January 22, 2024
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Humbling is the best way to characterize your observations. The achievements you describe are not mine but ours together.

And it is now time for you, individually and collectively, to carry them into the future of an ever more sustainable UN Association of the National Capital Area.

What has my long association with the United Nations and the UNA meant to me?

First, through the UN and UNA I have sustained a multi-generational family commitment to international organization. The League of Nations and the potential of a world governed by international law were dinner table topics during my childhood. My father was as an advocate for an international body even before FDR and Winston Churchill started using the term ‘United Nations’ to describe the Allies. Plus, a few years ago my wife Sue received a message contained in a time capsule from her elementary school buried many years ago by her school, the well-known Laboratory School of the University of Chicago. The time capsule was opened on its 50th anniversary. The time capsule contained a short essay written more than 60 years ago by my wife Sue on the importance of the United Nations!

Second, in the mid and late 1960s, at the US Mission to the UN and the UN Secretariat, in NYC I enjoyed unique responsibilities on the UN and human rights – as Executive Officer for the US Delegation in the UNGA Third Committee when the Human Rights Covenants were adopted and the post of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was but a dream. And I served in the Secretariat at the center of the UN system – promoting change for improvements in cooperation among UN agencies from a post in the UN Secretariat. The UN was perceived to be an important player on the world stage then, at least by this young official, much more important then on the world stage than it is now. So, I seek to continue and enhance the United Nations on the world stage today through volunteer activities. These actions touch my peers and young people through such engagements as the UNA Graduate Fellows Program.

Third, the United Nations has long been my personal best hope for a better world, in the face of the multiple tragedies and global challenges that confront us every day. Always needing reform for greater efficiency and effectiveness, the UN - in all its expressions - represents an always needed third party, from the Security Council dominated by major states through the Human Rights Council and its expert bodies, the IAEA inspecting nuclear facilities for country respect for the Non-Proliferation Agreement, the OCHA at the center of every humanitarian crisis that breaks out, and the UN Secretary-General, sometimes seeming to be a voice in the wilderness but endeavoring to articulate proposals in the interest of our common humanity and ready to provide both public and private good offices for disputes around the world.

Fourth and finally, through the UN Association I have had opportunities not only to engage on UN and US government and local policies and programs but to come to know and to collaborate with colleagues who share my values in and for the United Nations. These collaborations have enriched my life. They have kept me engaged mentally in the world around me at a time of life when many pull back. They have led to friendships that I cherish and hope to be able to deepen from many miles away. So, as I look around this room, my final words are simply to say Farewell and Thank You!

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