A cozy back room in one of Boston’s oldest gathering places was the perfect setting for the most recent event held by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston. On the evening of Friday January 14, 2011 guests bundled up and braved the elements to attend the networking meet and greet with Edward Elmendorf, President of UNA-USA.
The event, held at the Union Oyster House, was a successful gathering of voices from many corners of the globe. There was a warm excitement in the air that encouraged connections. Among the wide array of attendees were members of the UNA-GB Board and Advisory Council, community members and students. As a guest I could not help but feel humbly nostalgic as we gathered to share ideas and hopes for a more peaceful global community in the heart of the city that hatched a revolution for freedom.
During the second half of the event Elmendorf called on his 40+ years of experience in foreign affairs to provide guidance and inspiration to listeners. He spoke to the group about the role of the UN, the United States and each individual as we shape the 21st century. He called attention to the mission of the UNA and the many influences affecting global policies today. He especially emphasized the importance of each person and the power of a united cause. One direct way for us to get involved on a local level is to become advocates for a stronger UN and stronger foreign affairs policies. Elmendorf shared UNA-USA’s advocacy agenda for 2011, which included the 4 core issues of securing US-UN funding, advancing human rights through the UN, encouraging US ratification of international treaties; and supporting the Millennium Development Goals. These are issues that we all can take on and work to gain support for among our friends, family, and elected officials.
Following his speech Elmendorf addressed many thought-provoking issues raised by event goers during a question and answer session. He responded to both criticism and praise for the UN. One suggested book he recommended was Thomas Weiss’ “What’s Wrong with the UN and How to Fix It”, as well as UNA-USA’s official publication “A Global Agenda: Issues Before the UN.” In closing he provided advice to those interested in increased involvement on the local, national and international levels.
Overall the meet and greet was a great kick-off to the 2011 year! We are excited for what’s in store this year and hope you’ll join us, and join the conversation on how we all can engage on issues of international significance today, tomorrow and in the future!