News and updates from the UU-UNO to keep you informed.
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June/July 2017

Dear ,

Now that UUA General Assembly is finished (you can read/watch more about GA 2017 online!) it's good to get into the swing of summer programs at the United Nations. Like us, I know many of you were following the recent UN nuclear ban treaty - or as the conference was known officially, the "United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination" - which took place June 15-July 7th at UN Headquarters. The treaty has been adopted! It will be a long way until nuclear weapons are truly gone from the face of the earth, but now they're illegal which is a huge step. More on the treaty below - see blogs!

You may remember last August we moved from bi-monthly to monthly Envoy conference calls. Normally I send the call minutes out in the Envoy News at the end of the month, but since I always combine the June and July Envoy News, the schedule's a bit off! That's why today I'm sharing the minutes from two months of calls. Here are the June minutes from our calls last month, and here are the July minutes from our calls earlier this week! Our next calls will be in August - you can RSVP here.

One thing that came from the June Envoy conference call was the creation of a UU-UNO Envoys Google Group! If you wish to join the Google Group (I encourage all to join!) please find instructions here to join and use. That group can be used (in addition to the Facebook Group) as a mechanism for conversation between Envoys. Please use it respectfully; it has the potential to be a very useful tool for sharing advice, information, and ideas.

In faith, love, hope, and justice,

Allison Hess

International Engagement Associate


In October, congregations are encouraged to hold a service dedicated to talking about the UU-UNO and the United Nations! This year's recommended date is October 22nd. The UN Sunday service resource packet is online and ready for you to get planning!


Please complete the following tasks by the end of August.

  1. Send me (via email the date of your UN Sunday Service. Bruce and I still have dates open if you'd like us to come speak!

  2. Share information about Planning Committee applications for the 2018 Intergenerational Spring Seminar.
June/July Review: (1) Meet with your Envoy Team to set goals for the coming year (2) Start planning for UN Sunday by inviting a guest speaker. 


The United Nations has just banned nuclear weapons! The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted on July 7th, 2017 and makes illegal all production, testing, use, or threats of nuclear weapons under international law. While this will not immediately rid the world of nuclear weapons, we should celebrate this crucial step toward achieving the long-term goal of global nuclear disarmament! The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office, as part of the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security is proud to have been part of this effort to establish the Treaty and will continue working at the United Nations to achieve the goals set forth in the Treaty.

June 17: Women's March & Rally to Ban the Bomb

June 21-25: UUA General Assembly in New Orleans, LA

June 27: UNO Director Bruce Knotts speaks at "Unlearning Intolerance: National and International Perspectives on Global Citizenship Education" at UN Headquarters.

July 13: UU-UNO panel discussion: "Gender Equality and Violent Extremism" at UN Church Center.

August 1: Intergenerational Dialogues on the Sustainable Development Goals - NGO/DPI event.

August 9-12: Youth Assembly at the United Nations.

The following "Time to Act" suggestions for July 2017 will be related to the Second Sustainable Development Goal:
 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture - focusing on target 2.3: By 2030, double the agricultural productivity of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers...

  • Shop local at your farmer's marketAdvertise your local farmer's market and encourage your congregation to take a trip there, and learn about local farming or volunteer there.
  • Sign up for a CSA share - As part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA),  you pay a fixed price for the season and get produce delivered to you from small local farms. Find a local CSA, share your produce and have a sign-up during coffee hour. 
  • Other resourcesEnd Hunger Toolkit. Or hold a film screening and start a discussion about the state of hunger in your community and the world - try A Place at the Table or We Feed the World.
Intergenerational Spring Seminar 2018
April 4-7, 2018 - New York, NY
The planning has already begun for next April's Intergenerational Spring Seminar - the theme will be on refugees and the global migration crisis. Be sure to mark your calendar now: NYC April 4-7, 2018! 
Applications are now open for Youth Dean and Adult Dean (due Aug 2) and for Youth and Adult Chaplains and the Planning Committee (due Aug 28) and are available on our website
UUCSJ Opportunity for Religious Professionals

Do you know a religious professional (minister, seminarian, religious educator) who is interested in social justice and international travel? Please consider sharing these upcoming journeys through the UU College of Social Justice - these opportunities will help them energize their congregation and community around immigration or climate justice!

The Border Witness for Religious Leaders "Solidarity Through Sanctuary" will be a transformative experience at the US/Mexico border. If you are wondering how your congregation can be involved in reducing the impact of the current administration's harmful policies and in creating safer, more just and welcoming communities, join UUCSJ from Oct. 30 - Nov. 4, 2017.

Guardians of the River: Climate Justice for Theologians is from Nov. 25 - Dec. 2, 2017 in Nicaragua. Visit a grassroots community resisting a gold mine that would destroy their sacred river. Learn, pray, and be inspired to lead your congregation and community toward climate justice.
From the International Blog
The Chechen Genocide and Global Fight for LGBTQ Rights

By Kate Mays, UU-UNO Program Intern
In April of this year, reports surfaced that the Chechen government had begun to out, detain, torture, and kill any Chechen man who is perceived as gay or bisexual. According to the United Nations Office of...
Inclusivity in United Nations Nuclear Weapons Treaty: Diversity & Disarmament

By Katia Altern, Racial Justice Intern
On Friday, July 7th, 2017, 122 countries approved a new treaty to ban the use, testing, production, and possession of nuclear weapons. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a ...
Why the 2017 Nuclear Ban Treaty Matters to Unitarian Universalists

By Jerry Ross, UU-UNO Envoy
Negotiations are underway at the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons. That is a remarkable statement. Last October the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to begin...
Gender-Sensitive Urban Planning: The Future of Safe Cities

By Amy Perry, Women's Rights Intern
There is an important issue relating to structural gender inequality that is being neglected. Worldwide, women feel less safe than men in public spaces. Issues of safety and perceived safety for women...
Human Rights in the United States
From Bruce Knotts, UU-UNO Director
I made an appointment and accompanied Rev. William Barber (right) and two members of his delegation to meet with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein (left) on Monday, July 17. Rev. Barber presented the High Commissioner with a letter decrying the Apartheid gerrymandering and voter suppression which disenfranchises millions of black, brown, and poor voters such that we get governments that want to rob people of health care, decent wages, education, and the basic tools for a dignified life. The High Commissioner was very interested and wanted Rev. Barber to provide additional information and documentation, which he promised to supply. The High Commissioner said that we too often point to other nations to criticize human rights violations while ignoring our own. He said that he routinely mentions problems in his home country of Jordan and that America needs to improve its human rights record in the ways outlined by Rev. Barber. Rev. Barber ended the meeting with a prayer to the "Almighty by whatever name we use to address the Almighty."
Gender Equality and Violent Extremism
Panel Event July 13, 2017
On Thursday July 13, the UU-UNO hosted a panel on gender equality and violent extremism. The event was cosponsored the NGO Committee on Human Rights and the Counter Extremism Project. Five inspiring speakers shared their diverse experiences working at the crossroads of counter-terrorism work and women's rights. A video recording of the panel is available on the UUA International Office YouTube Channel. Read more about the event here. An event recap will be on our blog soon!
News: United Nations
Keep yourself and your congregation informed about important news coming from the UN
Unsafe waterA new report by the United Nations found that 2.1 billion people do not have access to safe water.
MigrantsThe United Nations migration agency helped 100,000 migrants return home in 2016.
Sexual exploitation—The UN will continue to work with its member states to prevent sexual exploitation.

Displacement in the DRC - The United Nations refugee agency is working with local humanitarian agencies to address the displaced people of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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!       
Program Updates
For more information on any of the program areas, email with "Attn: [program]" in the subject line.
Women's Rights

After hosting a panel in July on gender equality and violent extremism, cosponsored by the NGO Committee on Human Rights and the Counter Extremism Project, the UU-UNO is working on a series of blog posts relating to women's rights. We ware also joining with the Climate Justice initiative for an exploration of how climate change impacts women and girls around the world.
LGBTQ Human Rights

We are currently looking at the issue of how institutions support the needs of trans-men and gender non-binary people who use men's restrooms, particularly through the idea of providing menstrual supplies in men's restrooms, as most places are required to provide in women's restrooms. 
Racial Justice

We are working on a blog post coming soon about the recently adopted UN treaty banning nuclear weapons and how it relates to racial justice. This recent landmark treaty, which was endorsed by 122 countries on July 7th, broke from the tradition of conferences that are too often presided primarily by affluent white men. We are also working on putting together a racial justice panel discussion.
Climate Justice

The UU-UNO continues to work closely with the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation on the topic of ethical eating and is pursuing collaboration in advocacy for developing eating habits worldwide that reflect values of sustainability, respect, and compassion for our planet and all the life it holds. Stay tuned for resources for congregations!
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Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office
777 UN Plaza
Suite 7G
New York, NY 10017
United States

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Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office
777 UN Plaza
Suite 7G
New York, NY 10017
United States