by Jeanne Betsock Stillman
UNA-SNY Vice President, Chapter Developtment
The Southern NYS Division, SUNY Global Engagement Program and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., sponsored a program to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the United Nations. Held on October 27 at the SUNY Global Center, the program celebrated Global Goals / Local Leaders, and focused on Goals 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and 17: Strong Institutions for the Goals. About 65 attended from the SUNY GEP, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Adelphi University and SUNY Farmingdale, in addition to representatives of NGOs, Alpha Kappa Alpha Chapters Eta Omega Omega, Zu Theta Omega, and Tau Omega, and UNA-USA members from throughout the Southern NYS Division.
The program was moderated by S. Ilgu Ozler, who directs the SUNY GEP. Prof. Ozler explained how Goal 16 was directly relevant to the United States and the tie-in to the Division's ongoing work on Race, Criminal Justice and Human Rights. Troy Wolfe, UNA-USA Senior Director for Education and Learning spoke about his work and his recent trip to Charlottesville, Va.
Ms. Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director, Alliance of Families for Justice, spoke on Goal 16 and the work of the Alliance on advocating for prisoners and their families, including in the recent march from Harlem to Albany. Dr. Ruth Hassell-Thompson had been taken ill, and Ms. Elijah expanded her presentation (they otherwise would have had a "conversation" about issues).
Dr. George Garland presented Local Leader awards to Ms. Elijah and to Dr. Hassell-Thompson, with Donna Drayton accepting on behalf of Hassell-Thompson.
Dr. Schwank, Economic Affairs Officer, Financing for Development Office, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and Dr. Aniket Shah, Program Leader - Financing for Sustainable Development Initiative, New York, spoke on the global issues related to financing development worldwide. Dr. Schwank talked about SDG #17 and financing for it in relation to public and private resources. Dr. Shah spoke about private capital and the SDGs, and how the flow mainly goes from rich countries to rich and moderate countries. There is plenty of money worldwide to eliminate poverty, but the decision to do so is not there.
by Joanna Blaz, UNA-SNY Young Professionals Editorial Director
The United Nations Association Southern New York Division Young Professionals are co-sponsoring UNA Brooklyn's third annual celebration of United Nations Day.
UN Day celebrates the founding document of the United Nations: The UN Charter. October 24, 2017 marks the 72nd year since the charter’s ratification. The day is observed as a public holiday for all member states.
The celebration will include discussions on the future of the UN from UNA leaders, a reception with food and drink, and networking with Brooklyn activists and policy professionals.
The event will take place at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, on Tuesday, Oct. 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. Please RSVP on Eventbrite.
Nick Birnback- Chief of Public Affairs for the United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations & Field Support
Nick Birnback has more than 20 years of experience with the United Nations.
Munira Khalif- 2017-2018 U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations
Munira Khalif is a passionate advocate for women’s education worldwide. As this year’s U.S. Youth Observer, she gives young professionals a voice at the United Nations.
5 p.m.- Doors open
6 p.m.- Introductory remarks, Speakers, Q & A
7:30 p.m.- Reception with food and drinks
Co-sponsors include: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Rho Omega Chapter & Tau Omega Chapter; National Parks Conservation Association; New York Life-Mark Lewis; Southern New York State Division of the United Nations Association and Young Professionals; and 10x Management
Interview with Suzy Hansen, Author of Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World
by Joanna Blaz, Editorial Director, Young Professionals Program, UNA-SNY
At the United Nations Association of New York Book Talk for “Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World,” first-time author Suzy Hansen answered questions from the audience about her ten years as an American journalist living in Istanbul, feminism in the Middle East and the meaning of “Post-American.” The talk took place at the Institute of International Education and was attended by about 40 people.
Hansen writes in the same direct, intelligent and unapologetic style as she speaks, as she sets out to answer one main question: how does the rest of the world see Americans?
From the lyrics “where at least I know I’m free” to the way we dress as tourists, Hansen holds a mirror to the everyday cultural subtleties Americans never stop to examine, and attempts to understand when they started to seep into our subconscious.
“For all their patriotism, Americans rarely think about how their national identities relate to their personal ones,” Hansen writes. She often describes the country as an “empire” and presents the idea of two Americas: one viewed from the inside and one viewed from the outside.
After the Book Talk, Hansen answered a few questions for UNA-SNY YP.
JB: What was your impression of how the idea of the American free press and journalism is viewed abroad?
SH: “American foreign correspondents in particular do tend to have this attitude that we have the best journalism. That only American journalism is truly objective in a way, that it aspires to different standards than other countries… I think that Americans just forget to be self-critical.”
“[They] still have a way of looking at things that comes from being the most powerful country in the world… Even if you’re a liberal, even if you are self-critical, you have these kind of tendencies that come from power.”
JB: How do you think this book will speak to American immigrants?
SH: “A lot of these problems are enshrined in the immigrant experience actually. We tend to think that America’s so special because of the immigrant experience but one of the problems is when an immigrant comes to this country and they are starting anew, and they are told to forget the past… but it’s not just forgetting the past from that (country)… it’s that they don’t then realize that in order to become American, you also have to adopt the history of America, which is a bloody and violent history.”
JB: You were very self-aware about your own American bias. How did you keep your objectivity in mind while still exposing yourself to the culture when you chose the sources and locations in the book?
SH: “That’s why I kept the book so closely attached to my experience. I did not set out to report this book, it is all reflective.”
“I decided that in order to figure out how I had gone from being that person in 2007 to this person in --- by the time I started writing the book --- 2013… I just felt like I had to trace it. It wasn’t necessarily that I was going to set out and ask people ‘What do you think of America?’ Because then it wouldn’t be authentic but then also all the problems and issues that you’re raising would come up, like ‘Who did you select?’”
“But I knew that I had this transformation… there was this arc. And I just wanted to write a book that accounted for how that arc happened.”