Monthly update for Envoys from the UU-UNO
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News and updates from the UU-UNO to keep you informed.
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Dear ,

At the risk of being redundant (to the picture here>>)... warm holiday greetings to you and yours! Whatever the new year brings, may we meet it with the strength and resilience that comes with community.

You'll notice in the "Time to Act" section below I have shared some resources to for communities to use to take action to end trafficking. Human trafficking is an issue that intersects with so many of the areas we focus on: migration justice, gender equity, racial justice, even climate issues. As we honor End Trafficking Month in January, I encourage you to consider sharing and using the Interfaith Toolkit to End Trafficking from UNICEF with your congregation. (I was part of the interfaith group that worked on that toolkit last year, representing UUism!) Faith communities can be powerful forces for change - let's make it real in 2019.

As you know, the December Envoy Call was cancelled, but in case you haven't yet, you can check out the minutes from November! Our next call will be on January 18th - please RSVP here.

And finally, as we approach the end of 2018, I invite you to consider a gift to the UU-UNO in your year-end giving. Support from committed individuals like you keeps our office open year after year, ensuring that we can continue to make progressive values a priority at the United Nations.

With immense gratitude,

Allison Hess

International Engagement Associate

Some recommended text to put in your congregation's newsletter.

The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office's 2019 Intergenerational Spring Seminar will take place in New York City April 11-13, 2019. This year's Seminar, Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World, will equip participants with the skills necessary to be meaningful change-makers in their communities towards a more equitable and just world. Learn about working together to achieve gender equity locally and on an international level. Open to youth and adults age 14 and up - with special discounts for young adults age 18-35! Register by January 21 for lower early-bird rates. Scholarships are available to offset the cost of registration: apply by January 14.


Please complete the following tasks by the end of January.

  1. Submit a sermon or address to the Dana McLean Greeley Sermon Competition - deadline for submissions is February 1st, 2019. The theme is "Advancing Just Migration for All."
  2. Register with a group from your congregation for the upcoming Intergenerational Spring Seminar, Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World. Registration rates increase after Jan. 21, so don't delay!
December Review: (1) Add your event to the UN Sunday Services map (2) Look at Timeline for Envoys.
Poland's representative gives remarks at COP24.
A look behind, a look ahead

December 1: World AIDS Day.
December 1-6: UNO Director Bruce Knotts in Taiwan for annual World Forum on Freedom and Democracy.
December 3: Registration opens for UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar.
December 3-14: COP24 UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland.
December 10: Human Rights Day.
December 10: UU-UNO holds "United for Climate Justice" panel discussion in NYC.
December 10-11: Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in Marrakech, Morocco.
December 18: International Migrants Day.
December 22-January 1: UUA Offices closed for Winter Break.
January 14: Applications due for reduced registration for 2019 Spring Seminar.
January 21: Final day for early registration for 2019 Spring Seminar.
January 21: UUA Offices closed in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr Day
February 25: Final day to register for 2019 Spring Seminar.

Eryl Court
We at the UU-UNO are deeply saddened to share news of the passing of Eryl Court. Eryl served as UU-UNO Envoy at First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, ON, and was honored by the UU-UNO and CUC as the 2016 recipient of the Elaine Harvey International Justice Award in recognition of her steadfast work for peace.

Eryl Court was one of the most important people who worked hard to build the UU-UNO into what it is today. She probably worked with the UU-UNO longer than anyone else I know. She was a vital part of this office for decades.
Eryl was for many years the volunteer Envoy Coordinator for UU-UNO congregational Envoys in Canada. She made sure there was always a UU-UNO reception at the Annual Conference and Meetings during her tenure as Envoy Coordinator for Canada.

Eryl was charming and tenacious. She was persistent in promoting international peace above all else. She and I argued over my advocacy for sexual orientation/gender identity equality. She wanted to see the office focused only on issues related to peace. Though we disagreed, her persistence persuaded me to accept membership on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, which I now chair.

Eryl fought hard for what she believed, as do I. Our discussions always led me to finally come closer to Eryl's point of view. Another thing she urged me to do was to attend the Parliament of the World's Religions in Salt Lake City in 2015. I did not attend that Parliament. Rev. Eric Cherry represented the UUA at that event. However, in January 2018, I was elected as a Trustee on the Board of the Parliament of the World's Religions and I spoke at and attended the 2018 Parliament in Toronto. As I did so, I remembered Eryl Court's strong advice to me to attend the 2015 Parliament.

There is no doubt that the UU-UNO owes Eryl Court a profound debt of gratitude. I miss her. I wish she were still here to push me and argue with me. The world is a better place because Eryl worked so hard to make it so.

-Bruce Knotts, UU-UNO Director


The following "Time to Act" suggestions for December 2018 will be related to the Sixteenth Sustainable Development Goal: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels - focusing on target 16.2 (End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children) SDG16? WHY IT MATTERS!
DID YOU KNOW? January is End Trafficking Month!
  • Check out this new toolkit from UNICEF for End Trafficking Month 2019. It is designed to help individuals and communities take action by providing resources to educate, advocate, and build community around this year’s theme (Root Causes).
  • For congregations: Interfaith Toolkit to End Trafficking from UNICEF USA.


April 11-13, 2019
New York City
Registration is now open - rates increase after Jan 21st!
When you register for the 2019 Seminar, you can get ready to form relationships with UUs of all age groups; listen and share deeply through Collaboration Group conversations; worship, reflect, and feel spiritually enriched; learn how to make change locally and globally towards gender equity; learn from United Nations representatives and activists working to address gender issues worldwide; and more! We're thrilled to be collaborating again this year with the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice.
Be sure to urge members of your congregation to register early to get the lower registration rate - and remember, Envoys get a $50 discount!
The applications are now online for reduced registration rates and to apply to be a Collaboration Group Leader.
This project is funded in part by the Fund for Unitarian Universalism.


Dear Envoys,

Please accept my holiday greetings and best wishes for a great new year. You are vital to work we do together to make this a better world. You’re probably seen that I’ve been travelling a lot lately. So far this month I was happy to represent those values in Taiwan, Poland, and Ireland. In Taiwan, I delivered a speech which condemned the referendum which called for marriage to be only between one man and one woman.  My speech made front page news in Taiwan and many Taiwanese, including many in government praised the speech for making that point that the human rights of minorities should not be subjected to votes by the majority.

In Poland I was part of a UU delegation which participated in COP24 in Katowice, Poland. This was a very important UN conference on climate change. The task of this conference was to produce a rule book which directs the climate policies of all nations in accordance with the aspirations of the Paris Climate Accords of 2015. Nearly all the nations accepted and endorsed the IPCC report which calls on the world to hold global warming to less than 1.5 degrees C. Even the United States finally agreed with the outcome document. Most climate experts wanted a stronger agreement, but we worked hard to get the best agreement possible. We made friends and established allies for future meetings to ensure we have a safe and sustainable world.

On my way home, I stopped off in Dublin, Ireland to visit a good friend who is a Senator in the Irish Senate, or as it is officially known: Seanad Éireann. It is upper house of the Oireachtas (the Irish legislature). I was introduced to the Seanad Éireann and congratulated for our work to combat bigotry based on sexual orientation and gender identity around the world.

We face serious and sometimes frightening challenges. However, I am hopeful that together we can face these challenges and to prevail. Let’s work together in the coming year with hope for a better future.
Bruce Knotts
Director, UU United Nations Office
Advancing Just Migration for All

Did you host a UN Sunday service in October? Did the speaker give an inspiring sermon related to the theme When Crisis Calls: Advancing Just Migration for All? Please encourage that person (maybe it was you!) to submit the sermon for the Dana Greeley Sermon Competition! They could have the chance to win $500 and have their sermon featured on our website & social media. While all submissions will be considered, those highlighting the work of the United Nations and the UU-UNO will be given priority consideration.

Deadline: Sunday, January 27, 2019

UNICEF USA and TED-Ed are inviting young people to speak out about children's rights and issues faced by youth globally. Students choose from one of three topics to create a TED talk offering their personal perspective. The winner will be invited to UNICEF USA's Annual Student Summit to present their speech on stage!

UNICEF/TED-Ed Student Talks
Video must be under 2 minutes
pen to youth ages 10-18
Submission deadline Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019

One of the topic choices is Migration, so any youth who presented during UN Sunday or attended the 2018 Seminar can start from there in crafting their two-minute speech. Other topics include Sustainable Development, and Values and Beliefs.

Find more at

Report from COP24 Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland

By Bruce Knotts, UU-UNO Director

The steps taken by politicians at the COP 24 climate change conference will fall far short of the commitments needed to save our planet as a livable habitat for generations to come. People of faith must take action to preserve the planet.......

A Tribute to the UDHR: No Nationalism, No Globalism, Only Humanitarianism

By Debra Boudreaux, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

This blog is dedicated to the humanitarian workers of the world for their efforts to directly implement human rights values in working to disarm our planet.......

Creating and Working Towards Justice on Human Rights Day

By Allison Hess, Int'l Engagement Associate

This special 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an alert call to the world, reminding us that these human rights have been affirmed by all countries of the UN, but that listing them is not enough: they must also be fulfilled.......

Keep yourself and your congregation informed about important news coming from the UN
Migration Compact adopted - The United Nations General Assembly officially endorsed the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration this month, a non-binding agreement adopted December 10 by 164 Member States. The Compact is described by Secretary-General Guterres as a "roadmap to prevent suffering and chaos".

Refugees in Libya - A new UN report sheds light on the unimaginable horrors that migrants and refugees are subjected to in Libya as they make their way to attempt a crossing of the Mediterranean.

Hope in Yemen - The UN Special Envoy for Yemen noted that amidst a terrifying year for Yemenis, a successful ceasefire reached in December talks in Sweden between the warring parties bodes well for the prospect of an end in sight.

Global Health - A one-month-old baby on a small island in the remote South Pacific has just become the first child to receive a vaccine delivered by drone. This technology is presented as a great opportunity to advance global health.

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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777 UN Plaza
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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