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25 February 2021

UNA-NCA Coffee Chat: Global Health Challenges

On Thursday, February 25th from 1:00-2:00pm ET, join UNA-NCA for the latest installment of our Coffee Chat Series. 

We've explored through this series how COVID among other factors are impacting facets of sustainable development, from poverty, hunger, housing, to innovation. This discussion on Global Health Challenges will look specifically to how COVID is impacting other longstanding or emergent health challenges.

Will the global pandemic response ultimately serve as a positive model and allow us to mitigate the harm of future crises? Has it raised public consciousness of the importance of proactive, well-funded and coordinated health interventions? Or has COVID been too great a setback in the broader scheme of vaccinations, or in managing preventable illnesses worldwide?  

Launched in 2020, UNA-NCA's Coffee Chat series has brought together the foremost leadership on sustainable development  alongside hundreds of participants from around the world. Together, we engage with the most pressing challenges of our time, identifying our shared goals and new opportunities for collaboration. Dynamic and genuine, Coffee Chats offer participants unprecedented access to high-profile decision-makers from across sectors. 
Register here.

Dr. Roopa Dhatt, Executive Director of Women in Global Health
Dr. Roopa Dhatt is a passionate advocate for gender equality in global health and a leading voice in the movement to correct the gender imbalance in global health leadership. She is also a practicing Internal Medicine physician in Washington, D.C. Dr. Dhatt is particularly committed to addressing issues of power, privilege, and intersectionality that keep many women from global health leadership roles and to opening up spaces for the voices of these women to be heard. Determined to build a movement to transform women’s leadership opportunities in health, Dr. Dhatt co-founded Women in Global Health in 2015. Today, Women in Global Health has more than 24+ chapters, 35,000 supporters in more than 90 countries, and continues to grow. She advises the WHO on matters of the health workforce, gender equity, and universal health coverage. Dr. Dhatt was recognized in the Gender Equality Top 100, the most influential people in global policy 2019.

Mark P. Lagon, Chief Policy Officer at Friends of the Global Fight 

Mark P. Lagon is Chief Policy Officer at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as Distinguished Senior Scholar in the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He was Centennial Fellow in the SFS 2016-2017. Previously he was President of Freedom House. Lagon served as the Executive Director and CEO of the leading anti-human trafficking nonprofit, Polaris Project, which operates the U.S. Government's national anti-trafficking hotline. From 2007 to 2009, he served as Ambassador-At-Large, directing the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) at the U.S. Department of State.

From 2004 to 2007, Lagon served in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs at the U.S. Department of State as Deputy Assistant Secretary. In this capacity, he had lead responsibility for United Nations-related human rights and humanitarian issues, UN reform, and outreach. Lagon previously served as a member of the Secretary of State Colin Powell's Policy Planning Staff, where he focused on UN, democracy and human rights (2002-2004). Dr. Lagon is a Founding Board Member of the Global Business Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking (gbcat.org), which includes as members Carlson, Coca Cola, Delta Airlines, Google, LexisNexis, and Microsoft. He is on the Board of Foreign Policy for America, founded by MSFS alumni. He on Advisory Boards of the Center for Victims of Torture, UN Watch, and ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking). 

Sarah Craven, Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Washington D.C.
A policy advocate and attorney with experience in global health and human rights, Sarah Craven currently serves as the Director of the Washington Office of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. In this role, Ms. Craven advocates for UNFPA's mandate which envisions a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person can live to their full potential. Ms. Craven has worked on advocacy campaigns focused on empowering women and girls and ending harmful traditional practices including child marriage and female genital mutilation. Prior to her work at UNFPA, she held positions at the U.S. Department of State and on the legislative staff to U.S. Senators Tim Wirth of Colorado and Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii. She served as policy advisor to CEDPA during the 1994 International Conference on Population and the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. She holds a B.A. from Macalester College, a M.Phil from Cambridge University (UK) and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar. In 2010, she was named one of Macalester College’s Distinguished Citizens.  

Mike Beard, Global Health Director at Better World Campaign
Mike Beard is the Global Health Director for the Better World Campaign. In these roles, Mike directs BWC’s global health initiatives and the advocacy portfolio of the UN Foundation’s signature campaigns, including Nothing But Nets, Shot@Life, Girl Up, and the Universal Access Project. Over the past eight years at the Foundation, his portfolio has included malaria and global immunization programs, girl’s empowerment, women and girls’ health issues, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Through these campaigns, the team has seen unprecedented support for United Nations and its activities in Congress and in the Administration.

From funding for the UN through appropriations bills to securing bipartisan support for the passage of the Girls Count Act of 2015, Mike and his team have achieved several major legislative successes. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2009, Mike worked for five years under Congresswoman Jackie Speier and the late Congressman Tom Lantos on both his personal and Foreign Affairs Committee staffs. Mike holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.

09 February 2021

New Year, New Opportunities: Engage with UNA-NCA

Looking for ways in the New Year to build connections, engage on topics you care about, and develop as a professional? Please join UNA-NCA’s VC of Membership and Volunteer Engagement Kristen Hecht on Tuesday, February 9 from 12-12:30 pm ET for a 30-minute webinar on current and upcoming opportunities to engage on UN topics at the local and national levels. Following the webinar, you’re invited to join us for an optional ~15 minute meet & greet, where you’ll hear personal stories from UNA-NCA members and connect with others on the call. This webinar is open to members and nonmembers alike who are interested in learning more about UNA-NCA and ways to (re)engage in the chapter.

This event will feature a special panel of individuals sharing their Member Journeys!

Kristen Hecht, UNA-NCA Vice Chair of Membership and Volunteer Engagement, Board of Directors
Destiny Clements, Program Associate, American Academy of Diplomacy
Lydia Daniels, International Consultant
Radia Mbengue, Research Consultant, Femme Africa Solidarité
Ian Sloan, Paralegal and Project Manager, Jackson & Associates Law Firm, LLC

When: Tuesday, February 9, 12:00 - 12:45 pm ET
Where: Online
Cost: Free, but registration is required

Register Here!

02 February 2021

UNA-NCA Coffee Chats Present Interfaith Harmony Week: Building Peace

Join UNA-NCA on Tuesday, February 2 from 1:00-2:00pm ET for our first Coffee Chat of the year, honoring United Nations' Interfaith Harmony Week by exploring how inter-religious engagement is building and sustaining peace. 

Register here. Stay tuned for speaker details from across the UN, US Department of State, and more.

Invited Experts: 

James Alexander, Policy Advisor at US Dept of State
James Alexander is a Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom Strategic Religious Engagement Unit, where he carries a broadly defined education and outreach portfolio. He previously oversaw a team monitoring the program quality of international exchange visitors. James has evaluated exchange programs and assessed overseas U.S. public diplomacy programs, with a prior stint collecting and analyzing post-Soviet public opinion data. James is a former tenured professor at Northeastern State University (OK) with numerous publications on Post-Soviet politics, having studied and conducted research in Russia’s western regions. James built water systems as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Ecuador in the late 1980s. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, he has an MA and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Palwasha L. Kakar, Acting Director of Religion and Inclusive Societies at USIP 
Palwasha L. Kakar is the Acting Director for religion and inclusive societies at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Kakar joined USIP after four years with The Asia Foundation where she was the Afghanistan director for Women’s Empowerment and Development. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kakar led the Gender Mainstreaming and Civil Society Unit in the United Nation Development Program's Afghanistan Subnational Governance Program managing a small grants program for Afghanistan's civil society initiatives. An Afghan-American, she has experience teaching and researching religion, gender, security and local governance. Kakar has published research regarding women’s participation in local governance, Pashtunwali-Afghan customary law, Afghan women's identity, and social spaces in Afghanistan. Her research has taken her to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Syria. She earned a Master's degree focusing on gender, politics and religion from Harvard University’s Divinity School and a Bachelor's degree in Religion and Global Studies focusing on peace and conflict from Bethel College in North Newton, KS.

Katherine Marshall, Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue and Senior Fellow at Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
Katherine Marshall has worked for almost four decades on international development, with a focus on issues facing the world’s poorest countries. She is a senior fellow at Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Professor of the Practice of Development, Conflict, and Religion in the School of Foreign Service. Her long career with the World Bank (1971-2006) involved a wide range of leadership assignments, many focused on Africa. From 2000-2006 her mandate covered ethics, values, and faith in development work, as counselor to the World Bank’s President. She was Country Director in the World Bank’s Africa region, first for the Sahel region, then Southern Africa. She then led the Bank's work on social policy and governance during the East Asia crisis years. She worked extensively on Eastern Africa and Latin America. Ms. Marshall has been closely engaged in the creation and development of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and is its Executive Director. She serves or has served on the Boards of several NGOs and advisory groups, including AVINA Americas, The International Shinto Foundation, the Niwano Peace Prize International Selection Committee, and the Opus Prize Foundation. She was part of the founding members of IDEA (International Development Ethics Association) and is part of the International Anti-Corruption Advisory Conference (IACC) advisory council. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Saurav Upadhyay, Research Manager at Alliance for Peacebuilding 
Saurav Upadhyay is currently the Research Manager - Learning & Evaluation for Inter-religious Peacebuilding at the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP). Having grown up in Nepal in the midst of a civil war, he is driven by the desire to examine and address root causes of conflict. He was previously a Fellow at the American Friends Service Committee, where he worked on designing and implementing M&E framework and tools that help capture processes and results of peacebuilding and dialogue programs. Saurav strives to make evaluations more inclusive, accessible, and participatory. He truly believes in the power of participatory pedagogy and collaborative learning and is constantly striving to incorporate these ideas into evaluations. He organizes and facilitates learning and training events to promote peacebuilding best practices across the organization and helps create strategies to promote peacebuilding writ large. He is currently based in Philadelphia, PA.

17 December 2020

Walking For Freedom: A Deep Look into the Venezuelan Humanitarian Crisis

The UNA-NCA Sustainable Development Committee in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will present a documentary and discussion about the Venezuelan migration crisis.
More than 4 million Venezuelans are living outside of Venezuela as of June of 2019. That number is set to soar to 5.3 million by the end of the year which translates to 5,000 people fleeing each day. Venezuela is home to one of the countries with the biggest emigrant population in the hemisphere, this is why Walking for Freedom, a documentary, immerses the viewer to what the migrants go through. From walking through the Simon Bolivar International Bridge that links Venezuela and Colombia, to passing through perilous “trocha” routes, all migrants face obstacles on the way. This event and panel will portray the life of those who take part in this risky odyssey as well as bring awareness in the community.

When: Tuesday, December 17, 5:00 - 7:00pm
Where: Zoom
Cost: Free, but registration is required

Register Here

10 December 2020

2020 Human Rights Awards


Each year, UNA-NCA commemorates the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a celebratory event. 

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the 72nd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNA-NCA will recognize individuals and organizations working to improve human rights in their communities and around the world.


This year, we are excited to partner with Bathsheba Smithen and Cage Free Voices for a spoken word performance with musical accompaniment during the event!  You can learn more about their work here.

Register Here

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

4:30pm to 6:30pm

The 2020 Honorees are:

Louis B. Sohn Award:
Dean Claudio Grossman
Professor and Dean Emeritus, American University Washington College of Law

Perdita Huston Award
Professor Susan Deller Ross
Director, International Women's Human Rights Clinic, Georgetown Law

F. Allen “Tex” Harris Diplomacy Award
Erin Barclay & Scott Busby
U.S. Department of State

Community Human Rights Award
People for Fairness Coalition DC-Based non-profit working to end housing instability 



Register Here
Registration ends at 11:59 pm on 12/9

Contact our President, Paula Boland, at paula@unanca.org with any questions about sponsorship and tributes.

10 December 2020

Performance by Cage Free Voices of Greatness is Served

10 December 2020

Performance by Cage Free Voices of Righteous Ones

10 December 2020

2020 Human Rights Awards Sponsors

Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Circle

Human Rights Champion
The Ross/Herman Family


Human Rights Leader
A. Edward Elmendorf
Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret.)
Roger Griffis
Stephen Moseley

Human Rights Partner

Sultana Ali
M. Alexandra Arriaga
Kristen Barclay
Tim Barner and Kathy Guthrie
Kit Bigelow
Valerie S. Busby
Billie Ann Day
Bailey Dinman
Nancy Donaldson
Renee Dopplick
Judy Edstrom
Ambassador Keith Harper
Heather Hill
Jordan Hibbs
Emma Coleman Jordan
Markley Roberts
Ezra D. Rosenberg
Bob Schott
Richard Seifman
Nancy E Stanley
William Treanor


Human Rights Supporter
Robert Berg and Vivian Derrick
Edith Brown Weiss
Jill Christianson
Dawn Calabia
Edison W. Dick
Pebbles Daez
Felice Gaer
Lori Kaplan
Mark H Kulkowitz
Ellen McGovern
Sultana Miller
Karen Mulhauser
Theodore Piccone
Lutz Prager and Pat Lark
Carolyn Osolinik
Wendy Webster Williams
Uzra Zeya
George Mason University Business for a Better World Center 
George Mason University Center for International Education



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