We can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since our Global Leadership Summit kicked off in Washington, D.C. Over the last year, our members have made a big impact—and this summit was no different.
This year’s Global Leadership Summit was a historic success:
Our delegation represented all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
For the very first time, we were excited to welcome UNA members from every state and Washington, D.C. to participate in the summit.
Our members held a record-breaking 322 Congressional meetings!
Let that sink in—in just one day, UNA members met with over 60 percent of Congressional offices to ask their elected officials to support full funding for the UN, its agencies and programs.
Check out more highlights from the summit here. (See if you can find yourself, or if you didn’t get to go, get motivated to go next year. Remember: we have a yearly scholarship for one lucky and engaged member to go!)
We’re very excited to announce the young professionals and global goals mixer and networking event in August. The idea came about when we realized that a large group of our members were graduating college or have recently done so. Because of this, this event is geared towards young professionals, and how they fit into our organization. Of course, this event is open to all members and allows you an opportunity to hear about some of our initiatives.
Our Global Goals program is one that supports the United Nations 2030 Global Goals initiative. While it may seem like a huge undertaking, we believe that the key to achieving the 2030 metrics is to think globally, and act locally. We are excited to tell you more about what this means at the event!
Not only will members get to hear about our initiatives, they will also get to hear about another local Chicago organization’s initiatives as well. A Better Chicago will be there to speak about their efforts in the city and will tell us what “Smart Philanthropy” means to them, and how to get involved.
Overall, we are excited to have anyone interested in the United Nations Association join us, whether it’s to hear about Global Goals, advocacy, A Better Chicago, or something else- and remember, you don’t have to be a member to join this event! See you then.
Mark your calendars and be on the lookout for invite emails coming soon! If you are not signed-up to receive our emails, make sure you do so here.
Thanks to the UNA-USA network, the 2018 UNA-USA Leadership Summit was a resounding success! With over 500 attendees from 46 states including the District of Columbia, this year’s Summit was the largest convening to date.
For three incredible days, UNA members heard from notable speakers . These speakers included Thomas Pickering, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1989-1992), Andrew Gilmour, UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, Ambassador Robert King, former special envoy for North Korea human rights issues at the U.S. Department of State (2009-2017), and Munira Khalif, U.S. Youth Observer to the UN, speaking on the importance of a strong U.S.-UN relationship.
All UNA members are encouraged to sign-up and attend the National Summit, held each year. This year we had a number of UNA Chicago members in attendance. Below in an overview or their experience.
Day 1: Welcome to DC!
The Saturday before the Summit isn’t officially a part of the summit, but this year, there was a happy hour hosted, where we got to meet other members of UNA USA, and participants of the conference.
Day 2: Speakers & breakout sessions
Day 2 is really when the summit begins. This year, we got to hear speakers that ranged from Hilary Corna – a bestselling author, to Munira Kalif – the US Youth Observer to the UN to Tracy Roosevelt- great granddaughter of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. It was also filled with breakout sessions such as: UN 101, Chapter Best Practices, Model UN and Global Classrooms, and UN Advocacy, to name a few. As you can tell, the day is all about learning, listening, and networking.
Day 3: More speakers & More breakout sessions
Day three was very much a continuation of day two. This time, we heard Thomas Pickering – Former US Ambassador to the UN, Ed Royce – Chairman, US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador Robert R. King – Ambassador of the US on North Korea Human Rights Issues. The breakout sessions consisted of topics such as: Action on Climate Change, Global Health, Human Rights Close to Home, Careers at the UN, and Global Refugee Crisis Beyond Syria.
The day ended with a dinner and cocktail hour at the Institute of Peace. Here we where we were able to hear Andrew Gilmour, the UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights speak.
Day 4: Lobby day!
Lobby day is the final day of the summit and the day that you get to turn all you’ve learned from the past two days into action. Though this may sound daunting, most states are represented by at least 10 people- some are represented by over 50- so we were never alone. To prep for this groups gathered to conduct research on the representatives. This allowed us to be prepared to discuss the more important topics with them. Overall, it was truly an empowering experience.
Our impact was felt beyond the in-person Congressional meetings and dynamic panels. UNA-USA members sent over 500 emails to Congress, at least 200 UNA members tweeted at their elected officials, and #USAforUN earned over 13 million impressions and reached nearly 2.5 million users.
That sounds like a lot, but the time flies by! When you leave you’re left with a better understanding of not only what the United Nations does, but also what the United Nations Association does, and how your chapter can help its mission. We hope to see you at the next one!
In 2017 alone, every 2 seconds someone was forced to flee their home due to war, violence, or persecution. That equals 68.5 million people. To put that number in terms that might be easier to grasp, that means 44,000 people per day –ordinary people like you and me – were forced to leave everything behind in order to escape violence.
What might be even harder to swallow is the fact that half of the world’s refugees are children.
This World Refugee Day, UNA Chicago hosted a fundraising event featuring Peter Magai Bul, a former refugee from the Kakuma Refugee Camp.
Kakuma Refugee Camp is one of the oldest refugee camps in Kenya. Kenya’s Kakuma camp serves an estimated 190,000 refugees from neighboring countries –far surpassing its capacity of 100,000 refugees. Within Kakuma, there are 19 primary schools funded by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to serve young refugees, which make up 55 percent of the camp’s population.
“I lived in Kakuma Refugee Camp from 1992 to 2001. Living in Kakuma for about 10 years was very painful and troubling in so many ways,” explains Peter Magai Bul, “Insecurity was among the problems we had to face. We couldn’t travel far outside the camp for a fear of being killed by the local Kenyans, who considered us their enemies.”
Living in fear is just one of the daily challenges for refugees like Peter. Many refugees lack basic necessities such as shelter, access to food and water, the ability to seek medical assistance, and opportunities for education.
“We were encouraged to go to school, but we lacked teachers and school supplies. Diseases such cholera, malaria, and anemia, among others, would take lives every day and there were few clinics that lacked doctors,” reflects Peter.
Even through these daily perils that refugees experience during this international crisis, there is hope. In 2016, UNA-USA, in partnership with USA for UNHCR, launched Adopt-A-Future campaign, an initiative dedicated to helping refugee children build a brighter future by providing them with quality education. Through this event we were able to raise over $1200 dollars to support the Adopt-A-Future campaign.
As for Peter, he plans to continue spreading the word to anyone willing to help fight the refugee crisis: “I promised myself that I would always be their voice and do whatever it takes to advocate for their dignity, rights, and freedom, among other basic needs such as shelter, food, education, and health.”
By Kenia Marreros, UNA-RMU
On January 25, 2017 the Robert Morris University UNA chapter hosted an Oxfam Hunger Banquet. The purpose of the banquet was to raise awareness of hunger around the world. Many of the students were shocked to know that not everyone is fortunate to eat a nutritious meal every day, some students spoke and shared how they were extremely sadden to know that in some parts of the world a child does not have the luxury to eat beans and rice with utensils.
Participants were divided into social classes (low-income, middle-income, and high-income). Each social class received meals according to their class. The banquet was a true success; approximately 130 students attended. The chapter is very proud to have had the opportunity to share the harsh reality of hunger and poverty with the RMU community.
About OxFam Hunger Banquets
The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is a memorable, interactive event that brings hunger and poverty issues to life. After 40 years, this volunteer-led effort is still going strong—and has changed hundreds of thousands of lives. Expand your world by attending an Oxfam Hunger Banquet near you. Want to host your own Hunger Banquet? Please contact our Special Initiatives Director, Sana’a Hussein, for resources.
The UNA-USA chapter at Robert Morris University-IL is an organization involved in service projects that explores diverse cultures and issues of global relevance within the framework of the United Nations mission to educate, inspire, and mobilize support for the principles and vital work of the United Nations.
By Barbara Woodfork, ResU UNA
Shot@Dance was a fundraiser event hosted by the Resurrection University – UNA School Chapter to help bring awareness to the importance of childhood vaccinations within the community. It was held at the Latin Rhythms Dance Studio with food provided by Reel Club in Oak Brook and Grapevine Foods in Orland Park as well as music provided by DJ Michael Ellis. These services were donated in support of our event and the campaign. Through this event, Resurrection University’s UNA School Chapter was able to show their support to the United Nations’ Shot@Life campaign and its efforts to help children have a chance to live a healthy life. Through advocacy and increased awareness, they were able to raise $500 for the campaign to aid in its efforts to vaccinate children around the world.