January 28, 2021
The UNA-NCA Board of Directors and staff congratulate and extend a warm welcome to President Biden and Vice President Harris for their active and prompt engagement to serve the needs of all Americans through domestic and foreign policy initiative supported by outstanding appointments to the Cabinet and senior policy teams.

Those of us in the UNA-USA family are committed to engaging our members and communities towards the renewal of close working relations with our congressional representatives for positive and cooperative support of the United Nations. At this time of crisis with COVID-19 raging across the U.S.-greatly impacting our economy and families' wellbeing, we see how important it is for the U.S. to be playing a leadership role along with other countries through multilateral means. Our opportunity to find cooperative economic ties for intertwined global and national economic growth, to join in the Covax collaborative for vaccine development, manufacturing, and distribution to countries, both rich and poor, and to find new approaches to lower the temperature of major threats to peace and security, are essential for our own well-being across America.

The immediate actions by the Biden-Harris Administration in just its first week have demonstrated a stark difference to their predecessor’s stance on multilateral affairs. From rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, to continue active membership and support of the World Health Organization, and launching an active and immediate effort to give asylum to and process qualified immigrants from all countries including people of Islamic faith, among many more actions, demonstrate to our citizens and those around the world that the US is committed to reengage as a leader and partner on the global stage.

This week has been instrumental in forming the Biden-Harris Administration’s foreign policy and national security teams. On Tuesday, Anthony Blinken was confirmed as Secretary of State, bringing a lifetime of excellence in foreign affairs, and yesterday was the confirmation hearing for the US Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Linda Thomas-Greenfield who also brings extensive diplomatic experience in Africa and other parts of the world. Also former US Ambassador to the UN and former National Security Advisor to President Obama, Susan Rice, has joined the new Administration as head of the Domestic Policy Council. In addition, former US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, will lead the US Agency for International Development, and serve on the White House's National Security Council.

These appointments reflect the recognition by the new Administration that our domestic and foreign policy issues are intertwined, demonstrating the need for highly qualified public officials who think constructively about US common needs along with the interests for peoples’ well-being everywhere.

The UNA-NCA agenda for 2021 for full support and positive engagement of the US in the international community, including its fair share of financial support, is fully aligned with the new Administration’s priorities. Our programs will emphasize the development and growth of our youth and young professionals in understanding foreign affairs and the UN and building skills to become agents of change. UNA-NCA has and will continue to accomplish this through its Global Classrooms DC, Graduate Fellows, and Young Professionals programs, all of which have been adapted to effective virtual platforms. These programs continue their partnership collaborations with several UN agencies, State Department, NGOs as well as area schools and universities.

Our advocacy programing is helping engage and train new advocates to join in concert with our officers, board members, and advisory council members to be effective "ambassadors" to our Congressional delegations and to our community at large about the critical needs for UN support and partnership with the US. Increased contributions are made on relevant topics through the Coffee Chat Series as well as briefing memos and blog contributions.

Our ongoing programs in Peace and Security, Sustainable Development, Human Rights, and International Law reflect the interlinked themes of the 2030 Agenda embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This monumental agenda was in large part possible due to the leadership of the Obama Administration, and we will continue to carry on that legacy with the involvement and commitment of the new Biden-Harris Administration.

UNA-NCA will, through a year-long research project on all 17 SDGs, map the status and challenges for our DMV jurisdiction. This project will help us understand and interrelate the common local and global goal needs and relationships. We will also continue to stress in our advocacy outreach to Congress and to our state and local officials the opportunity and benefits of the integrated multisector approach needed to make immediate improvements in our citizens’ lives locally and to realize the actions and investments needed for sustainable changes.

In welcoming the new Biden-Harris Administration we want to continue to reach out to our members, leaders, young professionals, and students to say that your interests and devotion to a sound and constructive US-UN engagement are the guiding principles behind our programs and initiatives which are increasingly aimed at engaging our colleagues across gender, race, ethnicity, origins, and generations. Our programming will remain virtual as long as needed to ensure the good health and safety of everyone. Please continue to communicate and participate with us regularly.

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