News and updates from the UU-UNO to keep you informed.
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Dear ,

What a time we are living in. The last few weeks have shown us that the world needs Unitarian Universalist values of justice, equity, and compassion more than ever. I know many of us will be participating in the National Day of Action to End Family Separation this Saturday. Many people are heading to Washington D.C. but local events will also be happening around the country (find one near you). On our blog you will find a message from UU-UNO Director Bruce Knotts responding to the United States' recent withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council and here you can find the UUA statement about the Supreme Court's Travel Ban decision.

As noted in the May Envoy News, there was no Envoy conference call in June (but check out the video from our UN Sunday conversation on the UN Sunday website.) Our next call will be July 18 - please RSVP here.

Though the applications opened in April, we have not yet received any applications for Youth or Adult Deans to lead the upcoming Intergenerational Spring Seminar - please encourage leaders you know to apply. (Chaplain & Planning Committee applications are now open as well.) See below and our Spring Seminar website for more details.

There's a lot of information in this month's Envoy News so be sure to check it out, and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

In faith, love, hope, and justice,

Allison Hess

International Engagement Associate


As many people are aware, a few weeks ago the United States administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council. The U.S. has been a forceful voice for human rights in the Council, and its withdrawal from that deliberative body diminishes the side that works for more inclusive human rights for all. The Unitarian Universalist UN Office is extremely active in human rights work at the United Nations and, with the U.S. withdrawal, our UU voice is more critical than ever. The UU-UNO will be instrumental in leading an upcoming conference later this summer to address repositioning the United Nations in light of reduced funding from the U.S., and addressing the need for multilateralism in our world of growing populism & nationalism.


Please complete the following tasks by the end of July.

  1. Share the highlights of your past year as an Envoy with others on the UU-UNO Envoys Facebok Group or the UU-UNO Envoys Google Group!
  2. Take a look at the suggested Envoy Timeline for the year, and start the planning process now.
June Review: (1) Meet with your Envoy team to review the past year's action and set goals for 2018-19 (2) Get a UN Sunday service on the calendar & invite a guest preacher.  
Photo by Isaac Humphrie
A look behind, a look ahead

June 5-10: UNO Director Bruce Knotts in Taiwan to address World League of Freedom & Democracy.

June 20: World Refugee Day - check out UNICEF's World Refugee Day Toolkit.

June 20-24: UUA General Assembly in Kansas City, MO (Photo above from International Reception - see more!)

June 30: National Day of Action to End Family Separation - Families Belong Together Rallies and Marches.

July 2: Day of Action in San Diego with Mijente to Free our Future & Abolish ICE.

July 9-18: High Level Political Forum at the United Nations to advance the SDGs.

July 29-August 1: Reimagining Interfaith Cooperation conference in DC.

August 10-13: Youth Assembly at the United Nations. ("Youth" = age 16-28)

August 22-23: "We the Peoples" United Nations DPI/NGO Conference in NYC.
Kent Price
The UU-UNO mourns the passing of Kent Price, a longtime Envoy and dear friend of the office. A memorial service will be held at his home congregation on August 19th in Castine, Maine.

Kent was a member of the Board of Directors for many years before the UU-UNO reintegrated with the UUA in 2011. Kent worked hard to help make that merger happen. He also staunchly defended the Every Child is Our Child Program (ECOC), UU-UNO's partnership with the Manye Krobo Queen Mothers Association in Ghana, to ensure that children made vulnerable or orphaned by HIV/AIDS can attend school and receive health care. Kent said at a board meeting before the merger, "If this program didn't exist, we should invent it. This is good work, which makes us a better organization for doing it." Or at least, that is what I remember him saying.

Kent's many years as an editor always added to the quality of the UU-UNO's written work. I know that members of the UU-UNO family sent him copy to edit to the very end of his life.

There was another quality that Kent possessed apart from his accomplishments and service to others. He was a good, decent, and very kind man. His quality of kindness and compassion infused everything he did and said. His loss is bitter to all of us who knew him. He was a shining light of goodness and we miss him.

-Bruce Knotts, UU-UNO Director


The following "Time to Act" suggestions for January 2018 will be related to the Eleventh Sustainable Development Goal: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable - focusing on target 11.2 (By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.) SDG 11? WHY IT MATTERS!

  • Gather a group from your congregation to assess the accessibility and affordability of your local public transportation, especially for those listed in target 11.2 above. Bring people from the community together to raise these issues with the local leadership and keep pressing for change.


Unitarian Universalist congregations are invited to dedicate one worship service in the year to our sixth principle’s call for a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all by hosting a United Nations Sunday service. We have put together a packet of resources and information to help congregations plan a UN Sunday service pertaining to this year’s theme: Advancing Just Migration for All. Download the packet at, where you can also find a wealth of other resources that didn't make it into the packet (including the video from our UN Sunday conversation with Envoys). The recommended date for UN Sunday is Oct. 21, 2018.


Dear Envoys,

We have recently come back from the UUA GA in Kansas City. It was moving and inspiring to see our fellow UUs work to dismantle white supremacy and structural racism. Many of us internationalists want this work related to global imperialism and colonialism. I have lived, worked, and travelled in Africa and Asia and see the scars and trauma that remains from current borders set by colonial powers which suited them, but not the people who have to live within those borders today. The anti-immigrant feeling, the racism and white supremacy in the USA, have their corresponding equivalents in other places around the world. Being in conversation with an African, Asian, or South American whose country is grappling with imperialism and colonialism and an American of color or immigrant who suffers from racialized and religious bigotry can produce answers and ways to solve problems which will not be apparent when we only converse within the silos of our nation states.

As part of the disturbing trend in nationalism, the United States has withdrawn again from the Human Rights Council because the U.S. government does not like views expressed by member states about the behavior of Israel. See my recent response on our blog. Rather than staying in conversation and defending our point of view, we have left in high dudgeon. The UN and its Human Rights Council are places where differing points of view can be freely expressed, discussed, and refuted. It is disturbing that the USA refuses to participate.

I am a member of the NGO Security Council Working Group which meets with the Permanent Representatives of all the member states represented in the UN Security Council, including the five permanent members and 10 elected members. The only Permanent Representative of a Security Council Member State who has refused to meet with us since the beginning of 2017 is Ambassador Nikki Haley of the United States. We were delighted when last month she finally agreed to meet with us on July 10. Now we are again disappointed that she has cancelled (not postponed) her meeting with us. It seems that it's not just the Human Rights Council where the U.S. refuses dialogue, but the U.S. Mission to the UN refuses to meet with the NGO community represented on the NGO Security Council Working Group which includes such prominent NGOs as Human Rights Watch; Human Rights First; Amnesty International; CARE International; the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Unitarian Universalist representatives; the World Council of Churches, and more.

In this era of nationalism, the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) and the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, which I have chaired since 2015, will host a conference August 22-23 to discuss what Secretary-General António Guterres recognized when he took office and declared: "We need to re-assert the value of multilateralism; only global solutions can address global problems." You are welcome to register and join us. We at the UU-UNO value international collaboration to solve global issues such as migration, climate change, disarmament, global health issues, and more.

Thank you for your partnership in this journey.
Bruce Knotts
Director, UU United Nations Office

Unitarians and Universalists have worked closely with the Parliament of the World's Religions since its founding in 1893. The Parliament works to end religious bigotry, racism, gender bias, and others forms of intolerance. It works together to preserve our planet and its diverse resources. The Parliament also works closely together at the United Nations. You can read about some experiences at the most recent Parliament gathering in 2015 from the UU Women's Federation and on the UUA International Blog. Recently the Parliament and the UU-UNO co-sponsored a joint event on climate change at the United Nations.
UU-UNO Director Bruce Knotts is working to help plan this year’s Parliament of the World's Religions in Toronto, November 1-7, 2018. Vyda Ng, Executive Director of the Canadian Unitarian Council, and Rev. Shawn Newton, Senior Minister at First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, are working from the Canadian side to ensure this year’s Parliament is successful in continuing its role to further interfaith action to promote, "The Promise of Inclusion and the Power of Love: Pursuing Global Understanding, Reconciliation, and Change."  About 10,000 attendees are expected - will you be one of them? We hope to have a strong UU presence - contact Vyda Ng if you are coming to the Parliament in Toronto and would like to be involved in volunteering for the UU exhibit table.
The Canadian Unitarian Council submitted 3 workshop proposals and all 3 were accepted out of over 1,500 submissions! The CUC-led workshops will focus on:
  • The work the CUC has been doing on the Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation initiative
  • Introducing the Our Whole Lives program* to participants
  • Exploring the Welcoming Congregations program*
*Thanks to the UUA in generously sharing these resources with the CUC.
Find more at

United States Withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

By Bruce Knotts, UU-UNO Director

The Trump administration has withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council over what the Trump administration calls the Council’s bias against Israel.  First, let me point out.......

Poor People's Campaign & Cost of Military Expenditures - How Much?!

By Joanne Dufour, Disarmament Volunteer

This blog is in tribute to the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival in commemoration of the Poor People's March 50 years ago organized by the Southern.......

Working to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons - One UU's Experience

By Jerry Ross, Envoy from Bedford, MA

The very first resolution passed by the United Nations, in January 1946, called for the elimination of atomic weapons. The bedrock treaty for the control and eventual.......

Keep yourself and your congregation informed about important news coming from the UN
Refugees in Europe - UN humanitarian organizations welcomed the new deal on migration by European Union leaders, which calls for more Member States to take responsibility within their borders for those in need of protection.  

South Sudan - Recent engagement between the main political rivals in South Sudan is hailed as a welcome development, however the head of the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations noted that ending the country's long-standing conflict will only be achieved by addressing its root causes and ensuring that women, youth, and other sectors contribute to peace efforts.

Eritrea-Ethiopia - UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed a recent high-level visit of a delegation from Eritrea to Ethiopia as a first concrete step in the process of normalizing relations between the two countries.

HERstory - A new book honors United Nations women who made HERstory. The UN Secretary-General said that raising awareness of women's contributions is critical to correcting historical imbalances that have undervalued their presence.

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