News and updates from the UU-UNO to keep you informed.
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April 2018

Dear ,

Earlier this month we wrapped up another powerful Intergenerational Seminar, When Crisis Calls: Advancing Just Migration for All - take a look below for some resources for how to continue engagement with this issue. As the academic interns in our office are winding up their internships (photo above of me with the interns in front of a very washed out United Nations!) we're looking forward to our summer interns starting soon and getting ready for a productive summer!

Here are the minutes from the April Envoy Check-in conference call. Our next regular call will be in May - please RSVP here. PLUS mark your calendar now for a special Envoy Training to talk about UN Sunday with longtime Envoy at Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Shari Loe! The UN Sunday conversation will be at 6pm Eastern on Thursday May 31st.

Blue Ribbon Congregations will be announced in May and will receive their award plaques at the Canadian Unitarian Council's National Conference and at the Unitarian Universalist Association's General Assembly (GA). Please send me an email if you think your congregation will qualify but you haven't heard from me yet.

In faith, love, hope, and justice,

Allison Hess

International Engagement Associate

Envoys... ENERGIZE!
So much more to discuss

In April, our Envoy Conference Call began a conversation about energizing the Envoy Program - but we've only just begun. Let's keep the conversation going and talk about how to make the Envoy program a truly meaningful experience. I'm expecially looking for input from Youth Envoys!
A few different options timing-wise...
  • 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific)
  • 6pm Eastern (3pm Pacific)
  • 8pm Eastern (5pm Pacific) for YOUTH!


Early in April, the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office held its annual Intergenerational Spring Seminar in New York City, bringing Unitarian Universalists together from across North America and the world to talk about how we, as people of faith and as global citizens, can act in support of refugees and other displaced people - this year's theme was When Crisis Calls: Advancing Just Migration for All. During the 3-day conference, participants attended workshops and sessions, including at the United Nations headquarters itself, and concluded by writing a Statement that articulates the learning and commitments from the conference. The Seminar Statement is a tool that Unitarian Universalists and congregations may use to guide our action and make real change in the world.
A look behind, a look ahead

April 4-7: UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar "When Crisis Calls: Advancing Just Migration for All" in NYC.

April 9: UU-UNO hosts "Climate Change, Sustainable Cities, and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals" event.

April 16: UUA offices closed for Patriots' Day.

April 25: April Envoy Conference Call.

May 3: UU-UNO hosts "Refugees, Migrants, & Resettlement in the Trump Era: What's Next?" event.

May 5: UU-UNO Spring Reception in Middletown, NJ.

May 18-20: CUC National Conference in Hamilton, ON.

May 28: UUA offices closed for Memorial Day.

May 29: Summer Internships begin at UU-UNO.

May 31: May Envoy Conference Call.
A Note from UU-UNO Director Bruce Knotts

Dear Readers,

We need effective congregational envoys now more than ever.  Thanks for connecting your congregations to the important work of the UN.

The UN continues to grapple with the important issues of Human Rights, Peace and Security, and Development; the three pillars of the UN. 

Regarding Human Rights, the UN Security Council has been grappling with terrible humanitarian situations regarding the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who are being forced to return to Myanmar, recent violence against Palestinians, and the plight of Syrians who have been subjected the chemical warfare and intolerable levels of violence. 

In the areas of Peace and Security, the Security Council is dealing with both the threat posed by nuclear weapons in North Korea and the opportunity to bring the Korean War to an end.  Security Council solutions to the situations in Myanmar, Palestine, North Korea, and Syria are stymied by the veto power of Russia, China, and the United States.  There are sustained efforts among the elected members of the Security Council and in the General Assembly to resolve disputes in ways which can bypass the veto or to shame nations into not using the veto.  The majority of UN member states continue their work to abolish nuclear weapons from the planet. 

In the areas of Development, the UN is working to enforce the 2015 UN Climate Agreement made in Paris and to maintain free trade.  It is important to know that the United States cannot initiate withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords until 2019 and cannot complete the process until 2020.  Both climate justice and free trade are threatened by the rise in nationalism around the world, both of which work against international cooperation and make the world a more dangerous place.

What can you do?  Inform, organize, lobby, and use politics to effect change.  You are an important link between the UN and your congregation.  Your job to inform your congregation of what’s going on, getting them organized to lobby our government and getting politically engaged is very important. Many of us have read Madeline Albright’s book, Fascism: A Warning.  Our congregations can be bastions of internationalists who work for human rights, peace and security, and sustainable development. 

Thanks for reading this and for all you do to create the beloved world community.

Bruce Knotts
Director, UU-UNO

Resources to Advance Just Migration for All
Follow-up to 2018 Intergenerational Spring Seminar

As you know, our Spring Seminar took place a few weeks ago in NYC. This year's theme was on refugees and the global migration crisis. Whether or not you were able to  make it to the Seminar, I want to share a few resources that participants were sent last week: resources for further engagement to advance just migration for all. You are welcome to share them with your friends, community, and fellow congregants. Perhaps plan a migration-related event and let your discussions spark some action.
Spring Seminar Statement - Throughout the Seminar, participants gathered in Collaboration Groups. The Combined learnings and commitments from each group were brought together to form the Spring Seminar Statement which calls the UU and UN communities to commit to creating a more just and empathetic world. You can also download a copy of the statement to print and display at coffee hour.
Seminar Theme Panel - Watch a video on UN Web TV of the Seminar Theme Panel, "When Crisis Calls - Confronting Climate Forced Displacement and the Global Migration Crisis." The panel features remarks from Bruce Knotts, Jenifer Fenton, Teresa Blumenstein, and Roy Gutman. You can also hold a screening of the video.
Seminar Leadership - We're already accepting applications for Youth and Adult Deans to lead next year's Intergenerational Spring Seminar! Share the news with youth and adult leaders who may be interested - applications are due June 5th.

Coming Soon!
United Nations Sunday

Look out for a resource packet to be sent around in early June for United Nations Sunday. The UN Sunday theme matches the theme of that year’s Intergenerational Spring Seminar, so the resources will all pertain to planning a worship service around the topic of refugees and working for just migration. The recommended date for United Nations Sunday is October 21st (the closest Sunday to UN Day on Oct. 24th!) which might feel far away now, but don’t be deceived! Since many church calendars are mapped out months (even a whole year) ahead of time, it’s important to get your UN Sunday service on the calendar now! If you want to invite either Allison Hess or Bruce Knotts from the UU-UNO to be a guest speaker at your service, send them an email right away ( or while they’ve still got plenty of free weekends to travel to your church this fall/winter!

CUC National Conference
May 18-20, 2018 - Hamilton, ON

Join with UUs from across Canada for the biennial conference of the Canadian Unitarian Council! The UU-UNO will be hosting a multigenerational workshop and will have a table - be sure to stop by!
Sunday, May 20th, 2018 2:15pm - 3:45pm
Workshop: "Education for Global Citizenship" - Featured speakers: Bruce Knotts (UU-UNO), Neal Cameron (Think Equal Canada)
Education is recognized globally as a human right; however, the nature of the education a person receives is just as important. In order to foster truly inclusive and just societies, education must include social and emotional learning, equipping people of all ages to understand and value equality, respect, and justice. The discussion will talk about how this kind of education will foster gender equality, reduce violence and bigotry, and foster multiculturalism. The discussion includes Q&A and interactive activity.

UUA General Assembly
June 20-24, 2018 - Kansas City, MO

This year's UUA General Assembly will be largely focused around skill-building and networking. You can take a look at the preliminary schedule of events and programming in store at Of particular note: Preparation Resources will help those attending to prepare for General Assembly in a few different areas - even if you've been before, make sure you're GA ready!
Here's a list of International programs to look for at UUA General Assembly which we'll be involved with:

RSVP here to let me know if you're going to make it to GA this year. You can also find us at the International Office booth within the UUA Expressway in the Exhibit Hall!

Reimagining Interfaith Cooperation
July 29 - August 1, 2018 - Washington, DC

This is an incredible chance to get to know interfaith organizers from around the world for networking, spiritual engagement, and skill-building. There are multiple program tracks that speak to activism in the current global political moment, plus a Kids' Track!

Registration is just $100 for Young Adults and children age 6+.

The Regular Registration rate of $365 is extended until June 1st. After that, Late Registration is $400 and closes June 25.

From the International Blog

New Technology and Nuclear Weapon Risks

By Joanne Dufour, UU-UNO Disarmament Volunteer & Envoy

The following is a summary of a paper delivered by a UN staff member to a meeting of Non-Governmental Organizations at the United Nations. The portions in italics were added by this blogger. One of the most important norms related to international peace and security created......

The Intergenerational Spring Seminar on Migration "When Crisis Calls" - What We Learned

By Jerald Ross, UU-UNO Envoy from First Parish in Bedford, MA

There are more people displaced from their homes due to war, violence, and natural disasters today than at any other time in history, even more than at the end of World War II. That was the first of many shocking things we learned when members of First Parish Bedford (MA) UU .......

Sowing Seeds of Change at the United Nations

By JoAnne McClure, Women's Rights Program Intern

The speech text below was presented as an introduction to a panel event sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office and the NGO Committee on Human Rights as part of the 62nd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women NGO forum. The event, entitled .......

Chemical Weapons and the Efforts to Control and Destroy Them

By Joanne Dufour, UU-UNO Disarmament Volunteer & Envoy

Toxic weapons made of chemicals are nothing new. They’ve been around for thousands of years as poisoned arrows, lethal smoke, or noxious fumes, but -- following their use-- they were eventually considered too cruel and unfair for "civilized battle," and efforts were made to ban.......

News: United Nations
Keep yourself and your congregation informed about important news coming from the UN
Informal Economy - A recent study by the UN International Labour Organization said that nearly two-thirds of the global workforce is in the "informal" economy. The great majority (93%) of those in informal employment is in emerging and developing countries. Everywhere, it means a lack of social protection, rights at work, and decent working conditions for these workers.

Korean Peace & Security - Following Friday’s summit between the leaders of North and South Korea, Secretary-General António Guterres and other top officials expressed hope that the two countries would swiftly implement all agreed actions, including ridding the Peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Rohingya Refugees - The lives of tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees hang in the balance as monsoon and cyclone seasons threaten camps in southern Bangladesh, the United Nations migration agency warned Friday, appealing for urgent financial support to prepare the area against floods and landslides.

Structural Racism in UK - United Nations human rights experts have expressed serious concerns about racism rooted in the fabric of the United Kingdom’s society, given the disproportionate number of people of African descent and of ethnic minorities dying due to excessive use of force by State security.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT - Every two weeks the UN posts articles and videos summarizing noteworthy news developments over the past two weeks in the UN system. Find it here!       
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Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office
777 UN Plaza
Suite 7G
New York, NY 10017
United States