Performance by Cage Free Voices of Greatness is Served

Happy Holidays from UNA-NCA

As 2020 draws to a close, we reflect with gratitude on the many lessons learned and are hopeful for what lies ahead. 

This has been an unprecedented year full of challenges and hardships for everyone. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop UNA-NCA from being there for its members and supporters, and it didn’t stop our leaders and staff from pushing through and overcoming obstacles to succeed.

We were tested, perhaps like never before, and through it all we've been reminded of our strength and resolve. In record time, we successfully transitioned our programming to virtual platforms, significantly increasing our outreach and visibility within and beyond our jurisdiction.

This year:

  • UNA-NCA enhanced its digital advocacy capabilities during the pandemic and conducted several virtual meetings with legislators. Over 800 people were engaged in the new “Coffee Chat” series that brought together corporate leaders, policy experts, and UNA-NCA members to explore the SDGs in a virtual roundtable format. Snapshots was introduced with significant blog contributions, policy briefs and SDG spotlights. See more here
  • UNA-NCA’s Global Classrooms DC program adapted its curriculum for online learning, conducted monthly virtual Model UN committee sessions, renewed its partnership collaborations and executed an entirely virtual training conference engaging over 130 participants on the topic of access to vaccines and affordable medicines. See more here
  • UNA-NCA’s Young Professionals Program offered virtual career and mentoring opportunities, and the Graduate Fellows Program grown significantly both in its demand and participation as well as the quality of the program’s offerings.
  • To mark the UN’s 75th anniversary, UNA-NCA held public consultations on how the UN must evolve to meet today’s challenges. A UN75 Consultation Report was submitted to the UN Secretary-General for review during the United Nations General Assembly. Two high level programs on the future of the UN and the SDGs took place in October, involving members of congress, diplomats and UN leaders.  
  • Our recent Human Rights Awards was a resounding success, celebrating inspiring human rights leaders and reaching a record number of participants and sponsors. You can watch the video here

I am amazed not only at how much we have been able to accomplish but at the solidarity, compassion, and resilience demonstrated through the adversity of 2020. We have endured much, taken on more than we may have thought possible, and held our heads high through it all. 

On behalf of everyone at UNA-NCA, I wish you and your loved ones a safe and peaceful holiday season and New Year.

With much appreciation,
Paula Boland
UN Association of the National Capital Area

Consider supporting UNA-NCA this holiday season. DONATE HERE!
The Future of Multilateral Peacebuilding
A Conversation with U.N. Undersecretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo

In an era of rapid technological change and fraying traditional alliances, the international order that has overseen one of the most peaceful periods in human history is facing unprecedented challenges. While member states grapple with the utility and relevance of the United Nations in the 21st century, global fragility, conflict, and violence continue to escalate—exacting an enormous human toll. The imperative for collective global action to resolve the world’s most intractable conflicts has never been greater.

In light of these trends, it’s critical that the community of actors committed to global peace and security take stock of the successes, challenges, and innovations in multilateral conflict prevention, mediation, and peacebuilding. 

Join USIP, The Stimson Center, Alliance for Peacebuilding, and the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area for a timely discussion on the future of the multilateral system and the potential for practical, innovative reform with U.N. Undersecretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, the highest-ranking American currently serving at the United Nations and the first woman to hold the position. As a precursor to the U.N.’s 75th anniversary in 2020, this event will consider how the U.N. has modernized its conflict prevention and management resources to address the changing nature of conflict; how reforms of the U.N.’s political and peacebuilding architecture have improved its effectiveness, as well as what steps are still needed; and what practical actions U.S. and international policymakers can take to support more durable multilateral peacebuilding efforts.

Where: U.S. Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
Cost: Free, but registration is required

Register here!


9:30am – 10:00am: Refreshments

10:00am – 10:10am: Welcome Remarks and Introduction by The Honorable Nancy Lindborg, President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

10:10am – 10:30am: Keynote Address by  Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, Undersecretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, United Nations

10:30am – 11:50am: Facilitated Panel Discussion with Undersecretary-General DiCarlo, featuring:
  • Ambassador George Moose (moderator), Vice Chairman of the Board, U.S. Institute of Peace; Advisory Council Member, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area
  • Ms. Victoria Holt, Vice President, Stimson Center
  • The Honorable Nancy Lindborg, moderator, President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Ms. Uzra Zeya, President & CEO, Alliance for Peacebuilding
    • Ambassador Lynn Pascoe, Board Member, UNA-NCA; Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Politial Affairs

    11:50am – 12:00pm: Closing Remarks
    Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo
    • Undersecretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, United Nations

      Register here!
    Global Classrooms DC: Year in Review

    Curious what GCDC has done to transition Model UN programs online in 2020? Check out major highlights below!

    Virtual Programming

    Although the Spring 2020 Model UN Conference was cancelled, the GCDC team quickly transitioned to an online model in March. We quickly began offering virtual Model UN committee sessions using topics meant for the Spring Conference, as well as a Professional Development session for our educators. In addition to translating our Model UN programming virtually, we also adapted the entire year-round program in the summer so that it could be facilitated virtually, including distance learning guidance for all activities and a guide for conducting Model UN on a virtual platform. 

    Monthly Virtual Model UN Sessions

    Beginning in September, the GCDC team held monthly 1 hour virtual Model UN sessions centered around the mini Model UN simulations included in the GCDC Year-Round curriculum. Over the course of 4 months, GCDC executed 5 virtual sessions for schools signed up for the program, as well as workshops with individual schools, with a total attendance of 96 students across all 5 sessions. Each session focused on critical skills necessary for success in Model UN, including an overview of Model UN basics and a deep dive into public speaking. We also brought UN experts directly to virtual classrooms and held a session in partnership with the International Labour Organization focused on this year’s Spring Conference topic on Occupational Safety & Health.

    Of the 51 students surveyed across the 5 sessions, 96% reported that they would like to attend another Virtual Model UN session. We look forward to the sessions we have prepared for the spring, including a webinar with the International Organization for Migration!

    Fall 2020 Model UN Training Conference

    The GCDC team successfully held our annual Fall Model UN Training Conference virtually for the first time! Over the course of three committees, 125 students from 11 schools debated issues related to the topic of  “Access to Vaccines and Affordable Medicines.” This year’s conference also featured a special-edition crisis committee, where delegates were faced with an Ebola outbreak. As a result of the conference, of the 94 students surveyed, 92% reported having a better understanding of the conference while 79% felt more confident applying problem solving and leadership skills in a group setting. Read more about the Fall 2020 Model UN Training Conference here.

    Planning for the Spring

    Despite the challenges that 2020 has brought to the program, we are impressed by the resilience of our students, educators, and parents. Looking into Spring 2021, the GCDC team is currently planning our annual Spring 2021 Model UN Conference, virtual Model UN sessions and webinars, and a Professional Development with Best Delegate. We look forward to working with you all in the Spring. Whether it be hybrid or virtual, we are ready for 2021!

    Want to learn more about Model UN? Watch our Intro to Model UN webinar here.

    Interested in GCDC? Learn more about the program here.

    Stay connected with GCDC! 


    UNA-NCA Hosts Successful Virtual Human Rights Awards
    By Danielle Black, UNA-NCA Program Assistant

    On the evening of Thursday, December 10th, 2020, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) hosted its first virtual Human Rights Awards program, an event put forth annually to commemorate the anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In honor of the 72nd anniversary of the adoption of this milestone document, UNA-NCA recognized individuals and organizations working to improve human rights in the DC community and around the world. This year’s honorees were: Dean Claudio Grossman, recipient of the Louis B. Sohn Human Rights Award; Professor Susan Deller Ross, receiving the Perdita Huston Human Rights Award;  Erin Barclay & Scott Busby, receiving the F. Allen “Tex” Harris Diplomacy Award; and the People for Fairness Coalition, receiving the Community Human Rights Award.  In addition to the award recipients, the event included notable presenters such as the President of the International Law Student Association at the Washington College of Law at American University, Jaclyn Lahr; former Supervising Attorney & Teaching Fellow at the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at Georgetown Law, Michelle Liu; Ambassador Keith Harper (Ret), former U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council; and Executive Director of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Patricia Mullahy Fugere. The evening also included wonderful performances from Cage Free Voices.  Cage Free Voices is an international multi-service educational entertainment company that educates youth and young adults who struggle with self-image by way of constructing powerful learning experiences.

    UNA-NCA Board Chair, Stephen F. Moseley, kicked off the program with welcome remarks. Moseley talked about the future Biden-Harris Administration needing “to start the process of re-engaging the United States in the Human Rights Council and to help people seeking asylum and protect them from attacks on their human rights.”  He then introduced UNA-NCA PresidentPaula Bolandwho started off by saying: “the UDHR is a milestone document that entails the inalienable rights that all human beings are entitled to, today we acknowledge the importance of this document and human rights.” She then continued on to say “we need to create equal opportunities for all, highlight the failures exploited by the Covid-19 pandemic and apply human rights to end systematic discrimination, corruption, and inequalities.” 

    Following Boland’s remarks, we heard from the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres who remarked upon the various human rights violations that the Covid-19 Pandemic has impacted upon different endangered communities including “frontline workers, women and girls, and minorities.” Next, Michele Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights declared, “Human Rights Day is a call to action and we must end discrimination of any kind, reduce widespread inequalities, encourage young people to participate and finally to work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and stand up for human rights.”

    After messages from UN Leadership, UNA-NCA presented the first award of the evening to Dean Claudio Grossman, Professor and Dean Emeritus at the American University Washington College of Law. Grossman said upon receiving the award that “Covid-19 has been a tragic reminder of the need for equality because Covid effects us all, we need then together to unite forces to avoid and prevent other challenges that we are facing in the future and now, such as climate change, discrimination, and authoritarianism.”

    The Perdita Huston award was presented to Professor Susan Deller Ross, who is the Director of the  International Women's Human Rights Clinic at Georgetown Law. She spoke about her efforts to help “develop legislation and human rights reports to persuade parliament to get rid of old laws and enact new ones that do not discriminate against women.”  She was presented the award by her former student, now friend and colleague, Michelle Liu. This award was followed by a moving and passionate spoken word piece by Cage Free Voices titled “The Righteous Ones” that paid tribute to and spoke about the evening’s honorees along with the namesakes of the awards. 

    The presentation of the F. Allen “Tex” Harris Diplomacy Award was awarded to Erin Barclay and Scott Busby of the U.S. Department of State. The presentation of this award was preceded by a tribute to Tex Harris, who passed earlier this year. Past President Ed Elmendorf described him as an “advocate for human rights in Argentina and a wonderful family man.” After receiving the award, Barclay, who serves as the Executive Director of the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the U.S. Department of State shared that “Pursuing human rights isn’t just the right thing to do: it protects America and sets a precedent. When the U.S. talks about human rights, other countries pay attention and strive towards better human rights.” Scott Busby, who serves as the Acting Principal Deputy Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State followed Barclay echoing her thoughts and adding “Harris’s foreign policy work still influences all those who are American diplomats, it not only puts people in the center of foreign policy but also has a dedication of speaking truth to power and an unwavering devotion of justice and fairness whether it is our own diplomats or people overseas.” 

    The final award of the night was presented to the Community Award to People for Fairness Coalition, accepted by its Director, Robert Warren. He spoke about the plight of the homeless population of Washington, DC and their work to help end homelessness. Warren spoke about the coalition and their “work in support of the most vulnerable residents of DC.  It is hard work and we try and do it with dignity and respect for all.” The night wrapped up with remarks from UNA-NCA Human Rights Committee Co-Chair Rachel Bergseiker who was followed by Cage Free Voices’ second performance, a spoken word piece entitled “Greatness is Served.”

    Special thanks were conveyed to UNA-NCA’s Human Rights Committee, leadership, staff and to our generous sponsors and donors who made this a great celebration of Human Rights Day.
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