With 2012 Tailwinds, Let’s Soar in 2013

|Patrick Madden, UNA-USA Executive Director

I tend to use analogies in meetings around the office. Some are more interesting than others, but often I describe UNA-USA as an airplane. Sometimes we are on the runway. Sometimes we need to go back to the hangar for minor fixes. Sometimes we are taking flight. It must be all my travel-time in the thin air at 30,000 feet that directs my brain to this comparison.


gcimun-350I tend to use analogies in meetings around the office. Some are more interesting than others, but often I describe UNA-USA as an airplane. Sometimes we are on the runway. Sometimes we need to go back to the hangar for minor fixes. Sometimes we are taking flight. It must be all my travel-time in the thin air at 30,000 feet that directs my brain to this comparison.

With 2012 in the rearview mirror (forgive the mixed metaphor), we have quite a portfolio of work we have accomplished. You can view our full Year in Review, but below are some of our proudest moments:

Making an Impact

  • eoy-meetingExpanding Membership – UNA-USA grew its membership by more than 20% this year and will close the year with more than 14,000 members. In addition to individual membership, the Chapter network expanded, adding Chapters in Detroit, Miami, and Silicon Valley.  During 2012 the organization launched Generation UN (GenUN) – a membership campaign to draw young people to UNA-USA. GenUN welcomed four Campus Advocates groups this year.
  • Traditional and Online Media Growth – UNA-USA enjoyed a wide range of exposure in traditional and social media. We garnered more than 150 mentions in national and international press, including Huffington Post; Arrive magazine; and The Boston Globe. The new UNA-USA website resulted in nearly 1.5 million page views and around 365,000 unique visitors. Our social media following has increased to more than 12,000 on Facebook and more than 5,000 on Twitter.
  • Redesigned Website and Online Magazine – Members were treated to a double-feature online in June when UNA-USA rolled out the redesign of www.unausa.org and www.theinterdependent.com. The redesign features quick and easy navigation, exclusive members-only content such as the members-only blog, issue briefs, talking points, and advocacy resources. From our online magazine, The InterDependent, users can make one-stop for all of the latest UN news and analysis, as well photos from the UN’s work around the globe.
  • 2012 Annual Meeting and Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill – Members from 63 Chapters and 31 states gathered in Washington, D.C. to discuss the importance of a strong U.S.-UN relationship during the 2012 Annual Meeting. On the final day, members conducted nearly 100 visits on Capitol Hill, the most ever. Attendees heard exclusive foreign policy briefings from high-level officials from the United Nations, U.S. Department of State, and Capitol Hill. Check out the images and video from the conference.

Inspiring the Next Generation

  • Global Classrooms Model UN – Now in its 14th year, UNA-USA’s signature Model UN program continues to engage public middle and high school students in simulations of the UN, helping cultivate literacy, life skills, and attitudes necessary for active citizenship. UNA-USA held Global Classrooms conferences in: Atlanta; Beirut; Berlin; Boston; Chicago; Houston; Johannesburg; London; Los Angeles; Madrid; Miami; Minnesota; New York; Seoul; Tampa Bay; Tel Aviv; Tokyo; and Washington, D.C.
  • First-Ever U.S. Youth ObserverUNA-USA and the U.S. Department of State launched an unprecedented program in September when Brooke Loughrin, a Boston College student, was named the first-ever U.S. Youth Observer at the United Nations. She began her activities during UN General Assembly week, including speaking engagements, meetings, and panel discussions on youth issues in the U.S. and abroad.  In October, she was back in New York for meetings at the UN’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee. In December, she visited Washington, D.C. and met with a number of officials at the U.S. Department of State and USAID. The program was featured in national and local media outlets.

Engaging Communities

  • eoy-meeting-2_copyMembers’ Day 2012 - More than 850 members and guests attended UNA-USA Members’ Day at UN General Assembly Hall on February 10. Attendees were treated to presentations and conversations on topics such as sustainable development, peacekeeping, and the Security Council. Special guest speakers included Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Jeffrey Sachs. Find out what we have planned for Members’ Day 2013.
  • International Women’s Day – Hundreds gathered in March at events across the country honoring women’s political, economic, and social contributions to the world. More than 40 UNA-USA Chapters from coast to coast hosted film screenings, lectures, dinners, and other events to commemorate the day. In addition, UNA Women, the first UNA Affinity Group, was launched on March 8.
  • UN Day – One Hundred Chapters hosted more than 170 events in 33 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico in celebration of the UN and its work for a more prosperous world. Events ranged from discussions and luncheons to parades and film festivals. Our UN Day webpage helped garner more than 10,000 page views to the UNA-USA website.
  • Human Rights Day –Chapters hosted more than 45 Human Rights Day celebrations, conveying how the UN helps advance and uphold human rights around the world, and engaging participants in supporting the advancement of human rights. Some mayors declared proclamations in honor of Human Rights Day.
  • Global Leadership Dinner – More than 400 UNA-USA supporters and funders gathered in New York City to honor some of the UN’s most prominent advocates. This year’s dinner kicked-off the celebration of the 70th anniversary of UNA-USA and marked the 15th anniversary of Ted Turner’s $1 billion gift to the UN and the correspondingcreation of the United Nations Foundation. Among the distinguished awardees, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was honored with the Champion for Global Change Award. View the dinner video and pictures.

Fostering Partnerships

eoy-meeting-3We continue to demonstrate leadership through our Leo Nevas Human Rights Program and Fellowship, as well as our partnership with Seton Hall University. Our efforts to expand audiences for the UN nationally is best reflected in the work of the Council of Organizations, which connects NGOs with the work of the United Nations.

These were not small feats for UNA-USA. The hard work of the national office staff, our regional representatives, Chapter leaders, and YOU—the members—came together to make this happen. All of our efforts are to help educate the public about the work and impact of the United Nations. This is not about UNA-USA; ultimately this is about people who are helped by the UN’s programs and agencies in countries around the world.

It was a year of progress for the UN and for UNA-USA. It’s time to rise above the clouds in 2013. You are free to move about the cabin.

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