DATE & TIME
Start Date & Time-
Monday, October 25, 2021
This year, we’re celebrating the UN’s 76th anniversary with a special virtual program, bringing together UN officials, youth change-makers, and the most essential piece to our movement—you, our members.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was nominated by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. to be the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations as well as the Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations on January 20, 2021. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 23, 2021, and sworn in on February 24, 2021 by the Vice President of the United States of America.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a career diplomat, returned to public service after retiring from a 35-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service in 2017. From 2013 to 2017 she served as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, where she led the bureau focused on the development and management of U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to this appointment, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (2012-2013), leading a team in charge of the State Department’s 70,000-strong workforce.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s distinguished Foreign Service career includes an ambassadorship to Liberia (2008-2012), and postings in Switzerland (at the United States Mission to the United Nations, Geneva), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. In Washington, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs (2006-2008), and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (2004-2006).
After retiring from the U.S. State Department in 2017, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield led the Africa Practice at Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategic commercial diplomacy firm chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She was also the inaugural Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University from fall 2017 to spring 2019.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield was the 2017 recipient of University of Minnesota Hubert Humphrey Public Leadership Award, the 2015 recipient of the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award and the 2000 recipient of the Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she also did work towards a doctorate. She received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Wisconsin in May 2018 and an honorary Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Liberia in May 2012.
Michele Sumilas, Assistant to the Administrator of the Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning (PPL), USAID
Dennis Latimer, Representative in Honduras, FAO
Besem Obenson, Representative in Guatemala, UNHCR
Cynthia Yue, UNA-USA Youth Observer to the United Nations
Rachel Bowen Pittman, Executive Director, UNA-USA
Rachel Bowen Pittman serves as Executive Director of UNA-USA, a grassroots movement of more than 20,000 Americans in over 200 chapters across the U.S. who are dedicated to supporting the work of the United Nations in communities, on campuses, and on Capitol Hill. Rachel works to maximize UNA-USA’s advocacy impact by guiding the strategic vision for the organization, overseeing membership expansion, and managing partnerships. Rachel works closely with UNA-USA’s National Council and Affinity Group leadership to spearhead new initiatives that support a strong U.S.-UN partnership.
Before she was appointed Executive Director in June 2019, Rachel served as UNA-USA’s Senior Director of Membership and Programs. In this role, she managed UNA-USA’s national programs and events, including the annual Global Engagement Summit at UN Headquarters, Global Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., and UN Day events across the country. She also led a nationwide fundraising campaign to provide education to youth in refugee camps.
Prior to joining UNA-USA, Rachel served on multiple leadership teams for several professional associations that represented lawyers, surgeons, regulators and engineers. In her many accomplishments, Rachel strengthened membership programs, directed rebranding initiatives and secured agreements with national associations representing China, Korea, Argentina, India, Peru, Egypt and Mexico. While Rachel has worked with inspiring professionals across a diverse range of industries and cultures throughout her career, supporting UNA-USA staff and members in their efforts to make the future brighter is her greatest inspiration.
Rachel holds a B.S.B.A in International Business from American University and an MBA in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University.
Paula Boland, UNA-USA National Council Chairperson and Executive Director, UNA-NCA
Paula Boland is an attorney specialized in environmental law and international affairs. Although born in the United States, she received most of her academic and earlier professional experience in Argentina. Paula worked for three years on regulatory and corporate compliance matters at the law firm of Klein & Franco in Buenos Aires. Her strong interest in the protection of the environment led her to the LL.M. program in Environmental Law at Vermont Law School, from which she graduated cum laude. Following a clerkship with the Environmental Enforcement Section of the US Department of Justice, Paula assisted a number of environmental nongovernmental organizations in the development of conservation projects to be carried out in Latin America.
Paula began her journey at UNA-NCA as a volunteer where soon she was appointed Chair of the Young Professionals, providing volunteer opportunities and engaging professionals and students in dialogue on the UN and international affairs. Paula joined the UNA-NCA staff, serving first as Program Director, then as Executive Director and has recently been appointed President. She has played a significant role developing and nurturing strategic partnerships, diversifying membership and expanding program activities. Paula serves as a regional representative and Chair of the UNA-USA National Council.