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15 June 2017
2017 Annual Membership Meeting
image_15On June 8 2017, over 100 members and supporters of UNA-NCA met at the United Nations Foundation Headquarters for the 2017 Annual Membership Meeting to celebrate the year’s accomplishments and to recognize its outstanding chapter leaders and volunteers. Keynote speaker Robert Skinner, Director of The United Nations Information Center (UNIC) in Washington, DC, spoke on “Advocating for a Strong US-UN Partnership in Challenging Times.” Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Ret.) presented the 2016-2017 Annual Report, thanked outgoing Board members, and passed the Presidential gavel to incoming President Stephen F. Moseley. Four awards were proudly presented to exceptional chapter leaders, including the first-ever Edison W. Dick Advocacy Leadership Award.

Outgoing President, Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret.), opened the Annual Meeting, framing the focus on the years’ transition. The transition in welcoming a new UNA-NCA board, a new US President, and a new UN Secretary-General, all within the course of a few short months. He discussed President Trump’s mention of leaving parts of the United Nations, and reiterated the importance of the organization’s mission and re-tripling our efforts of advocacy. The importance of civil society in advocating for a strong US-UN partnership is greater than ever, and our work must continue in suit.

image_8Ambassador Bliss welcomed the Honorable Constance (Connie) A. Morella, to announce Edison W. Dick as the inaugural recipient of the UNA-NCA Edison W. Dick Advocacy Leadership Award for his service as the founding chair of the Advocacy Committee of the former UNA-USA Board of Directors, and as an active member of the UNA-NCA Advocacy Committee. Advocacy has assumed an ever-increasing importance in the work of UNA-USA across the country. Building on this award, UNA-NCA is committed to strengthening and expanding its advocacy work into its program committees and developing tools and training materials to engage its members actively in advocacy for a strong US-UN partnership.
Read Full Remarks Here    

image_4_copyAmbassador Bliss then welcomed keynote speaker Robert Skinner who underscored the challenges United Nations peacekeeping operations face today. Skinner emphasized the historical reliability of US leadership at the United Nations and challenged members to consider the history of US-UN relations, to see that issues cannot be solved without diplomacy and support of the United Nations, and to understand that US-UN relations are critical. Themes of maintaining hope through civil society emerged as well as fueling the desire to speak out. Skinner cited the Paris Accord as an example, with hashtags like #WeAreStillIn as beacons of hope that the people will be heard, with over a thousand businesses, governors, and advocates pledging to stick with the Accord. Skinner concluded with a call to continue speaking out — “And I emphasize that word PEOPLES, as the preamble of the UN Charter begins not with ‘we the governments’ or ‘we the nations’ but meaningfully with WE the PEOPLES.  And, if there was ever a time for the voices of the people to be heard – all of our voices – it is now.” 
Read Full Remarks Here

Ambassador Bliss again took to the podium to briefly present the 2016-2017 UNA-NCA Annual Report put together by the UNA-NCA staff, which featured some of the key events, programs, and crucial people and partners that made the year the success it was. He showed pride that 49% of the members were under forty years old, and that the organization successfully reached out to 48 schools, including Title I Schools though its flagship education program Global Classrooms DC.  His only qualm with the publication: there were not enough pictures of himself.
View the Annual Report Here

Former UNA-NCA President and Chair of this year’s Nominating Committee, Karen Mulhauser, presented the results of the 2017 Board Election. The elected officers include:

Vice President of Advocacy: Lyric Thompson

Vice President of Communications: Sandra Coburn

Vice President of Development: Timothy Barner

Vice President of Finance and Treasurer: Scott Stiends 

Vice President of Programs: Christina Hansen

Vice President of Young Professionals: Laura Blyler

The 2017 Directors-at-Large include: Diane Adams, Patricia Beneke, Dawn T. Calabia, Heather Lane Chauny, Renee Dopplick, Michael R. Marsh, Michael Onyemelukwe, Ambassador Lynn Pascoe, Richard Ponzio, and Ambassador Osman Siddique.

Bradley Wiggins from The George Washington University was elected to serve as the Student Representative. UNA-NCA would like to thank the outgoing Board members for their exceptional service, including Thomas Bradley, Kristen Cheriegate, Kasara Davidson, Vanessa Francis, Melissa Kaplan, Jessica Mueller, and Jesse Nickelson.

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Three additional awards were presented throughout the evening. Newly elected President Stephen F. Moseley presented the Arthur W. Johnson Award to Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret.), former President of the UNA-NCA, for his exemplary leadership and commitment to the work of the United Nations. Ambassador Bliss was touched by the remarks given in his honor and expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to serve UNA-NCA. He reaffirmed his commitment to staying actively engaged in the work of the chapter, particularly in the area of UN strengthening and reform.  

IMG_2270Former UNA-NCA President, Edward Elmendorf presented the Evelyn Falkowski Volunteer Service Award to Patrick Realiza, Chair of the UNA-NCA Sustainable Development Committee and Co-Chair of the UNA-NCA Communications Committee, for his outstanding volunteer service and commitment to the work of the United Nations.

IMG_2307Roger Griffis presented the final award - the Richard and Anne Griffis Program Leadership Award to UNA-NCA's flagship program, Global Classrooms DC. Led by Director of Global Education, Megan Penn, the program was recognized for bringing access to global education and critical skills to thousands of middle and high school students in the DC metropolitan area.

The Annual Meeting concluded with remarks from UNA-NCA Executive Director, Paula Boland. Ms. Boland reiterated the importance of UNA-NCA’s mission during these challenging times because real effective change happens here, at home, using Eleanor Roosevelt’s words ‘It starts in your backyard.’ She encouraged members to keep mentoring, educating, and empowering. 

The Annual Meeting was followed by a festive reception in which the diverse members of UNA-NCA enjoyed one another’s company: mingling, discussing current events, and sharing their experiences with the organization. 

It was a pleasure to see so many dedicated members attend UNA-NCA's Annual Meeting. Special thanks to the United Nations Foundation for providing the excellent venue downtown, and to the United Nations Association of the USA for their organizational and logistical support. 

The Annual Meeting was followed by UNA-USA National Council meetings and the largest UNA-USA Leadership Summit,  which culminated with the historic day on the hill, with over 300 members visiting their congressional representatives. UNA-NCA members met with Maryland, Virginia and DC representatives. More to follow next week!
 

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