BookTalkUNA presents

New York, the United Nations, and the
Story Behind Their Unlikely Bond

Join us for an evening of discussion with our guest


Joined by

Deputy Commissioner
NYC Mayor's Office for International Affairs

Thursday, November 16, 2017

6 p.m. | Reception
6:30 p.m. | Presentation
7:15 p.m. | Book Signing

Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza
Kaufman Center, 12th Floor
New York, NY



UNA Members: FREE
UNA Student Members: FREE
Non-Members: $15

NOTE: all registration is now closed for this event.

For more than seven decades, New York City and the United Nations have shared the island of Manhattan, living and working together in a bond that has been likened to a long marriage — both tempestuous and supportive, quarrelsome and committed.

A WORLDLY AFFAIR: New York, the United Nations, and the Story Behind Their Unlikely Bond (Fordham University Press) tells the story of this hot and cold romance, from the 1940s when Mayor Fiorello La Guardia was doggedly determined to bring the new world body to New York, to the UN's flat rejection of the city's offer and then its abrupt change of heart in the face of a Rockefeller gift, and on to some tense, troubling decades that followed.

In its early days in the city, racial prejudice and anti-communist passions challenged the young international organization. Spies, scofflaw diplomats, provocative foreign visitors, and controversial UN-member policy positions tested New Yorkers' patience. All the while, the UN's growth — from its original 51 member states to 193 by 2017 — placed demands on the surrounding metropolis for everything from more office space, to more security, to better housing and schools for the international community's children. As the city worked to accommodate the world body's needs —often in the face of competition from other locales vying to host at least parts of the UN entity — New Yorkers at times grew to resent its encroachment on their neighborhoods, and at times even its very presence. It was a constituent sentiment that provoked more than one New York City mayor to be less than hospitable in dealing with the city's international guests.

Yet, as the UN moves into its eighth decade in New York — with its headquarters complex freshly renovated and the city proudly proclaiming that the organization adds nearly $4 billion to the New York economy each year — it seems clear the decades-old marriage will last. Whatever the inevitable spats and clashes along the way, the worldly affair is here to stay.

Join us for our evening BookTalkUNA with Pamela Hanlon and Julie Bolcer as they offer yet more insights as to why the United Nations is as important to New York as it is to the world at large.

Pamela Hanlon, a New York writer, is a former journalist and corporate communications executive. Most recently she was vice president-public relations for American Express Company, and earlier held senior positions with ITT Sheraton Hotels Worldwide, UAL Corporation, and Pan American World Airways. She began her career as an Associated Press reporter in Albany, New York.

A resident of the New York City neighborhood of Turtle Bay since 1976, Pamela has written extensively about the area. Manhattan's Turtle Bay: Story of a Midtown Neighborhood (Arcadia, 2008) was her first book. A contemporary history of East Midtown, its sales proceeds are donated to a local community organization. She also is co-author of The Luxembourg House on Beekman Place (Government of Luxembourg, 2010), the history of a midtown Manhattan townhouse where songwriter Irving Berlin lived for more than forty years. She has given numerous talks about the neighborhood's history, and in 2010 was cited in the Congressional Record for her work on behalf of the Turtle Bay area.

Pamela is a native of South Dakota and graduated from the University of Missouri Journalism School, where she has returned as a visiting professor. She chairs the Advisory Council of the Pan Am Historical Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to preserve the legacy of the former international airline.

Julie Bolcer is Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Communications in the Mayor's Office for International Affairs. In this role, she focuses on identifying global opportunities for engagement and amplifying the work of the Office on behalf of New York City. Prior to joining the Mayor's Office, Julie served as Executive Director of Public Affairs and Communications for the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner, and as a spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in the Southern District of New York.

Earlier, as a correspondent for The Advocate magazine, she extensively covered the campaign to win marriage equality in the courts and state legislatures, and her writing was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. Julie also served as chief of staff to New York State Senator Tom Duane representing the West Side of Manhattan, and worked in advocacy positions for the Forefront network of young human rights advocates and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Julie holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a master's degree in diplomacy and international relations from Seton Hall University, where she was a collegiate national champion in impromptu speaking.

A native of Baltimore, Julie lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their rescue dog and cat. In free time, she enjoys cycling along the city's waterfront greenways, live music, travel, and history books.

NOTE: all registration is now closed for this event.

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