United Nations Association of New York
2014 Annual UN Day Gala Dinner
Honors Three Global Leaders
On October 29th, the United Nations Association of New York announced the honorees for its annual Humanitarian of the Year awards, during their celebratory gala dinner commemorating the 69th Anniversary of the United Nations. Receiving the award this year was Stefan Persson, Chairman of H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. In addition, a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Lord Raj Loomba, CBE and The Loomba Foundation.
'Evidence Is Clear: Equality for Women Means Progress for All' Ban Ki-moon Says in Address to UNA-NY Awards Dinner
"The empowerment of women, the theme of your dinner tonight, is a matter of fundamental human rights," said the UN Secretary-General. "But it is also crucial for building the future we want. Despite important gains in access to primary education for girls and political representation for women, progress remains far too slow and uneven. Discrimination and violence against women remain widespread, across the world. We cannot fulfil 100 per cent of the world's potential by excluding 50 per cent of the world's people. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all."
The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education." Malala's courage and determination are a beacon of hope and an inspirational reminder of what youth activism can achieve.
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson at the HeForShe United Nations campaign launch party in New York. | Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
The 24-year-old actress Emma Watson, recently appointed a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, gave a rousing 13-minute speech about gender equality at UN headquarters in New York on September 20, in which she said, "We don't just want to talk about equality, but make sure it is tangible."
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, is to join a public march on Sunday, September 21 calling for action on climate change. "I will link arms with those marching for climate action," he told a press conference. "We stand with them on the right side of this key issue for our common future."
As high-ranking officials do not normally attend mass public protests, his unusual step is a measure of how high the stakes are at a climate summit next week of world leaders. Ban said, "Action on climate change is urgent. The more we delay, the more we will pay in lives and in money… We are anticipating an impressive turnout of leaders from government, business, finance and civil society. Most important, we are expecting significant commitments and progress."
UNA-NY Evening at the Consulate
with Ambassador Sun Guoxiang
In early September, our Members-only Consulate Evening featured a visit to the Chinese Consulate General in New York, for an informal first-hand introduction to the economy, culture and cuisine of the People's Republic of China.
The Ambassador Series
with Thomas R. Pickering on U.S.–Iran Relations
Our distinguished guest this spring in our ever-popular Ambassador Series was Thomas R. Pickering, whose diplomatic career spans five decades, and who holds the rank of Career Ambassador, with extensive service covering many territories. In his evening presentation the ambassador addressed both the obstacles and the possibilities of success in the efforts of both Iran and the United States to resolve their differences over Iran's nuclear program.
Advocacy Chair Joan Levy Awarded Recognition at UNA-NY Annual Meeting
Foremost on our agenda at our UNA-NY Annual Meeting this spring, was the warm recognition given to our long-standing Advocacy chair Joan Levy. Bestowing the Distinguished Service Award allowed the board members to honor Joan for all of her sincere efforts over the years.
UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres on Climate Action:
Which Path Will We Follow?
The UN's climate chief Christiana Figueres announced that the latest government-approved science more clearly than ever points to the extreme risks posed by climate change, as well as the many opportunities to put the world on a safer and more resilient path. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) yesterday released the new installment of its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), on impacts and vulnerabilities.
The UNA-USA and UNFCU Alliance:
Strengthening Support and Member Benefits
United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) and the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) recently announced an alliance extending UNFCU membership to UNA-USA members, who can now benefit from all of the financial products and services exclusively available to the United Nations, its specialized agency staff, retirees and their families worldwide. The good news capped UNA-USA Members' Day, a gathering of over 800 UNA-USA members, senior UN officials, and diplomatic corps at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The conflict in Syria has raged on for three years, creating the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century. But from the rubble of their former homes, the women in Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp are displaying a remarkable resilience in finding ways to build new lives.
In recognition of International Women's Day, we recommend this feature appearing in Marie Claire magazine by Rania Abouzeid, an independent journalist covering the Middle East, and who has chronicled the Syrian uprising since it began in 2011. Photograph by Rena Effendi.
Our recent Screening the Issues event honored Holocaust Remembrance Day with a well-attended presentation of Aaron Yeger's A PEOPLE UNCOUNTED. It illuminated the story of the Romani people, exploring their rich culture as well as their suffering at the hands of others throughout history. As victims of varying degrees of racism on the one hand, and stilted romanticized images in popular culture on the other, the real-life intolerance and persecution of the Roma has historically been largely ignored. Commonly referred to as Gypsies, their tragic experience reached an extreme when an estimated 500,000 of the Roma were murdered during the Holocaust.
Left to right: Graça Machel, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson, Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Martti Ahtisaari, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi | Photo: The Elders/Jeff Moore
"The world has lost a visionary leader, a courageous voice for justice, and a clear moral compass. By showing us that the path to freedom and human dignity lies in love, wisdom and compassion for one another, Nelson Mandela stands as an inspiration to us all." Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General
"When I thanked him for his life's work, he insisted the credit belonged to others. I was very moved by his selflessness and deep sense of shared purpose… Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world and within each one of us — if we believe, dream and work together." Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
Join us in thanking the more than 113,000 brave men and women from 116 countries who serve as United Nations peacekeepers in 15 missions around the world.
UN peacekeepers risk their lives every day to rebuild societies wracked by violence and natural disasters, restore confidence in people who have known little but war, and adapt to new challenges in some of the most difficult places in the world.
Add your name, and a note if you'd like, to the thank you card HERE, and we'll deliver it to UN peacekeepers worldwide.
Women in UN Peacekeeping
As the need for UN peacekeeping forces has expanded around the world, women have been right at the forefront. Women peacekeepers suit up and are deployed in all areas of peacekeeping operations — including police, military, and civilian forces — and play a critical role in building peace and protecting women and girls' rights in regions torn apart by conflict.
When women participate in the peace process, it not only promotes gender equality, but also provides strong female role models in regions torn apart by war — where all too often those two critical elements are missing.
As an effective way to educate and motivate a community, Screening the Issues has been promoting the work of the United Nations with events that serve a dual purpose: to commend the intelligence of filmmakers who have the courage and passion to address crucial human concerns while presenting important global issues to a culturally aware New York audience. The mission of UNA-NY is to educate, inspire and mobilize the NYC community and to raise awareness of the vital work of the United Nations.