News and updates from the UU-UNO to keep you informed.
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December 2017

Dear ,

Happy holidays to all and congratulations on making it through 2017 – for better or worse, we did it! I hope you have a chance to rest and do something fun. I’m writing this from the Newark airport where my flight home for the holidays has been delayed about 2 hours (of course) and it is occurring to me how complex a process it is to coordinate every airplane departure and arrival, in the midst of constantly changing delays and air traffic. So I just want to say a word of appreciation for all those working so hard behind the scenes during this holiday season. Thank you to every one of you, those who don’t get to take time off of work, and those who are working hard at home to make sure everything is ready for visiting family and friends.

Here you can find the minutes from our recent December Envoy conference calls. We got to hear from UU-UNO Director Bruce Knotts about his recent trip to Ghana where he visited the Every Child is Our Child program. You can read more about that and see some pictures on our blog (also below in the blogs section!). Also in the blogs section – check out the articles written by some of the interns in our office relating to a couple of December international holidays, Human Rights Day Dec. 10th and International Migrants Day Dec. 18th.

Our next conference call will be in mid-January. On this first Envoy Call of the new year, I’m excited to try something new: on many of the calls moving forward, I’ll be inviting Envoys to share their skills and knowledge with their fellow Envoys so that we can all learn from one another. The January call will feature Bill McPherson, Envoy at University Unitarian Church in Seattle, WA - he will speak about climate change action and the Paris Agreement in the time of U.S. withdrawal. Please RSVP here if you plan to attend! Keep an eye out for more details in the coming weeks.

And finally, as we reach the end of the year, I invite you to consider giving to the UU-UNO in your year-end gifts. Support from committed individuals like you is what keeps our office going and will allow us to continue bringing progressive values to the forefront at the United Nations for years to come. Many thanks in advance.

In faith, love, hope, and justice,

Allison Hess

International Engagement Associate

A Racial Justice Guide
to the Holidays

Someone recently shared with me this excellent resource guide for considering the many different issues that can arise during the holiday season! Take a moment to poke around and click on any of the resources that speak to you.


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, 2018. The theme is Interfaith Action to Disarm Our Planet.

  2. Register with a group from your congregation for the upcoming Intergenerational Spring Seminar, When Crisis Calls: Advancing Just Migration for All. Registration rates increase after Jan. 22, so don't delay!
A look behind, a look ahead

December 1: World AIDS Day.

December 1-8
: UNO Director Bruce Knotts in Ghana visiting Every Child is Our Child program.

December 10: Human Rights Day.

December 13-15: UNO Director Bruce Knotts in Taiwan for the World League for Freedom and Democracy.

December 18: International Migrants Day.

December 22-January 1: UUA offices closed for Winter Break

January 13: Religious Freedom Day and 450th Anniversary of the Edict of Torda and recognition of the Unitarian church.

January 15: Observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

January 22: Registration rates increase for Intergenerational Spring Seminar.


The UU United Nations Office's Every Child is Our Child program has just finished its 15th year of helping children in Ghana who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS to attend school and receive needed health care. The program is a partnership between the UU-UNO and the Queen Mothers Association in the Manye Krobo district of Eastern Ghana - the Queen Mothers are formidable local leaders who are traditionally responsible for taking care of orphaned children. Through their dedication and through the generosity of Unitarian Universalists, hundreds of children's lives have been changed through education. However, funding is not guaranteed - it depends on us. Let's make sure this program can keep going strong for another 15 years into the future! $120 supports one child through the program for one year. Learn more about it at

The following "Time to Act" suggestions for December 2017 will be relating to the Seventh Sustainable Development Goal: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all - focusing on target 7.2 (By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.)

  • Start a campaign urging your local university or government to divest from fossil fuel companies as budget source. Check here to find the closest campaign near you and collect signatures for it. Look here to learn more about the fossil fuel divestment campaign as a whole. Share the UUA’s 2014 Business Resolution to divest from fossil fuel companies

  • Enter the Cool Congregations Challenge through Interfaith Power & Light! Cash prizes of $1,000 will go to the winning contestants in each category.

UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar

April 5-7, 2018
New York City
Registration is now open - rates increase Jan. 22nd!
When you register for the 2018 Seminar, you can get ready to form relationships with UUs of all age groupslisten and share deeply through Collaboration Group conversations; worship, reflect, and feel spiritually enriched; learn how to take action through your congregation to support refugees; learn from United Nations representatives and activists working to address the global migration crisis, and more! We're thrilled to be collaborating with the UU College of Social Justice on this programming!
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 for reduced registration and to apply to be a Collaboration Group Leader are now online.
This project is funded in part by the Fund for Unitarian Universalism.

Envoy Resources

Have you checked out the Envoy Resources webpage recently? There are lots of tools on there that can be useful for you in your congregational action. Please let me know if you think of anything it would be helpful to add to that page!
From the International Blog

Every Child is Our Child, giving orphan children the chance at a bright future

By Bruce Knotts, UU-UNO Director

I visited the Every Child is Our Child program in Eastern Ghana from December 2-7, 2017. The UU-UNO began its collaboration with the Manye Krobo Queen Mothers in 2005, launching this program which would go on to change so many lives. The Manye Krobo people had...

Libya Alarms World in Footage of African Migrants Being Auctioned Off

By Rani Allan, Refugees Program Intern

The fight to end slavery worldwide has a long way to go. Recent footage released in November by CNN has shown black people being auctioned off as slaves in Libya. Reports reveal that these people being abused were migrants seeking to escape to Europe through the North...

The Call from Pacific Islanders - Human Rights and Climate Change

By Mengluo Ren, Climate Justice Intern

The 2017 United Nations Climate Conference, COP23, took place in Bonn, Germany from November 6 to November 18. However, the real host of the conference was actually Fiji, a small island nation in the South Pacific. Because Fiji is constrained by its domestic capacity...

International Apathy Towards Rohingya Human Rights

By Katia Altern, Racial Justice Program Intern

With the onset of the most recent blatant disregard for human rights in Burma, it has become apparent that Rohingya Muslims are some of the most persecuted people in the world. The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic-minority group that is currently  facing an ethnic cleansing. They have lived in Burma for centuries but are not...

News: United Nations
Keep yourself and your congregation informed about important news coming from the UN
Increased Literacy - A recent UNESCO study shows that reading literacy levels are on the rise across the globe, giving young students a set of strong skills to serve them in their futures, as well as contributing to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Boosting Farmers - A new effort by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization brings capacity-building and technical assistance programs to small farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean, enabling them to reach new markets and boost productivity.

UN Reform - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has proposed sweeping reform to the ways in which the UN is managed, including moving from a biennial to an annual budget, and shortening the planning and budgetary cycle from five to three years.

Global Economy - A three per cent upturn in the global economy has paved the way to readjust policy towards longer-term issues, such as addressing climate change, tackling existing inequalities and removing institutional obstacles to development

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