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UNA Women: Denver Connects Seminar Participants with the Work of UN Women

Panel Shares How UN Advocates for Women

May 25, 2012|Ingrid Lantz of UNA Denver, member of UNA Women
Recently, the Denver Chapter of UNA-USA held our annual UN and You Series Seminar entitled, "The United Nations - Myth and Reality." As part of the seminar, the local UNA Women hosted the panel, "Women's Rights and the UN: Connecting You to UN Women." The purpose of the panel was to share how the UN advocates for women and how to become involved on a local and individual level.


The MYTH of the UN that we debunked was, that the UN is capable of implementing actions through governmental resolution alone; however, the reality is that it takes the work of individuals to carry out real change and we challenged those attending to be the change by becoming active participants at a local and national level.

Our panel included three women that have served on the front lines advocating for women. Representing NGOs that work within the UN's programs was Kay Meyer from Zonta International. Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. Kay currently serves as Chair of the Zonta International Legislative Awareness & Advocacy Committee for 2012-14. She spoke about the work that Zonta does to raise money for UN Women's programs through local service projects and bipartisan advocacy.

Representing legislative and political advocacy was Alice Borodkin. Alice served in the Colorado House of Representatives for eight years, before being term limited in 2009. She is currently serving on the Zonta District 12 Legislative Awareness and Advocacy Committee as the Colorado representative. She is Chair of the NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado C4 Political board, and is a Colorado member of Women Impacting Public Policy, a bi-partisan organization of over 500,000 business women. Alice gave us examples of tools that we can use to lobby our representatives and become an active political voice, and encouraged us all to support women who run for political office at all levels. She also shared personal stories of working against human trafficking at the local level – making sure we understood that these issues can be found right here at home.

Yasmina Chourfi, who served in the UN as a former humanitarian worker with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Middle East and Africa for 24 years, gave us a very personal account of the kind of work the UN does on behalf of women refugees. She shared with us some of the harrowing stories of women refugees and their plight, and encouraged continuing support, awareness, and advocacy for UN programs in the field for women.

With a total turnout for the seminar of 140, we had approximately 40 people attend our panel, one of four held throughout the morning on various issues. UNA Women – Denver will seek to continue the dialogue and action agenda that began at this seminar by partnering with several active women's groups throughout the area.

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