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UN S-G Ban Ki-Moon Addresses UNA-USA Annual Meeting

June 14, 2010

By Jeanne Betsock Stillman

On Monday morning, June 7, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the UNA-USA Annual Meeting., arriving about 9:30.  He had just spoken to the Women Deliver conference, which involves a major new effort to improve maternal health and reduce mortality and morbidity, among other aims.  More on that conference in a separate blog post.

UN S-G Ban Ki-Moon addresses UNA-USA Annual Meeting

Some of the Annual Meeting Audience

After thanks to Ambassador Thomas Pickering, and acknowledging Ed Elmendorf’s new leadership, the S-G thanked members of UNA-USA, remarking that “You are the heart and soul of the UN’s battle for a better world.”  He went on, “With little fanfare but great dedication, you advocate for UN values and causes. You bring the UN’s global work down to the local level across the country.“  “We need the United States to be fully engaged in our work. You are helping to make that happen.”

He also talked about recent successes — the International Criminal Court Review Conference, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference – and mentioned the importance of the upcoming Millennium Development Goals (MDG) review in September.  He won great applause when he congratulated UNA-USA members for helping to make sure that the US paid its arrears and its new commitment to paying its bills, and confirmed that the Obama administration is engaging across the board.

Despite our being asked to stay seated so the S-G could leave quickly, the enthusiastic UNA audience gave him standing applause.

George Garland and Gabe Levitt have already written about the proposed UNA-USA alliance with the UN Foundation.    More will come from UNA national in the coming weeks.   At the meeting, Peter Yeo, VP of UN Foundation and Mike Beard, Director of its Better World Campaign, talked about the work of the Foundation, and where UNA-USA would fit (as a program of the Foundation, with an Executive Director at the helm).  They assured us that the UN Foundation would bring its strong resources in targeted advocacy, internet savvy, back-end business resources and fundraising to help chapters do their job even better and to increase grass-roots membership and effectiveness.  The UNA-USA website will continue.

Our Mid-Atlantic regional meeting, led by Jeff Laurenti, explored what the alliance will mean.    Chapter and division presidents will be asked to sign an agreement to join the new entity.  A New York office will continue.   UNA and UN Foundation have agreed that a gala in New York on November 18 will benefit UNA-USA, if all goes smoothly, this should provide a golden opportunity for the launch of the new UNA-USA.

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