Clearinghouse on Women's Issues: DC for CEDAW- The Time is Now!

UNA-NCA will join the Clearinghouse on Women's Issues to discuss the DC for CEDAW initiative this Tuesday, May 25 at 12:00pm ET. 

The Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues (CWI) presents expert speakers on current topics which impact the lives of women, particularly public policies that affect women economically, educationally, medically and legally. They also cooperate and exchange information with other organizations that work to improve the status of women, nationally and internationally. The mission of the Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues is to address economic, health, educational, social, political, and legal issues facing women and girls. CWI public forums are Washington, DC, networking events to raise awareness and to act as a catalyst to move women and girls towards greater equity. CWI addresses concerns of diverse women at the local, national and international levels.

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Karen Mulhauser, President, Mulhauser and Associates, Past President NARAL, Past Chair United Nations Association of the USA, Past President United Nations Association, National Capital Area, will provide a brief history and update on the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) including plans to gain US ratification of this important treaty and how it would work with the ERA when both are passed. She will then describe progress made with the Cities for CEDAW movement and why it is important to make DC a City or hopefully state for CEDAW.

Shayna Vayser, Managing Director of Advocacy and Policy Strategy at the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), will share a call to action for gender equity in Washington, DC. DC for CEDAW is a campaign to have the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) adopted into city legislatures across the National Capital Area, starting with the District of Columbia. The legislation’s primary focus requires government agencies to report gender analysis data and develop a citywide plan to ensure equality for women and girls in all arenas. Shayna, representing UNA-NCA’s DC for CEDAW Initiative, will provide a presentation on their efforts to work with coalition partners and DC City Council pass and sign CEDAW into local law. DC for CEDAW is coordinated by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), a non-profit dedicated to advancing the values and priorities of the United Nations locally and globally.

Megan Corrado, Esq, CWI’s Vice President of Global Issues, Director of Policy and Advocacy with the Alliance for Peacebuilding, and Co-Chair of the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security will provide an update on the Biden-Harris Administration’s foreign policy accomplishments and challenges related to gender over its first few months. From the creation of the White House Gender Policy Council and rescission of the “Global Gag Rule,” a devastating anti-abortion and reproductive rights policy that undermined the health and freedoms of women around the world, the Administration has made important strides in reversing the harmful policies of the last few years. However, the Administration has been slow to advance some gender laws and policies, such as the Women, Peace, and Security Act, or issue a revised USAID Gender Policy. The recent decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan will have significant implications for the tremendous strides Afghan women and girls have made over the last 20 years. Megan will review and reflect on what has and has not yet been achieved and outlined key policy priorities for the Administration to advance a feminist foreign policy.
Coffee Chat: LGBTQ+ Rights, Global to Local

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UNA-NCA on June 1, 2021 from 1:00-2:30pm for a dynamic Coffee Chat marking the first day of Pride Month. We are proud to present this program in partnership with the National LGBTQ Task Force, SMYAL,  and the United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). 

This Coffee Chat will explore the nexus of human rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) young people using the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Victor Madrigal-Borloz will contrast promising practices in several nations and human rights violations in others.  

Panelists will address LGBTQ+ youth and well-being in light of the Sustainable Development Goals related to reducing gender and racial inequalities, poverty, while ensuring well-being and education. Global, national, and local perspectives will be addressed.

This event will build on public awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 1,3,4,5,10) and their potential as a guiding framework for addressing societal needs, including enhancing the lives of LGBTQ+ youth at the global, national and local levels.  

The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area welcomes the co-sponsorship of this event with the National LGBTQ Task Force (known also as The Task Force) with its national reach, and SMYAL, with its reach to the Washington DC area. Jill Christianson, UNA-NCA Chair-Elect, will moderate the panel; her international experience includes advocacy for SDG 4 and 5, including a focus on the human rights of LGBT youth. 

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image1-1Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Independent Expert on SOGI, OHCHR-UNOG
Victor Madrigal-Borloz was appointed as UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity in late 2017. His initial three-year term started on 1 January 2018. He is the second Independent Expert to serve in this capacity. A Costa Rican jurist, Mr. Madrigal-Borloz is a senior visiting researcher at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program, in residence at Harvard Law School through 2023.

Photo_Kierra_Johnson_Kierra Johnson, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force
Kierra Johnson is the Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force.  She previously served as Deputy Executive Director, as well as a member of The Task Force’s board and on the National Action Council.  As a bisexual Black woman, Johnson is one of few out queer-identified women of color at the helm of a national LGBTQ organization.  She is a nationally recognized national expert on queer and reproductive rights.

Photo_-_Monet_UmanaMonet Umana, Community Engagement and Youth Leadership Fellow, SMYAL
Monet (she/her/hers) is a firm believer that at the root of everything there should be a reverence for Black life. In her time with SMYAL she was named Youth Leadership awardee for her work supporting LGBTQ+ youth suffering from homelessness. This award worked to support her 2020 graduation with a B.A. in Urban Studies. Currently, Monet works as the Youth Development and Community Engagement fellow at SMYAL working to create more culturally competent allies and to support Queer youth in their thriving.

Proffesional_Head_Shot_Zach Koung, It Gets Better Youth Voice, Howard County Board of Education 
Zach is an unapologetically politically involved high school senior. He currently serves as a member of the Howard County Board of Education and a Youth Voice at the It Gets Better Project. Zach ran for the Board of Education with a progressive vision and the goal of building an inclusive community for all. Recently he hosted a student voice panel at the Howard County Rainbow Conference and working with the It Gets Better Project he was able to present at SXSW EDU 21 about inclusive curriculum mandates. In the fall, Zach will attend the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. 

Presented in partnership with: 
Careers in International Environment & Climate Change
By Calypso Moschochoritis, UNA-NCA Senior Program Assistant

On May 19, 2021, the UNA-NCA Young Professionals (YP) Program hosted a virtual panel discussion on Careers in the International Environment and Climate Change fields. Part of the Young Professionals Career Series, the panel featured professional speakers working in the international relations and global development fields. The evening’s panelists came together to offer students and young professionals career advice and guidance, sharing personal stories and experiences in their particular fields.

UNA-NCA Young Professionals Program Operations Officer, Cecilia Esterline, kicked off the event by expressing the goals of the Young Professionals Career Series “to service as an opportunity [for young professionals] to speak with mid to senior-level employees within a desired field to gain their valuable insight into their chosen career paths.” She then identified the focus of the panel on careers in international environment and climate change. Finally, she introduced and thanked the three speakers of the panel, Cornelia Hartman, Eliisa Carter, and Hilary French.

Cornelia Hartman was the first panelist to be introduced. She is an Environmental Consultant with SWECO. She described her responsibilities as a consultant and explained her role in guiding clients through permit requirements, municipal planning practices, writing reports, and carrying out environmental impact assessments.

Following Ms. Hartman, Eliisa Carter introduced herself. She is a consultant for the UN Climate Change Adaptation Division. In her position, she is responsible for overviewing the overall communication efforts and vision goals that all adaptation programs have within the Adaptation Division. She also identified her organization’s overall duty to helping support the constituted bodies under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Concluding the introductions was Hilary French, Program Officer with the UN Environment Program (UNEP) North America Office. She outlined her office’s role to represent UNEP in the North America region. In her position at UNEP, Ms. French is a regional coordinator for climate change, chemical wastes, air quality, and resource efficiency.

Ms. Esterline initiated the discussion asking the panelists what prompted them to pursue a career in the environment and climate change. Ms. Hartman expressed her love for science, nature, and animals as the triggering force behind her interest in environment-related professions. Ms. Carter echoed Ms. Esterline’s interest in various topics, and she also explained that a career in the environment field was able to connect her interest in urban design with the climate crisis and environmental degradation. Ms. French was the last to answer the question and stated her family’s focus on environmental issues and her early exposure to the outdoors. This passion for the environment was met, and later combined with, her fascination with the United Nations.

As the panel’s moderator, Ms. Esterline, then asked the panelists about the hiring process and how they got where they are today in terms of finding their current jobs. Ms. Hartman explained that the hiring process for her was really quick and continued to explain that once someone has obtained their first job, the hiring process becomes easier because of the knowledge and experience accumulated. Ms. Carter’s hiring process in the climate change field started during her master’s degree program, she emphasized the importance of harnessing networks to help young professionals and students find internships in order to gain more experience. The knowledge learned during the various internships can then be used to move on to consultancy positions and other employment opportunities. Ms. French concluded this segment explaining that there were three times when she “got into the UN.” Firstly, during her UN internship during her college years, then once she graduated and became a consultant for the UN, and finally when she managed to get a staff position with the UN. This continuum and a good track record were the two aspects of her career that helped her advance through the UN.

The panel then moved onto advice helpful for audience members interested in the field. Ms. Hartman explained that it is helpful to pursue a degree within a relevant field and recommended choosing a thesis subject relevant to the field of interest as it would give people great experience when applying for jobs. She also expressed the importance of working on developing a network of professionals that can help young professionals find future positions and opportunities. Ms. Carter added onto what Ms. Hartman said and described the importance of self-analysis and understanding personal interests and skillsets that can be harnessed in future career choices. Ms. French then went on to explain the importance of a graduate degree and taking seriously school opportunities in order to land staff positions at the UN. She also expressed the importance of following passions to motivate pursuing careers in the environment and climate change.

The panel then addressed the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. All panelists have been working at home since the beginning of the pandemic. Ms. Hartman shared that she misses the social aspects of working in an office environment. She also explained that workwise the pandemic has not changed her work experience too much and that, instead, she has been able to widen her network and clientele internationally. Ms. Carter shared that with the move online prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, she noticed that people are now able to notice “intangible risks” such as pandemics and the climate change crisis that they previously had a harder time observing. Ms. French expressed that working from home has had a positive impact for her, facilitating a balance between family life and working life. From a work point of view, she also noticed improvements as we are now able to more easily work with people all over the world. She then went on to describe the pandemic as a distraction from the climate change crisis because of international negotiations being pushed back until physical meetings can be resumed.

After addressing the favorite parts of their jobs, the panelists transitioned into the Q&A section of the event. The first question was about looking into careers in the environment and climate change without the formal education or with formal education in a different field. Ms. French took the lead answering the question and explained that although it is hard to transition between fields, getting formal education can facilitate the process to build the case that the professional in question has the necessary knowledge to succeed in the field. Ms. Carter brought forward edX and Coursera as good platforms to explore different aspects of interests and complement previous formal education. The following question asked about sustainable development and how it could become part of professions in the environment. Ms. French focused on green jobs and expressed the importance of sustainable development in her field.

The Chair of the Young Professionals Program, Lanice Williams, concluded the panel by thanking the three panelists. She then went on to explain that this panel was the first one of a series of events exploring different career topics within the international relations and international development fields.
UNA-NCA Is Proud To Present The 2021 Annual Reports

UNA-NCA 2020-2021 Annual Report

Global Classrooms DC 2020-2021 Annual Report

Town Hall with Rep. Jamie Raskin
Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area, together with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area will hold a virtual Refugee Town Hall on Thursday, May 20, 2021 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm. This forum will feature speakers discussing current issues in the refugee and immigration debate, including Biden Administration actions affecting refugees and asylum seekers and their impact on national and local resettlement. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) will be honored for his leadership in Congress on refugee issues will give the congressional perspective on these issues.

Register here. 

Speakers will include:

Former Ambassador to Azerbaijan and Lithuania, Anne E. Derse, Deacon and Community Life Coordinator, St. John’s Episcopal Church Norwood Parish

The Honorable Jamie Raskin (D-MD 8th), member of the House Committee on the Judiciary Committee

Kristyn Peck, CEO, Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA)

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)

Dr. Mamadou Sy, VP of Operations, Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA)

Paula Boland, Esq., President and CEO, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA)
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