November 12, 2020
This October, the United Nations celebrated its 75th anniversary. Over the past year, the United Nations, United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA), and the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) have both celebrated and examined the first 75 years of the organization in order to better understand what the next 75 years should look like. One major part of this were the global consultations hosted by private citizens, civil society, and other groups, which UNA-NCA took great part in. As the grand finale of this monumental year, UNA-NCA hosted a series of events to further celebrate and examine the future of the UN. These included more casual, intimate gatherings such as our annual Eleanor Roosevelt Happy Hour and a virtual edition of our Young Professional Career Series featuring Careers in the United Nations. UNA-NCA also hosted two high profile events including our special October 15th “UN75 Coffee Chat: The Future We Want” featuring Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD-8).

As the zenith of our UN75 celebrations, UNA-NCA recently hosted the last installment of our celebration of United Nations Month 2020 entitled “UN at 75: Past. Present. Progress. Building The Future We Want.” The event took place virtually, featuring Keynote Remarks by Ms. Ulrika Modéer, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy at the United Nations Development Program. Following her remarks, Ms. Modeéer engaged in an expert discussion with Dr. Robert Orr, Dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Change, that was moderated by UNA-NCA President Paula Boland. Also included in the celebration, was the presentation of the 2020 UNA-NCA Edison Dick Advocacy Award to The Honorable Barbara Lee, Congresswoman for the 13th District of California.

The evening began with remarks from UNA-NCA Chair of the board Stephen F. Moseley. Moseley introduced the event and spoke on the miraculous activities that not only the United Nations has accomplished over the past 75 years and the hope that it continues, but also the amazing activities that UNA-NCA does every day. Following Moseley’s remarks, there was a video presentation from the Secretary- General of the United Nations, António Guterres. The Secretary-General commended all the work the United Nations Association has done and called for “International cooperation from all countries for the next 75 years.” This was followed by the presentation of the Edison W. Dick Advocacy Leadership Award to The Honorable Barbara Lee, Congresswoman for the 13th District of California. She was honored with this award for her work on H.Res. 1024, Recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the Establishment of the United Nations, and H.Con.Res. 100, Urging the Establishment of a United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation. Ms. Modeer gave her keynote address following Congresswoman Lee’s acceptance of the award. She spoke on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the progress that has been made on the 2030 Agenda. She also cautioned the amount of progress left to make saying “the pandemic has been a siren call” on how much more work is needed. At this point in the event, Dr. Orr joined Ms.Odeer for a Q&A moderated by UNA-NCA President Paula Boland. They covered a wide range of topics with Orr giving a domestic view and Odeer giving a more global view. Some of the discussion included the Sustainable Development Goals and how meaningful they are for local actors here and across the world.

Participants had the unique opportunity to engage in UN75 Consultation Report Breakout Sessions on the following topics: Global Health, Peace & Security, Gender Equity, Human Rights, Sustainable Development, and International Law. The main discussion was focused on the climate change crisis and how it affects all of the various aspects of the world. Some other topics that were discussed include the various changing political landscapes across the world (ex. The U.S. election), how to get to the better world we all want, and how poverty can affect your point of view on various issues. The evening was wrapped up with a beautiful euphonium performance by Jordan Moore of Ferdinand David's Concertino for Trombone. Congratulations on 75 years and to the next 75!

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