"Holiday greetings to all GL-UNA members and friends! We wish you a good holiday season!
At this time of giving, we hope that you will take part in the Adopt-a-Future initiative (see below). Please honor friends and family with donations to this worthy cause in their names. Currently, all donations to this vital program will be matched dollar-for-dollar, doubling your donation. You can donate on line here. Thank you!
ADOPT A FUTURE
Two year UNA-USA focus on refugee education
There are currently 65.3 million people forcibly displaced from their homes--the highest figure ever recorded. Half are children - half of whom receive no education. A refugee child who is not in school is at heightened risk of being harmed, trafficked or radicalized by extremist groups.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, is working to prevent a lost generation by educating refugee children in camps and other settings around the world. But help is needed. In response to this call, UNA-USA is partnering with UNHCR in the Adopt-a-Future initiative, linking Americans directly to students and schools around the world.
Greater Lansing UNA recognizes the critical need for support for this important initiative and has launched a campaign to raise $30,000 to provide a new classroom at a refugee-serving school in Kenya, which will serve the needs of at least 40 children for 10 years. We are actively seeking partnerships with other groups, organizations, businesses, foundations, faith communities, and individuals to meet this ambition goal.
You can help. Here's how.
Watch for an e-mail message soon with information about how YOU can help make a difference in the lives of refugee children!
Together we can do this!
It's been a great year!
Lynn Bartley, President
As the year comes to a close, we are pleased to report GL-UNA’s 2016 accomplishments. Each January the board sets priorities and focal areas for the year ahead. In 2016, the board set as its mission, "To inspire and mobilize the community to support the work of the United Nations and its agencies through Education and Advocacy." The board decided on Youth Engagement, Mid-career Engagement, Communications, Refugees and Climate Change as its focal areas. Although they set an ambitious agenda, the board was able to address each of its focal areas through events it sponsored over the course of the year.
Two World Friendship Days for 4th to 6th graders were held in Lansing Schools, providing a full day of activities and presentations, which increased their understanding and appreciation of the world and of the United Nations.
In March, two GL-UNA board members accompanied six students from Haslett High School on a school-sponsored trip to the United Nations in New York City. The trip was a huge success!
In June, three board members attended the annual UNA-USA Leadership Summit in Washington DC, bringing back timely information about the focus of the UNA-USA for the next two years and plenty of good ideas for involving our local chapter in the work. UNA-MSU also attended the summit, and the two groups visited Capitol Hill to visit legislators together. The main advocacy talking points, provided by UNA-USA, included 1) The US should fully pay our UN peacekeeping and regular budget dues; 2) US leadership needs to address the current refugee crisis; and 3) The US should work with the UN to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our biggest project of the year was Peace Quest 2016, a week-plus of peace-related activities in September. GL-UNA worked closely with seven planning partners (Peace Education Center, Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, Shalom Center for Justice and Peace, Islamic Center of East Lansing, Edgewood United Church, Okemos Community Church, and Niagara Foundation), 16 sponsors who donated at least $100, and 11 individuals and organizations who made contributions to make Peace Quest possible.
The 71st anniversary of the United Nations was celebrated in October. Keynote speaker Professor Susan Waltz mesmerized the audience with perceptive comments about the challenges and opportunities facing the UN at 71. Rachel Pittman, from UNA-USA's national office, speaking on "One Humanity, Shared Responsibility: Addressing the Refugee Crisis" helped launch GL-UNA's important new project--it's most ambitious to date--Adopt-a-Future.
UN-designated International Human Rights Day was celebrated in December. Three Humphrey Scholars, mid-career professionals from developing countries, spoke on human rights as they pertain to their countries. GL-UNA at-large board member Dasha Shamrova addressed issues of children's rights, and Bob Barnhart, vice president for Membership discussed the importance of supporting the rights of all globally through the U.N. The evening was well-attended, interesting, and informative.
Happy New Year!
Watch for the next CommUNAcator in March.