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My Agenda Is Your Agenda

June 23, 2011|by Patrick Madden, UNA-USA Executive Director
With our 2011 Annual Meeting now in the rearview mirror, I think I can take a breath. It's hard to believe that just a week ago more than 150 UNA-USA members joined us in Washington, D.C., and in Arlington, Va., for our convening and Day on the Hill. It was a delight to "put faces to names" of members and chapter leaders I talked to or e-mailed in the first few months of my tenure.

I found the energy of our attendees very spirited and the dialogue very positive. The event had a celebratory feel as chapter leaders signed the new chapter affiliation agreements, had their photos taken and new chapter charters handed out – concluding our transition into the UN Foundation family.

Members had moments of inspiration from U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice and Senator Tim Wirth, thought- provoking discussions from UN policy leaders and pages of notes from training sessions on social media and Model UN. Our advocacy training brought a new focus to members on how critical our voice is with the current Congress. During our time on Capitol Hill, nearly 100 meetings occurred with members of Congress and their staff. Through it all, the best moments were found in one-on-one conversations as members traded best practices and networked from coast to coast.

I opened Sunday's plenary session with a simple message about my direction for UNA-USA: My Agenda Is Your Agenda. The work of the staff and our national office will be focused on chapter development and membership growth. We will be committed to developing new tools and adding value to our organization through new services and programs. I was quick to note that this will not happen overnight, but together with the UN Foundation executive leadership, the Council of Chapters and Regions Steering Committee, Young Professional leaders, and committed members across our association, we can build a revitalized UNA-USA that will strengthen the UN and its mission in the decades to come.

What's Next?

Like the city where it resides, the UN never sleeps. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been appointed to a second term and he has a chance to build on his agenda. The Arab Spring movement continues to simmer. Vaccines and food supplies are still delivered across the globe from Haiti to Asia. The UN is hard at work, as we at UNA should be too.

UNA-USA members have an important job over the next six months. In addition to the wide range of chapter programs and events (especially UN Day!) you have planned locally, the UN needs your help in one specific location: Capitol Hill. You will hear from UNA-USA about legislation and annual funding bills that affect the world body. We will need you to take action to contact your members of Congress. They need to hear from you – their constituents – that UN funding matters, that the U.S. leadership in the UN is vital, and that you – their constituents – are watching how they vote. We will provide you with instructions on what, when, and how to contact them. I know you'll help UNA-USA and the UN with this effort.

My last request? Keep us informed by emailing membership@unausa.org to let UNA's national staff know about your events and programs. We want to make sure that we add it to our national calendar and spread the word of what you are doing.
Labels: From the Executive Director, World Bulletin