“The unprecedented number of college students attending this yearâ€™s event is a direct reflection of the countryâ€™s largest generation speaking up for continued and consistent U.S. engagement at the UN.â€� – UNA-USA Executive Director Chris Whatley
NEW YORK February 23, 2018
A historic number of Americans will show their support for the United Nations today at the United Nations Association of the United States of Americaâ€™s (UNA-USA) Global Engagement Summit (previously known as Membersâ€™ Day) at UN Headquarters in New York City.
With over 1,800 attendees expected from 42 states (as well as D.C. and the Virgin Islands), including a record number of college students from 103 schools, the Global Engagement Summit will be the largest-ever assembly of Americans gathered in support of the UN.
â€œIf there is one thing Americans from all age groups and both major political parties agree on, it is the value of the United Nations,â€� said UNA-USA Executive Director Chris Whatley. â€œSpecifically, the unprecedented number of college students attending this yearâ€™s event is a direct reflection of the countryâ€™s largest generation speaking up for continued and consistent U.S. engagement at the UN.â€�
The convening takes place during a pivotal moment for the world and the U.S.-UN relationship. The planet is currently facing numerous humanitarian emergencies and the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Meanwhile, several key UN priorities and agencies are under threat both on Capitol Hill and at the White House, with proposed sharp cuts to the international affairs budget, which would significantly impact the UNâ€™s ability to help the U.S. achieve critical foreign policy and national security goals.
Yet despite the division in Washington, research shows that American voters registered in both major parties and across all age groups agree that sustained U.S. leadership at the UN is vital. A nationwide poll released in October 2017 by the Better World Campaign, UNA-USAâ€™s sister organization, found that a vast majority of Americans â€” 88 percent â€” believe it is important for the U.S. to maintain an active role at the UN, with support for the UN among millennials even stronger at 92 percent.
â€œIn an increasingly complex world, we need organizations like the United Nations to help the U.S. respond to global challenges that we shouldnâ€™t have to handle alone,â€� said UNA-USA National Council Chair Teta Banks. â€œToday UNA-USA members are coming together to harness our collective voice in support of a strong U.S.-UN partnership.â€�
During the summit, UN advocates will participate in a series of dynamic and informative discussions on the critical issues facing the UN and the world, like refugees, human rights, and climate change. Event attendees will also contact U.S. leaders, including their Members of Congress, in support of full funding for the UN and strong U.S.-UN relations.
Speakers at the event include: Her Excellency Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Ambassador Kelley Eckels Currie, U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs, U.S. Mission to the United Nations; His Excellency Miroslav LajÄ�Ã¡k, President of the UN General Assembly; Jeffrey Sachs, Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network; and Munira Khalif, U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations.
The complete agenda with a list of all speakers and their biographies can be found online at: unausa.org/GES2018.
The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is a 50-state grassroots organization dedicated to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. For 70 years UNA-USA has worked to accomplish its mission through its national network of Chapters, youth engagement, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. UNA-USA is a program of the United Nations Foundation.
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