UNA-USA’s Year in Review 2023

Events and Opportunities

Global Engagement Summit

On February 24, UNA-USA held a successful 2023 Global Engagement Summit, which included 570 participants in-person, 111 on a virtual events platform interacting with supplemental content, and more than 1,000 live views via UN Web TV. UN agencies represented included the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, UNEP, Climate Action Team of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, WFP; UNICEF, UNHCR, OHCHR, UNFPA, and UNESCO. Furthermore, UNA-USA facilitated the meet and greet between Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and award-winning country music singers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and their daughter, Maggie McGraw, to discuss climate issues and outreach efforts to engage Americans within the UN. Note: Faith and Maggie were closing plenary speakers for the Summit.

UNA-USA Fellowship Program

The UNA-USA Fellowship Program, which provides stipends to American undergraduates and recent graduates from underserved communities interning at the UN, is in full production. To date, the program has supported 11 fellows who were placed at the UN Secretariat, UNGA, UNFPA (NYC), UN Information Center (D.C.), OCHA/UNDAC (Paris), UNCTAD(Paris) and UNEP (Geneva).


In March, UNA sent a 20-member delegation to the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women to increase awareness on gender equality issues facing our local and global communities. Furthermore, UNA Women hosted a CSW67 parallel event title Women Know What Women Need: FemTech Healthcare Innovations & Technology to bring attention female-specific health advancements.

UNA Women, the UNA-USA Affinity Group, hosted a CEDAW Townhall to explores ways to adopt CEDAW in local and state governments as well as bring attention to critical issues related to gender equality and human rights. Guest speakers included Rachel Vogelstein, Senior Advisor to the White House Gender Policy Council, and Michelle Milford Morse, Vice President for Girls and Women Strategy at the UN Foundation.

Leadership Summit 2023

On June 4-6, UNA-USA held its annual Leadership Summit in Washington, DC.  There were 167 in person attendees, 273 online attendees from 33 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. During the three-day event, many UN representatives were invited to participate, including 8 colleagues from the UNDC group (Washington offices) from UNRWA, UNFPA, UNHCR, IOM, FAO, IFAD, UNAIDS, and OCHA.  The Summit also featured Ambassador Chris Lu and the U.S. Special Envoy on Global Youth Issues, Abby Finkenauer.  On June 6, UNA-USA held its Lobby Day, resulting in a total of 150 congressional meetings. Of the total number of meetings, there were 93 meetings in the House and 57 meetings in the Senate. UNA members held 10 meetings with Members serving on House Appropriations, 16 meetings with Members serving on House Foreign Affairs, 12 meetings with Members serving on Senate Appropriations, and 12 meetings with Members serving on Senate Foreign Relations. UNA members also met with 16 freshman congressional offices. This year, the Lobby Day included 12 Member-level meetings and 4 Member-level interactions, including pictures and drop-ins. 184 UNA members participated in Hill Day, representing 30 different states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Furthermore, UNA members participating virtually participated in a National Call-in Day, resulting in 34 calls to congressional offices in support of full UN funding.

UNA-USA held its first Congressional Reception where Congresswoman Sara Jacobs was awarded the UNA-USA Congressional Leadership Award. In total, over 200 people attended the event including UNA members, UN staff, and 13 congressional offices. In addition to UNA’s full funding ask, UNA members also encouraged offices to post in support of World Refugee Day, resulting in 13 congressional offices posting on their official channels.

UN Day 2023

UNA-USA chapters celebrated UN Day (October 24) using the theme “Equality, Freedom and Justice FOR ALL” to honor the 75th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. Representatives from the UN Department of Global Communications, UNESCO, Pan American Health Organization, and Bureau of International Organization Affairs at the U.S. Department of State were keynote speakers for select chapter events. In addition, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric de la Rivière provided recorded remarks for events.

Membership Achievements

Welcomes and Farewells

Himaja Nagireddy (she/her), 11th UNA-USA Youth Observer to the UN, launched the Declaration of Human Rights by American Youth and successfully hosted eight sessions to date with three scheduled this summer. These sessions included over 400 registrants in total and featured speakers from the FAO, UNESCO, UNICEF, U.S. Department of State and several grassroots organizations. Himaja also served as an Advisor with the U.S. Public Delegation to the ECOSOC Youth Forum and co-hosted a Side Event there in partnership with USUN and Special Envoy Abby Finkenauer from the U.S. Department of State. While at the ECOSOC Youth Forum, she had meetings with Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield and international youth delegates to the UN. Himaja also attended the High-Level Political Forum at the UN and engaged with leaders from the FAO and World Food Forum. This summer, she led 3 workshops at the Education First Global Leadership Summit in Berlin that mobilized 1000 international youth leaders. Himaja Nagireddy also completed her nationwide listening tour where she reached over 2,000 youth and participated in over 70 speaking engagements.

We said farewell and good luck to Himaja Nagireddy and welcomed Ose Ehianeta Arheghan (they/them) The 12th UNA-USA Youth Observer to the UN. To date, Ose has participated in high-level UN events ranging from UNGA to the World Food Forum in Rome, representing young Americans by sharing their priorities and what they expect from a US-UN relationship. They also started their Listening Tour and met with UNA-USA Campus Chapters from UCLA, Soka University and The Ohio State University. Leading up to the launch of the Declaration of Human Rights by American Youth, they also hosted a virtual development session on LGBTQIA+ rights and a virtual session on the SDGs with UNA-USA Global Goals Ambassadors.

Affinity Groups

UNA-USA Affinity Groups engaged members in thoughtful programming, networking and advocacy this past year. The UNA-USA Human Rights Affinity Group hosted a series of events to educate members on a variety of human rights topics and UN human rights initiatives: UDHR 101 Webinar, Fireside Chat on the UN Human Rights Council, Rights of the Child Event and UNGA Human Rights Recap Event. The UNA-USA Youth Affinity Group hosted a virtual event for World Mental Health Day, featuring a panel of speakers that included young entrepreneurs, mental health advocates and experts. This program discussed the importance of mental health for young changemakers, ways individuals can advocate for more mental health support for youth and resources for maintaining a healthy mind.

Membership growth

Leading up to UN Day, UNA-USA will once again launch a Plus One Member campaign, a friendly competition between chapters and members to gain new UNA-USA members, starting on September 24th.

UNA-USA also expanded its reach with the launch of 22 new campus chapters! Located at universities, colleges and some high schools across the United States, our youth engagement efforts reached new audiences of students who are eager to advocate for the UN and connect with like-minded changemakers.

The UNA-USA Young Professionals Membership category now has nearly 400 members.

UNA-USA x UNHCR Refugee Resolution

UNA-USA launched our collaborative effort with UNHCR to encourage both Community Chapters and Campus Chapters to host a UNCHR Refugee Resolution Challenge simulation, in which the final resolution will be submitted to UNHCR for review/consideration.


At the start of the year, UNA-USA embarked on a grassroots advocacy journey, transforming voices from across the nation into a powerful force. We advocated for full UN funding, earthquake relief efforts in Turkey and Syria, the Green Climate Fund on Earth Day, UNFPA and H.R. 4166, the Support UNFPA Funding Act, and more. In June, a coalition of 184 UNA members representing 30 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico painted a vivid picture of diversity and unity on Capitol Hill for Leadership Summit. Our annual Hill Day was a resounding success, weaving a tapestry of 150 congressional meetings that resonated with the heartbeat of the American people and the United Nations (UN). Our advocates left an indelible mark, holding 10 crucial meetings with Members on House Appropriations, 16 on House Foreign Affairs, 12 on Senate Appropriations, and 12 on Senate Foreign Relations. The grassroots spirit thrived as UNA members convened with 16 freshman congressional offices, sowing the seeds of advocacy in the next generation of leaders. Even those who couldn’t physically join us participated in a national call-in day, ringing the phones of congressional offices in support of full UN funding.

As we set our sights on 2023, UNA-USA innovated new ideas. The inaugural Congressional Reception in the Rayburn Gold Room became a special moment to honor our advocates’ hard work and where we also awarded Rep. Sara Jacobs the UNA-USA Congressional Leadership Award. Our digital advocacy thrived in 2023. The UN Day press corp unveiled the intricacies of UN issues, partnering with six UNA members on videos that garnered 589 likes and 9,853 plays. UNA members also etched their voices in ink, with letters to the editors published in the Davis Enterprise (California) and the Star Tribune (Minnesota), celebrating UN Day and championing UN funding.

The crowning moment came when the UNA-USA Queens Chapter received the United States Congressional Citation Awards, a testament to our relentless pursuit of advocacy. Congresswoman Grace Meng of New York recognized the tireless efforts of UNA-USA Queens, underscoring our collective journey through the appropriations process. As we reflect on our achievements, we stand united, inspired, and committed to advancing the cause of the United Nations on the grassroots stage, one advocacy story at a time.

Conflict in the Middle East

UNA-USA hosted a briefing with Jeff Feltman, UNF Sr. Fellow and former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who provided his perspective on the Middle East crisis to 60 UNA-USA members.


On July 11, the day that the U.S. announced its official return to UNESCO, UNA-USA hosted a virtual discussion with Ambassador David Killion (U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, 2009-2014), Melinda Kimble (Sr. UNF Fellow) and Jordie Hannum (BWC). More than 150+ UNA-USA members joined to hear the speakers’ perspectives on the complicated history between the U.S. and UNESCO and how to ensure that the U.S. remains in good standing by paying its dues.