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24 October 2017
2017 UN Day Celebration Through Advocacy on Capitol Hill
On October 24th and 25th, a UNA-NCA delegation of board members, past presidents, staff, interns, and volunteers advocated on Capitol Hill in celebration of the 72nd Anniversary of the United Nations. Serving Northern Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. the UNA-NCA delegation met with Representatives, Senators, and their staffs from those districts, speaking in regards to strengthening the U.S.-UN partnerships, the UN budget, and UN reform.

Speaking with Congressman Donald Beyer’s (D-VA-8) office, they emphasized the critical impact that group advocacy has on the positive influence of the UN. As a medical doctor, Congressman Andy Harris’ (R-MD-1) office shared with UNA-NCA their focus on global health issues and the affect it has on the international community. Congressman Harris has a strong background in the medical field and serves on the Doctors Caucus.

As an advocate for social justice, poverty, and education, Congressman Elijah Cummings’ (D-MD-7) staff stressed the importance of spending on and promoting pro-active efforts towards creating stability on a local and global scale. In a meeting with the House Democratic Whip’s Office, Congressman Steny Hoyer’s (D-MD-5) National Security Advisor championed an increase in a strong multilateral platform and engaging in an open dialogue. UN reform was discussed and the importance for the UN Secretary-General and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to take part in the process for greatest impact.

As a supporter of CEDAW, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and UNA-NCA President Steve Moseley discussed the deep concerns of the U.S. leaving UNESCO and removing the UN budget, as well as the necessity for the U.S. to support and remain an ally to the UN.

Consistently a strgon supporter of human rights, Senator Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) National Security and Foreign Affairs Advisor spoke with our delegation on the importance of support from all corners of the Hill and working with the UN to implement the SDGs on a local level. Senator Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) office spoke with us about the importance of educating, engaging, and informing congressional policy leaders in regards to UN work and the effective work the UN has done. We spoke again about the importance of UN reform in being supportive of UNESCO and advocating for American values.

Congressman Gerry Connolly’s (D-VA-11) office spoke with UNA-NCA about the need for greater funding and aid to the Burma/Rohingya crisis.  To a greater point, there needs to be a reorganization of and greater attention to international issues in the presidential agenda through more specific and substance based dialogue. As an advocate who places focus on the importance of natural resources, Congressman Anthony Brown (D-MD-4) supports the international affairs budget and USAID sharing that he strongly believes in the intersectionality of development and security.

Senator Mark Warner’s (D-VA) office and UNA-NCA spoke about supporting UN missions, the State Department and foreign relations, especially by encouraging greater ground exposure. Having an increase in global cooperation and UN reform was also discussed in regards to the need for things to be done and improved. Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD-8) is an advocate on key issues such as: government, children, international affairs, human rights, and gender equality. When speaking with his office, we continued the conversation on implementing the Global Goals locally for the people of Maryland in order for people to gain better knowledge of the UN and the positive impact it can have on the American people. The UN budget was discussed among the staffers for the Congressmen and Senators, showing general consensus that there will be a strong need for more advocacy on the budget from the American people and hoping to have the future budget similar to FY17.

Our day on Capitol Hill meeting with Senators, Members of Congress, and their staffs’ was an impactful, effective way to not only raise awareness about the UN, but also highlight the local grassroots energy for it while celebrating the seventy-two years of impact that the UN has had globally.