Steve Mather

UNA-USA Youth Leader

steven_mather1. Why is the United Nations important to the world?

The United Nations is needed in the world now just as much as ever. The United Nations is a voice of coexistence, compassion and progress. When conflicts arise and everyday people are forgotten, the UN is there reminding the leaders, on all sides, that the people are the ones that really pay the price of these conflicts/wars and a peaceful resolution needs to be reached. The UN is far from being “all talk.” When people are currently facing starvation (World Food Programme) or in the near future (Food and Agriculture Organization), when natural disasters hit and children are at risk (UNICEF), when people anywhere, of any creed, any nationality, any sex, any culture are in a disaster and need help (Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) the United Nations is there working with governments and NGOs alike to help anyone they can.

2. How do the UN and its work affect your work or life?

Working with the United Nations Association to help the United Nations through various fundraisers and advocacy campaigns, even on the college student level, gives me great pride in how I’ve spent my time as a student. I am not just using this time to improve myself so that one day I may have a much greater positive impact through my career. I am also doing whatever I can to insure that that future will be better off. The United Nations is what allows me to do this through providing accurate information and an international system of support that can be contributed to, providing me a way to lend indirect support for specific causes around the world.

3. Why should Americans care about the UN’s work?

“Why should Americans care about the UN’s work?” America was a major voice during the formation of the United Nations in 1945, the first to deposit their ratification, and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. As citizens of a country with such an important history with the UN, it’s our responsibility to stay informed and lend support and voice to UN action and discussions that they feel strongly about. I have heard some serious concerns about the UN lately, some being rather irrational. But no matter your concern in the world or even how the UN is effecting the U.S. I have two recommendations: first educate yourself on the topic from at least two “impartial” sources and second let your voice be heard by contacting the United States Mission to the United Nations or get involved through UNA-USA.

4. In your opinion what has been the UN’s best moment up until now?

The UN’s best moment to date… incidental. The UN has done many great things. But the thing about the UN that sets it apart – at least in my mind – is that it is not about what it has done. The UN is about what it can do next, what peoples are in need, what wrongs can be set right.

5. What do you think is the most exciting opportunity for the UN going forward?

The most exciting opportunity for the UN going forward is to get the youth of the world involved and connected. We are an energetic group full of passions and interests that when organized can be a great force for change not only in the short-term but also the long because one day we will be the leaders of this world. To get today’s youth to see beyond their backyards and the beauty that can exist in this world will create a force for good protecting out present and our future.

6. What is the most effective element of UNA-USA’s work?

The most effective element of UNA-USA is the local Chapters. Without Iowa UNA, the University of Iowa United Nations Association would not exist today and I, along with many other students and community members, would not have had/known a way to get so involved. Local Chapters are great assets for inspiring people to UNA causes and providing them with a community-strengthening way to get involved. A lot of the events put on by Iowa UNA have introduced me to community members, faculty, and other humanitarian focused organizations that I later came to create advocacy and fundraising events with. I am convinced that local Chapters of UNA-USA with strong, inventive leadership like that at Iowa UNA are one of the best ways to get community and students alike informed and involved.

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