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The United Nations Association of the United States of America or UNA-USA is a not-for-profit organization working to build support and understanding for the United Nations among the American public through advocacy, policy, humanitarian, educational, and membership initiatives. It has 135 community based chapters across the United States, and programs on 5 continents. The association is affiliated with the World Federation of United Nations Associations.

History

The American Association for the United Nations, UNA-USA's predecessor organization, grew out of the League of Nations Association in 1943. A group of prominent citizens, including first Executive Director Clark Eichelberger, activated AAUN to promote acceptance of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals in the late years of World War II. Among the Association's early actions was a nationwide tour by a number of US representatives who set out to spread the word about these important proposals and to gain support for US adherence to the proposed new international organization-the United Nations.

When First Lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt, a member of the AAUN Board of Directors, completed her term as a US Representative to the UN General Assembly in late 1951, she walked into the AAUN offices and asked to be given something to do for the organization. Her offer was gratefully accepted and in early 1953, she established an office at AAUN headquarters.

This was the quiet beginning of a major campaign in which Mrs. Roosevelt carried the message of AAUN across the country through personal appearances, recruitment speeches and fundraising efforts which continued until her death in November 1962. She was elected Chair of the Board of Directors of AAUN in 1961.

In 1964, AAUN merged with the US Committee for the United Nations, a group composed of 138 national organizations supporting the work of the United Nations, thereby creating the United Nations Association of the United States of America. Since then, several distinguished Americans have served in positions of leadership at UNA-USA. These include: Arthur J. Goldberg, former Justice of the US Supreme Court and US permanent representative to the United Nations; James S. McDonnell, former chairman of the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation; Elliot L. Richardson, former US Attorney General and US representative to the Law of the Sea Conference; William Scranton, former Governor of Pennsylvania and US permanent representative to the United Nations; Cyrus Vance, former Secretary of State; and John C. Whitehead, former Deputy Secretary of State.

In 1999, the Business Council for the United Nations (BCUN) joined UNA-USA as a division. Founded in 1958 with the blessing of then UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, BCUN worked to build support for the UN among business leaders and employers of major US corporations, enjoying the early support of leaders such as: former UN Secretary-General U Thant, and US Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman.

UNA-USA's Programs

Adopt-A-Minefield is a campaign which engages individuals, community groups, and businesses in the United Nations’ effort to resolve the global landmine crisis. Its main goals are to clear minefields, provide assistance to landmine survivors and raise awareness about the global landmine crisis. Adopt-A-Minefield has worked in Abkhaziamarker, Afghanistanmarker, Angolamarker, Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker, Cambodiamarker, Croatiamarker, Colombiamarker, Ethiopiamarker, Iraqmarker, Lao PDF , Lebanonmarker, Mozambiquemarker, Nepalmarker, and Vietnammarker.

The Global Classroom program brings Model UN to urban public schools across the US and an array of schools around the world. The program is currently in ten American cities; Bostonmarker, Chicagomarker, Houstonmarker, Los Angelesmarker, Miamimarker, Minneapolis-St. Paulmarker, New York Citymarker, San Juanmarker, Tampa Baymarker, and Washington, DCmarker, and fourteen international cities; Beijing, Beirutmarker, Berlinmarker, Cantabriamarker, Hong Kongmarker, Johannesburgmarker, Londonmarker, Madridmarker, Mexico Citymarker, New Delhimarker, Sao Paulomarker, Seoulmarker, Tel Avivmarker, and Tokyomarker.

UNA-USA's Global Policy Programs work to strengthening the UN system, by promoting multilateral approaches to global issues and encouraging active US engagement in the world, contributing an internationalist perspective to the policy debate on the US and the world.

HERO, in partnership with USAID Global Development Alliance, is a fund raising and awareness-building program with the goal of providing comprehensive, school-based support to orphans and vulnerable children in HIV/AIDS-affected communities in Africa.

UNA-USA is a major partner in the American NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC), a coalition of nongovernmental organizations committed to achieving full US support for the court through education, promotion and an informed public.

Seton Hall Universitymarker and UNA-USA established the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations in 1997 to advance the study of contemporary global issues. The school provides college students from around the world with diplomatic skills and an understanding of international affairs. As a next step in this unique partnership, UNA-USA and the school are working to establish a new center on the study of the UN.

Washington Liaison and Advocacy Programs: Representing UNA-USA in the nation's capital, the Washington office engages American citizens, Congress, the administration and a diverse network of policy institutions and nongovernmental organizations in an effort to secure and encourage constructive US leadership in the UN. With regular briefings, panel discussions and reports, the office informs both policymakers and individuals interested in global issues about the importance and benefit of US membership in the United Nations.

Membership

UNA-USA has more than 135 chapters and divisions across the country and nearly 20,000 members. These members carry out programs and campaigns at the local level through events, educational promotions and fund raising. The Association also has a young professionals network called Young Professionals for International Cooperation with more than 1,500 members.

Councils

The Business Council for the United Nations (BCUN) is a catalyst for action, understanding and innovative business opportunities between member companies and the UN.

Council of OrganizationsThe Council of Organizations is a coalition of more than 100 nongovernmental organizations with interests in education, religion, labor, sustainable development, human rights, health and women's issues, that share the common goals of promoting greater public awareness about global issues and strengthening the US-UN relationship.

National CouncilChaired by former President Jimmy Carter and composed of leading citizens, the National Council draws on members' deep understanding of UN issues to bolster the nationwide advocacy and outreach of UNA-USA.

See also



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