presents 
"Human Rights for All: Disability & The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal."

Join us as we celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice 
524 West 59th Street 
New York, NY 10019
6:00 - 8:00 pm

Manhattan/NY Chapter

Monday, December 12
Program:  In Honor of Human Rights Day
The Perfect Storm: Closing Space for LGBT Civil Society in Kenya, Indonesia, Hungary and Kyrgyzstan

      with Dr. Meg Davis, Visiting Scholar, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
      CUNY Graduate Center 
      365 Fifth Avenue
      6:00 pm 

The presentation will draw on a recent report for  Global Philanthropy Project  which examines how these forces are affecting LGBT groups in four countries that represent diverse geographic regions: Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Hungary, and Kenya. The report also highlights these groups' resilience, and how many have found ways to survive and thrive in restrictive and often threatening environments.

Visit the UNA-NY site for more information.

Westchester Chapter

Sunday, December 11
Program: Human Rights Day-- "Shining Light on a Dark World: South Sudan"

      Speakers: Jean-Victor Nkolo, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Africa 
      and Nya Chambang, Thon Met African Peace Foundation, Inc

      United Nations Video Screening:  "South Sudan--In Their Own Words: Ken Payumo's Story"

      Harrison Public Library
      2 Bruce Avenue
      2:00 - 4:30 pm

Sunday, December 17
Panel Discussion: T he Work of the UN

Preparing today's youth and educating the community on the role, focus, 
and mission of the United Nations

      Greenburgh Public Library
      100 Tarrytown Rd.
      Elmsford, NY 10532
      12:00 - 3:00 pm

Organized with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

UN Day  Around the Division

Chapters celebrated the 71st anniversary of the UN's founding with a variety of far-ranging and provocative programs! 

Brooklyn Chapter and UNA-SNY Young Professionals

Wednesday,  Oct. 26
2ND Annual UN DAY Celebration
Brooklyn Borough Hall

Over 200 people attended  Brooklyn Chapter's program, which included United Nations experts, live music, a buffet, and networking opportunities to celebrate the United Nations and learn about the UN's work to address Climate Change  

UNA-Brooklyn Board Member Dr. Loretta Patton-Greenidge and keynote speaker, humanitarian lawyer Yasmine Sherif

Many local NGOs were in attendance including:  350Brooklyn,  Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Delta Rho Omega Chapter,  ANS Association Networking Group,  BRIC,  Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture,  HABNET (Haitian-American Business Network),  Haitian-American Nurses Association (HANA),  Luz Marie Utrera Foundation,  New York City Commission for Human Rights,  New York Life-E. Mark Lewis,  UN Graduate Certificate Program, Long Island University, and  Urban Resource Institute.

Manhattan/NY Chapter

Wednesday, Oct. 26
UN Day Humanitarian Awards Gala  
JW Marriott Essex House, New York

Commemorating the 71st Anniversary of the United Nations, this year's UN Day Gala Dinner announced the honorees for its annual Humanitarian of the Year awards. Many dignitaries and other distinguished guests attended the gala, with the theme "Improving Global Road Safety." 

This year the gala honored  Jean Todt, the President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), along with actress  Michelle Yeoh, who is FIA's High Level Panel for Road Safety spokesperson, as well as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.

From left:  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon  and  Madame Ban Soon-taek ; 2016 Humanitarian Award Honorees: FIA President and UN Special Envoy for Road Safety  Jean Todt , and actress  Michelle Yeoh , FIA Road Safety spokesperson and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.

Westchester Chapter

Sunday, Oc tober 23
UN Day Program 
"One Humanity, Shared Responsibility: 
Responding Locally to the Refugee Crisis"
YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester

UNA-Westchester Board members, Ambassador Bob Jalango of Kenya, and Lynda Bagley, president of Zeta Nu Omega Chapter, AKA Sorority, with featured speakers Bela Hovy and Munira Okovic

Over 130 people attended programs including keynote speaker Mr. Bela Hovy, UN-DESA Migration Unit, and Ms. Munira Okavic, a Bosnian refugee. Andrew Courtney of the Westchester Refugee Task Force outlined strategies for helping refugees in Westchester. part of that Task Force, headed up by Member Mary Refling is heading up a Task Force and the chapter is making plans to participate in UNA-USA's "Adopt-A-Future" program. 
The chapter raised the UN flag with the mayors of White Plains and Mount Vernon on Monday October 24th.  
Event co-sponsors included: UNA-USA,  Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.(Zeta Nu Omega, Xi Chi Omega, Pi Iota Omega chapters),  YWCA of White Plains and Central Westchester, and  The Links, Inc.

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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