Greater Lansing

United Nations Association

Your Connection to the United Nations

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Quarterly Newsletter, Volume 2, Issue 4

The CommUNAcator

Greater Lansing United Nations Association

"Your Connection to the United Nations"

  December, 2015


It's been a very productive and interesting year!

The past year has been one of Greater Lansing UNA's busiest and most productive.  Board members represented the organization at a number of community events and were actively involved in staging events to celebrate refugees and immigrants and to mark World Peace Day, the UN's 70th Anniversary, and Human Rights Day. In addition, World Friendship Day events were held in schools involving dozens of students. A few highlights follow:

In May several dozen people participated in a celebration of refugees and the diversity they bring to the community. The program featured presentations by Shirin Timms, director of the Immigrant and Refuge Resource Collaborative, Sergio Keck, Director of Accountability & School Improvement for Lansing School District, and Mahbuba Fidda, GLUNA board member. We learned that approximately 600 refugees come to Lansing each year and that various organizations and individuals provide support and programs that help them adjust to life in the United States. Special note: The recent negative media coverage about refugees has been a most unfortunate development. Read a perceptive and relevant article by Susan Waltz, GLUNA member and professor of public policy at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy here.

Events to celebrate World Friendship Day were held in March and November. See the short article about the most recent WFD event below!

International Day of Peace was commemorated on September 27th with a Peace Day March. Well over 200 people turned out to walk, run, hop, skip, & jump for peace! GLUNA hosted the event with four other organizations, and an additional 18 sponsors contributed either money or in-kind donations to make it a huge success. Visit to see pictures from the event as well as a list of hosts and sponsors under the Event Archives & Pictures tab. 

In October GLUNA sponsored the UN 70th Anniversary Gala Celebration with a two-day event which opened with a well-attended reception at Abrams Planetarium. Day two featured speakers addressing the topic, "Sustainably Lighting the World." You'll find pictures under the Event Archives & Pictures tab at Listen to a brief but interesting interview by Tomas Hult, director of MSU's International Business Center, speaking with Michael Beard, one of the speakers at the event and Executive Director & Global Health Director at the UN Foundation here.

Human Rights Day Commemoration 2015, sponsored by GLUNA and MSU Center for Advanced Study of International Development was held in December. Dr. David Wiley, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and African Studies at Michigan State University and Advocacy Chair of GLUNA provided a brief but penetrating presentation on some of the United Nations' initiatives and treaties which the United States has not endorsed nor acted upon. Three Humphrey Fellows from Bahrain, Mauritania, and Azerbaijan presented information about human rights in their respective countries. More pictures at under the Event Archives & Pictures tab.

World Friendship Day

by Nancy Lubeski, Vice President for Global Education

On Friday, November 6, World Friendship Day came to Wexford Montessori Academy in the Lansing School District!  This program is the result of a five-year partnership between GLUNA, LATTICE (Linking All Teachers to International Cross-Cultural Education), the Peace Education Center and MSU’s Asian Studies Center.  With sponsorship money and a large pool of international and community volunteers, World Friendship Day provided a full-day global education workshop for about 105 students.

Our keynote speaker, Shirin Kambin Timms of the Immigrant & Refugee Resource Collaborative (IRRC), spoke about refugees and the challenges everyone experiences when moving homes, schools, jobs, etc.  We also heard from international guests from Japan, Ecuador, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Vietnam and Russia.  Finally, Carlito Rosales, a Wexford 4th grader and his family, gave a Latino cultural musical performance on the drums.

This action-packed day of peace and understanding opened the eyes of our 4th, 5th and 6th graders to the global community around us.  Students learned about the United Nations and created a peace tree with commitments of what they will each do to make the world a better place. World Friendship Day demonstrated to students that peace as well as advocacy begins with small steps and shared understandings at the local level.

A message from MSU-UNA 
by Monica Watt
I’m currently serving as the interim President of UNA @ MSU. As our campus chapter is well on its way to a fully functioning organization, we owe it to Greater Lansing-UNA for the unconditional support and collaboration of events during our first semester as a student organization. This year will definitely be one to remember. Members of our chapter attended the Annual Meeting in DC for the first time. We painted the campus Rock for UN Day and brought attention to the UN with tables and freebies at major locations on campus. We hosted a table at the UN Peace Day event put on by GLUNA and administered numerous discussions on campus regarding the United Nations, the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and other global issues. Next semester, a group of us will be heading to New York for Members Day as well as to do a little re-organizing of our leadership structure. I am optimistic and hopeful that, by partnering with our sister organizations such as Michigan State University International Relations Organization, MSU Model UN, and GLUNA, we will be able to effectively educate, inspire and mobilize members of the MSU and Lansing communities to contribute to a better world in the years to come.


At the end of September, students from the MSU Law School held a fundraiser for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for its work with the Syrian refugee crisis. The effort was spearheaded by Bdour Albader, a GLUNA member and MSU Law School graduate student from Saudi Arabia. Bdour was joined in this effort by students from the Muslim Law Students Association, the LLM & MJ Students Association, the Arab & Chaldean Students Association, and the Jewish Legal Society. Bdour greatly values that diverse students collaborated on this shared goal. GLUNA board member Mahbuba Fidda, and treasurer Tom Bartley, also assisted with this activity. A table was set up in the lobby of the law school building on the MSU campus for one week, attended to by the students. A GLUNA information board was also displayed where students could be introduced to our chapter and join if they wished to. Donations for this effort were also collected from the Islamic Center on Harrison Road in East Lansing. By the end of this fundraiser, $1500 had been collected! A check was forwarded to the UNHCR with their promise of matching donor funding. The effort was so successful that talks have begun between the newly-formed MSU UNA chapter and the law school students to continue fundraising activities in the early part of 2016. Greater Lansing UNA congratulates Bdour on leading this successful project.

Be a Greater Lansing UNA “Global Citizen!” 

Please remember GLUNA in your holiday giving!

Your annual membership fees support the UNA-USA as well as Greater Lansing UNA, but additional fundraising is necessary to fulfill our mission.  You can donate in your own name or in someone’s honor. (We will send a card acknowledging your gift to that person.) 

Donated funds are used to: 

  • Provide resources for World Friendship Day to educate our youth about the world and the United Nations. 
  • Support Model United Nations programs in local schools. 
  • Provide programs for the community. 
  • Bring UN experts to our events. 
  • Sponsor Greater Lansing UNA representatives to attend the UNA annual meeting in Washington D.C. 
  • Provide UNA membership “scholarships” for MSU grad students. 
  • Provide educational materials about the UN’s work.

Greater Lansing UNA 2015 “Global Citizenship” donor levels are: 

  • “Supporter” - up to $99 
  • “Friend” - from $100 to $249 
  • “Advocate” - from $250 to $499 
  • “Promoter” - from $500 to $999 
  • “Ambassador” - from $1000 to $4999 
  • “Lifetime Donor” - $5000 and up 

Thank you for your support for Greater Lansing United Nations Association. Our members make our work possible. We're looking forward to an exciting year of advocacy and education in 2016!

P.O. Box 1853
East Lansing, MI 48826

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