The United Nations Association - Greater Seattle ChapterThe United Nations Association - Greater Seattle Chapter is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports the work of the United Nations as one of a number of local chapters of the United Nations Association of the United States (UNA-USA). UNA Seattle encourages active civic participation in the most important social and economic issues facing the world today, from global health and human rights to the spread of democracy to equitable and sustainable development.
Our Mission: UNA-GSC is dedicated to educating, inspiring and mobilizing members of the Greater Seattle community to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations and to advocate for full engagement by the United States in the United Nations.
UNA-Seattle is a chapter of the UNA-USA. We are a 501(c)(3) organization according to US regulations and all contributions are tax deductible.
UN Day 2014
Please mark your calendars now and get ready to join us for a day of reflective celebration. Come see what the new UNA Seattle has for YOU!
UNA Greater Seattle Chapter presents Club UN
Join our Meetup group: http://www.meetup.com/Club-UN/ for more information.
On July 30, 2014, we are meeting at the Trophy Cupcakes at Wallingford Center. The address is 1815 N 45th Street, Seattle, WA. Free parking available at the Wallingford Center.
The topic: Right to Self-Defense
The World We Want 2015
The Woman From Gambia
This is a story about Yai. She is from The Gambia.
When she was 9 years old, her father and aunt forcibly took her from the classroom to a place she had never been to before. Her father held her down while the aunt took a well-used and rather dull razor blade and proceeded to cut her clitoris. The pain was unimaginable and the bleeding continued for days. Sitting in a bucket of warm salt water did little to alleviate the misery.
Still in her teens, her father married her off to a 67 year old cousin. She became his fourth wife. The first wife was unkind at best, and downright cruel at worst. There was never enough to eat, and Yai was forced to cook, clean and take care of the other wives' children. When she faltered or took a break, she was beaten. She would run away, but each time, her illiterate father would somehow find her, and bring her back to that terrible place.
At the market place, she met Lamin, a nice young man with gentle ways. She treated Yai with kindness and consideration. Together, they found moments of happiness in the midst of grinding poverty and began to wonder about another kind of life.
They decided to escape from their small village and went to the capital, Banjul. There, they lived in the bush for a year while working to save money for airfare. When they had enough, Lamin took Yai to neighboring Senegal for a flight to America. She arrived in New York's JFK airport with the clothes on her back and about $100. She went to Detroit for a short time until she learned that another woman from her village was living in North Seattle. So she borrowed and begged for the bus fare.
I met Yai when I agreed to help her file for asylum. The process was long and with many hoops to jump through. It was the kind of thing that was technically so complicated that it would cause even the most courageous of applicants to consider giving up. The basis of our case was Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and it rested on the Federal cases Mohammed v. Gonzales, Abebe v. Gonzales, Abay v. Ashcroft and Benyamin v. Holder.
We didn't give up, however. About a year after the application packet was submitted, we received notice of an asylum hearing! The hearing went well and a few months later, when I was on vacation abroad, I received an email from my law partner with "Open, Open, Open" in the subject line. Yai was granted asylum. She is doing well and no longer in fear. The doctors at Harborview Medical Center tells us that she can have a normal life, including children of her own. The last time I saw her, she said she is going to name her first daughter after me.
Thank you, Yai, I think I got more out of this experience than I gave to it.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
State of the Chapter 2013
2013 was a year of accomplishment and transition for UNA Seattle. We hired our first executive director in nearly 20 years. We held our largest and most important event of many years, the World We Want event at City University. We co-presented a major event at the University of Washington Law School on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. We launched a monthly group, Club UN, to discuss human rights and other pressing international issues in a relaxed setting. We had our best budgetary year for many years, finishing the year nearly $4,000 in the black.
More important than these accomplishments, we set a direction for the organization. We will engage immigrant and refugee groups here in Seattle, using them as a bridge to the UN and to international communities around the world. We will connect students and other volunteers with these organizations. In our first achievement related to this new direction, we reached an agreement with Mission EDU, an organization launched by UNA Board Member Peinda Diop, dedicated to bringing computers for the first time to classrooms in Senegal.
We also had a lot of turnover on the board this year. Three longtime UNA Seattle board members, Dick Blakney, Trevor Tate, and Camelia Ades, resigned from the board. Dick served on the board for many years, including a term of President, and was the guiding force behind UNA’s advocacy for many years. Trevor represented the organization ably both as chapter president and to the national organization in Washington, DC. Camelia served as Vice President and played a major role in organizing many chapter events.
New on the board this year are George Gose, a local banker who is serving as Treasurer, and Abdul Yusuf, a leader of Seattle’s African community. Also joining the organization this year was volunteer Chief Administrative Officer Octavia Hathaway, a local lawyer and community leader who provided an enormous boost to UNA by, among other things, editing our newsletter, revamping the website, and straightening out our bookkeeping.
In December, our interim Executive Director, Jennafer Cargill resigned, in order to take a position much closer to her home. Jennafer served the organization ably in her six-month stint and we thank her for all the hard work. We are presently involved in a new search for an executive director, and hope to have one hired by the end of January 2014.
UNA Seattle is making a push to become a major force in Seattle, connecting our local communities with the UN and other peoples around the world to address major world problems. I wish to personally thank all of you who dedicated your time, money, and ideas to the organization, and to encourage you to keep working with us to make the UNA a mighty force for good.
Joanne Dufour Presented With Eleanor Roosevelt Award
The Seattle Human Rights Commission held its annual Seattle Human Rights Day
observance at Town Hall on December 10, 2013, on the occasion of the 65th
anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
UNA Greater Seattle Chapter participated in the evening's program by presenting
its annual Human Rights Award -- newly renamed the Eleanor Roosevelt Award --
to Joanne Dufour, a Seattle-area educator and activist who has dedicated years of
effort to various United Nations programs, with a focus on promoting the Millennium
Development Goals, on advancing the peacekeeping efforts of the United Nations,
and on preventing genocide in Darfur.
UNA Seattle Board Member Eugene Martin presented the award, citing in particular
Joanne's efforts at bringing the Millennium Development Goals into elementary and
secondary school classrooms through lesson plans, projects, and workshops for
social studies educators both in the Puget Sound region and at international conferences
of the National Council for Social Studies and other organizations.
Joanne, a former member of the UNA Greater Seattle Chapter's board of directors, recently
relocated with her husband Jim to the New Orleans area. She will be greatly missed by
all of her colleagues, who were pleased to see her work recognized with this year's
Eleanor Roosevelt award. Thank you, Joanne !
Watch Seattle In Action At The World We Want
Now this is what we're talking about!
The United Nations Disability Treaty
In case you need a refresher, the UN Disability Treaty is an international treaty that provides a framework for countries to embrace the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities.
Sounds non-controversial, right? Well, believe it or not,the treaty actually fell victim to political posturing in the Senate last December – failing to be ratified by only five votes.
With that kind of razor-thin margin, the only way we're going to get those extra five votes is if people like you demand it.
Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds their first hearing on the treaty tomorrow, show your support for the CRPD by sharing this graphic on Facebook – and ask your friends and family to join you!
Show your support for the UN Disability Treaty This treaty was actually inspired by U.S. legislation, and it is frankly embarrassing that the U.S. has failed to join 126 other countries in ratifying it.
In fact, the UN Disability Treaty was modeled after The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which values independence and respect for disabled people by promoting reasonable accommodations – things as basic as wheelchair ramps.
For the nearly 58 million Americans (including more than 5 million veterans) who have one or more disabilities, that was a game-changer. And that's the kind of impact this treaty could have for the 1 billion people who live with a disability worldwide.
If you're standing with the United Nations on supporting people with disabilities, then share this today, and learn more here: http://
Today Was Seattle’s Turn!
When the video of the proceedings is ready, it will be posted here and on Facebook. Please check back here often. In the meantime, please consider joining us in this incredible journey. Become a member of the UNA Seattle. Be informed. Be inspired. Together, we can do a lot of good.
The World We Want: Consultations for Post 2015 MDGs
Poised to be the first United Nations grassroots consultation initiative performed in the United States, "The World We Want" - UNA-USA Consultations on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda will be setting a precedence on how communities across the world engage with the UN. The initiative was developed from a request by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for a grassroots consultation process to be conducted in each UN member state. The goal is to hold unique conversations in each participating city to outline the world we want in 2030. Results from the US consultations, including interesting stories, ideas and emergent themes, will be assembled and presented to UNDP to support goals for the post-2015 development agenda.
The program's objective is to invite wider participation in the UN's development agenda and foster a community actively engaged in sharing in a global mission. The consultations provide the bridge to connect grassroots communities to the work of the United Nations, which might have seemed too far removed for citizens to have an impact on shaping.
This Saturday, it is our turn to convene participants from various communities and groups around the greater Seattle area to exchange ideas and stories in order to add to the growing collective of meaningful global conversations. Our chapter intends to nurture this process into an ongoing dialogue. Please keep tuned for future programming launched from this important process. In meantime, we encourage more people to submit their views on the survey at www.myworld2015.org.
Registration is required in advance, and the deadline to register is Thursday October 31st - no walk-ins please. For more information and to register, go to:
The 10 chapters/regions participating in consultation are the following: Chicago (Oct. 24) Seattle (Nov. 2) New York (Nov. 8) Kansas City (Nov. 16) Tampa Bay (Nov. 19) North Carolina, (Nov. 23) Southern California (Dec. 7) Denver (first week in Dec) Iowa (TBD) Northern California (TBD)