Houston Area Chapter
The United Nations Association-Houston Chapter (UNA-HOU) is proud to be one of the oldest chapters in the nation. In 1955, Eleanor Roosevelt traveled to Houston to speak on behalf of the U.N. to the newly-formed chapter. She also presented the U.N. flag to the City of Houston.
UNA-HOU is the local chapter of the national non-profit organization UNA-USA. It is a membership organization dedicated to building understanding of and support for the ideals and vital work of the United Nations among the American people. Its educational and humanitarian campaigns include teaching students about international affairs through Model UN and Global Classrooms programs, addressing the UN Millennium Development Goals through the UNA International Film Festival (UNAFF Traveling Film Festival), engaging young professionals in humanitarian outreach projects (YPIC), offering cultural educational events to bridge diversity understanding, and providing information sessions on critical humanitarian issues and actions. These programs allow people to make a global impact at the local level. In addition, its policy and advocacy programs stress the importance of nations working together and the need for United States leadership in the United Nations.
UNA-USA 2014 Annual Conference in Washington, DC
The UNA-USA Annual Conference was held June 7-10 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the 180 chapters nationally participated in forums, workshops, consultations, meetings and receptions. Executive Director of the UNA-USA Chris Whatley presented the Annual Report which reflected the growth of membership and programs. In the last 3 years, the membership has doubled to 18,000, with 9,000 GenUN (youth) members. Some of the workshops this year included "Securing resources for UNA Chapters", "Pursuing an International Career", "The Value of Partners and Members at Chapter Events", "Actionable Advocacy", "Beyond Model UN: Reaching and Teaching Students," and "Post- 2015 Development Agenda." UNA Houston President and newly-elected National Steering Committee member, Hon. Teta Banks, was a presenter along with Mary-Frances Wain, the UNA-USA Deputy Executive Director, at the resource development session. Among the keynote speakers were Hon. Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UN (via video); Peter Yeo, VP for Public Policy at the UN Foundation; Will Davis, Director of UN Development Programme (UNDP); and Hon. Thomas Pickering, Former Ambassador to the UN, Russian Federation, Israel, Nigeria and Jordan. UNA members held pre-conference sessions on advocacy to prepare for the "Day on the Hill" which was on June 10. Members met with U.S. Congressional House and Senate representatives to discuss the critical issues advocated by the UN. The Hon. Barbara Lee of the US Congress was presented an award at the Capitol Hill breakfast. The various meetings during the conference were held at the National Education Headquarters, the UN Foundation Headquarters, and the U.S. Capitol.
Cultural Dinner Series: Focus on The Caribbean
The UNA Houston and the Caribbean Chamber of Commerce partnered to sponsor "Celebrating The Caribbean" on June 6 at the International Trade Center Building. The evening included food, dance, art, music of the Caribbean by local and national Caribbean artists. Finalists of the Miss Caribbean Pageant greeted the guests. UNA members and other guests had the opportunity to meet and greet members of the Caribbean community and share experiences. The purpose of the Cultural Dinner Series is to foster cultural understanding among the many international communities of Houston. Recent previous dinners highlighted the cultures of Malaysia, India, Brazil, and France.
Global Classrooms 2014/Model UN: "Learn. Live. Lead."
The 2014 UNA Global Classrooms was held on April 5 at the Lanier Middle School. Over 300 middle and high school students from the Houston area attended the one-day United Nations mock session. The Global Classrooms students participate in a year-long curriculum on international issues and the UN, then participate in a region-wide session at which they implement their knowledge. This year, the UN committee topics featured were the following: UNESCO: Access to Education for Women, UNHabitat: Migration in Latin America, UNEP: Energy for Sustainable Development/Alternative Energy, and Security Council: Situation in Syria/SC Reform. Participating schools were the following: Burbank Middle School, Lanier Middle School, Houston Academy for International Studies, International High School at Sharpstown, St. Agnes Academy, and YES Prep Brays Oaks. The Secretariat was composed of students from statewide higher education institutions including Houston Baptist University, University of Houston, Texas A&M University, University of Texas, Houston Community College, and University of St. Thomas. Keynote speakers at the session were Hon. John C. Roberts, Diplomat-in- Residence for Southeast Texas and Louisiana; Hon. Edward Djerejian, Director of the Baker Institute at Rice University and former US Ambassador to the UN, Israel, Nigeria, Syria, Jordan,and other countries; and Troy Wolf, UNA-USA Director of Education. Planning for the 2014-2015 Global Classrooms is now underway. Visit www.globalclassrooms.org for more information and/or send an email to info@unahouston to sign up your student or school. Address queries to Sara Timms, VP and Education Director, UNA Houston.
"World Cafe: An Evening with Former Mayor Bill White" - June 18
The "World Cafe" series in partnership with the Houston Public Library will feature an evening with former Mayor Bill White in a discussion and book signing at the Houston Main Library, Julia Ideson Historic Building (500 McKinney Street) on June 18 at 6p.m.. Attendees will have the opportunity to talk with Mayor White about the social challenges facing Houston and the US as well as his vision for Houston's role as an international city. Books will be available for sale and signing. The Java House will provide complimentary international coffees. This event is free to the public.
UNA Membership Summer Social - August 12
The UNA Membership Summer Social will be held on August 12 at 6-8p.m. at the Arcodoro Italian Restaurant in the Galleria area. The event provides an opprotunity for memebrs to meet and greet , as well for non-members to obtain information on the programs and projects of the UNA-Houston. The event is open to the public. Free admission. Cash bar.
"Wines Around The World" -Humanitarian Program -September 26
The UNA-Houston's annual "Wines Around The World" Humanitarian Program will be held September 26, 2014 at a major art gallery in Houston, TX.. The purpose of the event is to raise funds to provide assistance to children in critical needs areas of the world. The social offers attendees an evening to enjoy wines from over 30 countries, art work of contemporary national and international professional artists in one of Houston's unique art galleries. Some of the previous projects have been the support of an orphanage in Haiti, the building of a water well in Zambia, and the building of a school in Oaxaca, Mexico. Our 2014 project will be the building a safe school in Colombia. Contributions for the event can be made for the 2014 humanitarian project on this website or by direct mail to the UNA office. For more information, please send query to email@example.com.
UNA Citizenship Month Programs - November
The UNA-Houston will participate in the City of Houston's "Citizenship Month", celebrating the rich diversity of our great city. In 2013, the UNA programs included "World Cafe: Town Hall Meeting on Immigration", " Consular Corps Reception", and "Wines Around the World" Humanitarian Project that assists organizations in alleviating global problems. Several of the programs were in partnership with the Houston Central Library. Check the UNA-Houston website periodically for future programs.
UN Day Gala 2014 - October 23
The 2014 UN Day celebration will be held on October 23 at 6p.m. at the Junior League of Houston, located at 1811 Briar Oaks Lane in Houston. This marks the adoption of the UN Charter in 1945. "The annual celebration is significant because it reflects the global diversity of Houston, the unique international educational programs of the UNA, and the importance and need of the UN to continue its mission of fostering global peace," stated Hon. Teta V. Banks, President, UNA Houston.
Acknowledgements of the work of the UNA-Houston were given at the 2013 celebration by Dr. Noel Bezette-Flores of the Office of the Mayor, Ambassador Cynthia Perry of The Consular Corps of Houston,Mr. Sam Merchant of the office of U.S. Congressman Al Green, and Mr. Josh Randle, USA Director of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
Special performances were by the UNA International Choir, Anjali Performing Arts Center-Samscriti dancers, and the Abatarutwa Traditional Rwandan and Burundi Dance Group.
Our Chapter’s mission is to educate people about the UN’s role in international affairs, how it impacts individuals and communities, and to strengthen US support for this institution whose purpose is to promote social justice the foundation for universal peace. UNA Houston achieves this through its various programs including Global Classrooms, UNA Film Festival (UNAFF Traveling Film Festival in conjunction with Stanford University), Know Your UN series, Cultural Dinners series, Young Professionals for International Cooperation (YPIC) programs, Advocacy Alerts and training, outreach lectures and programs.
Its distinguished Board of Directors and volunteers are dedicated to the work of the UN. Many of the members have served in some capacity with the U.S. government, international governments, the United Nations, the UN Foundation, and international businesses.
UNA-USA National Conference, Washington, DC- June 2-4,2013
Members of UNA -USA attended the UNA-USA National Conference in Washington, DC, June 2-4. The conference included UNA-Houston's Education Director Sara Timms presenting on "Global Classrooms" and UNA-Houston's President Hon. Teta Banks presenting on the topic "Effective Advocacy Communications."
Global Classrooms 2013-
Students from across the Houston area participated in the Annual Global Classrooms Conference. Middle school and high students studied a year-long curriculum emphasizing international issues and the work of the United Nations. The culmination was the Model UN session where they debated, developed resolutions and solutions to global crises.(See more details on the Global Classrooms tab and the UNA-Houston newsletter.)
The UNA-Houston sponsored the 39th session of the Houston Area Model United Nations (HAMUN), the largest session in the southern United States. More than 1,000 students attended. UNA-Houston former president and Legacy Member Mrs. Delores Goble addressed the session and shared her personal history and recollections of the forming of the United Nations. Students held UN Committee discussions, developed resolutions, and addressed global crises amidst the session.
World Water Day 2014-
The UNA -Houston partnered with Houston Community College and sponsored a one-day forum in recognition of World Water Day and the UN International Year of Water Cooperation. UNA-Houston Board member Dr. Sunny Tang addressed the conference. In 2013, UN Board Member and Advocacy Chair, Dr. Frank Elvin, presented a lecture on Global Climate Change. UNA-Houston President Teta Banks made a presentation on the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the initiatives of the UNA-Houston Water project in Zambia, directed by Board member Terry Stierman, Chair of the "Wines Around the World" Humanitarian Project of UNA-HOU.
Nothing But Nets and UNA-Houston Partnership-
The Houston Dynamo Soccer Team partnered with the UNA Houston and UN Foundation to advocate for the "NothingButNets" anti-malaria project. Donations from ticket sales went to support the purchase of bed-nets to save lives in malaria-stricken countries in Africa. Visit Houston Dynamo website.
Know Your UN-
The UNA-Houston sponsors the series "Know Your UN" under the direction of former UNA-HOU president and Legacy Member Dr. Anna Louise Bruner. The series is an informal round-table community discussion of issues related to the United Nations, its structure, programs, offices, and actions.
UNA-NASA Girl Up Program-
This program is a partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Education Division and the UNA Houston. The purpose of the program is to provide mentoring, academic enrichment, leadership development, and Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) studies development. Students are able to participate in local, national, and international projects, all with the goal of empowering students for development as future global leaders.
The "World Cafe" series is an issues and advocacy program in partnership with the Houston Public Library. Expert panelists discuss critical topical issues and engage the audience in a dialog forum. The program venue is a cafe setting in the international section of the library.