Articles By Our Members

 

Red Cross Fundamental Principles are embraced & Shared with the world: Red Cross joins United States/United Nations Consultative Session with delegation representing America.

By David Tuckman Writer

January 2014

 

Photo slideshow from event

CALIFORNIA—Around the world, consultations are taking place to exchange ideas and gather views on a shared vision of "The World We Want”. The United Nations has asked all member nations to establish consultative sessions to determine the new set of humanitarian goals post-2015. The aim of the program is to invite wider participation in the dialogue about the post-2015 development agenda that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals and set out a new framework for the global development community. Through a nationwide consultation process the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is gathering views from Americans about what they want for themselves and the global community. Among the American delegates are 10 American Red Cross volunteers from Red Cross Youth Services and Red Cross Emergency & Disaster Response who attended the California session December 7.

Close to 120 Delegates representing the public and major non-profit humanitarian Organizations such as American Red Cross, United Way, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts, YMCA and Rotary International are represented in the US/UN Consultations. The Consultations cover United Nations Millennium goals that include 1. An honest and responsive government, 2. A good education, 3. Better healthcare, 4. Affordable and nutritious food, 5. Equality between men and women, 6. Freedom from discrimination and persecution, 7. Action taken on climate change, and 8. Access to clean water and sanitation. The results will be recorded by scribes as part of the White Paper for United States to be sent to the UN as is being done from all UN member nations and will be used by the UN in creating the Post-2015 Millennium Goals.

Youth Delegate Aliza Makhani, Red Cross San Fernando Valley (SFV) District Youth President, served as an official scribe for Freedom From Discrimination & Persecution. “I’m proud to represent Red Cross in expressing the success of our Measles & Rubella Initiative in alleviating world suffering,” she stated. Like Makhani, Niki Etebari, SFV Red Cross Community Service Officer, has been a strong advocate in the fight to eradicate Measles and was the Red Cross Youth Delegate to Washington, D.C. to the National Measles & Rubella Conference where she accepted the National Award for top non-profit organization combatting disease which was won by the Los Angeles Region Red Cross as top fundraiser for the Red Cross/UN Foundation Measles & Rubella Initiative led by Red Cross Youth leaders.

“In all honesty, we have come a long way as citizens of the world and still, there is so much to strive for to make our world better for all,” said Najia Lodin, a Los Angeles Chapter Red Cross Youth Advisor and the moderator for the US/UN Consultative Session on Global Health.
Right before the consultative session took place, former South African President Nelson Mandela, a leader for peace, passed away. His close friend Emmy winner Sherry Simpson Dean memorialized her good friend. “This week we celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela with a moment of silence. He encourages me to create the film Power as he understood each individual has value to make a difference for a peaceful society. I was with Mandela in Cape Town in 1990 when he said, “I greet you all in peace and democracy not as a prophet but as a servant of the people and…I place my remaining years in service to you in your hands.” Simpson-Dean added that Mandela felt freedom and democracy is an idea in her film she embraced as Mandela embraced that day dancing across the stadium. “We celebrate his life and his spirit.”

We also celebrate the success in improving world health through the work of the United Nations and humanitarian organizations such as Red Cross. 60% of children in the world are vaccinated by UN Programs and NGOs like Rotary International’s Polio Plus which has practically ended the spread of polio in our lifetime and Red Cross Measles & Rubella Initiative has dramatically reduced worldwide measles and rubella infection. “The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon held a high level panel for 12 new goals along with Britain’s David Cameron. Our Consultation results will go into the US State Department world and lead to diplomatic agreement on US goals. Our goals are to stimulate unique conversation on the world we want in 2030 among a cross section of America,” said Chris Watley, UNA-USA Executive Director.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s official representative to the US/UN Consultative Session, Steven O’Dowd, Director of the Bureau of International Organizations Office of Human Security said, “We are advancing US policy and interests in UN Agencies and President Obama’s State of the Union goal is to eliminate extreme poverty within 2 decades. Healthcare needs to be accessible to all including emergency care. We are reducing child mortality rates and HIV and Polio and Measles and responding to disasters with humanitarian assistance through the UN and humanitarian organizations like Red Cross & Rotary.”

“Your contribution contributes to the report to the UN. I’ll take what you have done back to the State Department and give them input on what you did here today and it will reflect on the positive actions we will take as a nation.”

“With social inequality in the third world this disparity affects how the impoverished have access to aid after a disaster due to discrimination. We learned that organizations like the Red Cross provide aid to all people in time of disaster without regard to social, economic or cultural differences. We, also, learned about the World Food Program, World Health Organization and how the International Committee of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies come to the aid of the most in need when aid is needed the most,” said David Tuckman, Red Cross Mass Care Supervisor & Disaster Action Team Leader who served along-side Nelson Mandela’s friend Simpson-Dean as the Co-Moderator for the UN/UN Consultative Session on Freedom from Discrimination & Persecution.

With more than 100 delegates voicing their perspectives on the change we want to see in the world it is clear that what we do does make a difference. “What we do in Red Cross does make a difference and to represent the Red Cross fundamental principles and express them in the US/UN Dialogue shows that youth do matter and that our voice is heard,” said Agens Premkumar, a Red Cross District Youth Officer and Red Cross Youth President in Van Nuys, California.

 

Senate Should Ratify Disabilities Treaty Immediately

By David Tuckman, Writer

 

January 13, 2014

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has for a second time taken up the United Nations Disability Treaty in support of equality for all people with disabilities around the world. This treaty is consistent with our nation's interests and values, and the Senate should ratify it immediately. We will not get a third chance.

The Disability Treaty is an international framework for countries to embrace the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities. Non-controversial as that may be, the treaty actually fell victim to political posturing in the Senate last December – failing to be ratified by five votes.

This treaty was inspired by U.S. legislation, and it is frankly embarrassing that the U.S. has failed to join 126 other countries in ratifying it. In fact, the UN Disability Treaty was modeled after The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which values independence and respect for disabled people by promoting reasonable accommodations – things as basic as wheelchair ramps.
This treaty would not in any way impede U.S. sovereignty or change America's domestic laws. Further, as with all treaties, it would hand no power to the United Nations or any other international body to change America's laws. Rather, it would advance America's high standards for the treatment of people with disabilities to other nations around the globe.

For the nearly 58 million Americans—including more than 5 million veterans—who have one or more disabilities, global accessibility standards will help improve safety in travel, study and work abroad. That’s to say nothing of the impact for 1 billion people who live with a disability worldwide.
The time is now for the Senate to pass this common sense global framework on behalf of equality for all people.

David Tuckman

United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA)

Natl. Young Professionals Chair—National Council of Chapters & Regions

President—San Fernando Valley Chapter

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David Tuckman is an officer on United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) National Council of Chapters & Regions where he serves as the National Young Professionals Chair and is San Fernando Valley Chapter President. He is a freelance journalist in Los Angeles and ongoing contributor for ACROSSLA, Universal Journal and World Bulletin. He has served as a correspondent in Washington, D.C. and international correspondent in the Middle East, Netherlands and Germany covering internationals affairs

 

Ending Hunger: Real Solutions—YES-Really!!!

by: David Tuckman

 

December 27, 2013

LOS ANGELES— Nearly 1.4 billion people in developing countries live in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.25 a day. The world sees America doing its part to combat world hunger, but, surprisingly, more than one in four American children are at risk of hunger and more than one in five of these American kids live in households that struggle to put food on the table. In honor of United Nations Day and the United Nations Association-USA’s month-long commemoration, in California, the San Fernando Valley Chapter held its UN Dinner “Ending Hunger: Real Solutions” with keynote David Gist, the Regional Organizer for Bread for the World, October 28, at Marie Calendars Restaurant in the banquet room. Fittingly, the invitation to this free event read, “Hungry: Just pay for what you want to eat,” emphasizing that many people go hungry despite ample food supplies, simply because they cannot afford to buy the food they so urgently need.

Gist had lived in Nicaragua, where for 6 years he reported on international development and socio-economic issues and worked for a Nicaraguan Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that carried out relief and development work and helped communities develop leadership and identify their needs. He shared how airplanes full of food and medicine would land in Nicaragua to provide emergency food aid following a massive earthquake and the Nicaraguan teams would race to unload and distribute the aid as soon as possible so as to get out as much food as possible before the Nicaraguan National Guard arrived. “You’d think the National Guard was there to help the people—to help the relief workers distribute the food, but you’d be dead wrong,” said Gist. “The National Guard was there to confiscate the food. Nicaraguan leaders had to make a deal with the President of the country that upon landing the planes for future shipments of emergency aid, they’d have exactly 5 minutes to get out as much aid as they could before the [National] Guard got there.” It wasn’t the best deal but it was better than the alternative, Gist stated. “It’s tragic that when good people are trying to help their neighbors, they run into their own government working against them due to corruption. But even though corruption is a problem in some places,” Gist explained, “you still need to continue your relief work, because if you don’t, who will?”

There are successful U.S. Government programs under the Obama Administration, and one of the most effective is Feed the Future, which works with communities in the poorest parts of the world to solve their problems. “Bread for the World works to urge the nation’s decision makers in Congress to end hunger at home and abroad,” Gist said, adding that, “By changing policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, we provide help and opportunity far beyond the communities where we live.”

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are 8 basic goals signed by World leaders with #1 to eradicate world hunger and cut poverty in half by 2015. “In spite of the many advances in the last half century, 1.4 billion live in extreme poverty. The MDGs represent unprecedented support for the world’s poor,” said Gist, before leading a Jeopardy game show themed on Foreign Assistance.
The audience composed of citizens from Los Angeles and the surrounding San Fernando Valley were treated to Foreign Assistance Jeopardy as part of the UNA-USA event. During Jeopardy the audience  was shocked by the statistics. “Really, 94% of all U.S. food aid comes from the U.S. government and  only 6% comes from U.S. non-profit relief organizations,” responded audience member, Dr. Barbara Pampalone, who had believed non-profits gave a larger percentage of assistance. The reality is that, “the U.S. spends more on Emergency Food Aid than Development Assistance for Agriculture,” Gist explained. “That is, buying and shipping the food aid to those overseas wastes a lot of money on those costs, because the shippers aren’t donating their time and equipment, but charging for it.”

Finding ways to provide aid without the large costs is a challenge. Actress Marsha Hunt, who attended the UN Day dinner, worked with Senator McGovern on the commission to Reduce Hunger, worked with President Kennedy, and drafted the bill signed by Congress and signed by President Carter to establish a program on Thanksgiving where people give money to end hunger and poverty but they must give checks to end hunger overseas. President Carter gave his Thanksgiving Day address urging the public to give and he reached out to U.S. humanitarian organizations, the clergy of major religious denominations, and the people. “Sadly, the funds to keep this program going fizzled out,” said Hunt, who has high hopes it could be re-invigorated under the Obama Administration.

The Obama Administration is doing more than just food assistance. With improved routine vaccinations, measles deaths around the world are reduced and have declined since 1990 in Sub-Sahara Africa by 91%. The United Nations Foundation (UNF)--a strategic alliance partner of the UNA-USA--has partnered with the American Red Cross on the UNF/Red Cross Measles & Rubella Initiative and has shown great success in disease prevention. Gist praised the efforts of UNF & Red Cross adding that the Measles Account in Congress supports clean water wells and this effort makes a tremendous difference.

Talking of differences, with 16,000 children dying from hunger related causes every day, groups like Bread for the World, UN Foundation, and UNA-USA are making the difference, every day, hour, and second. Education is key and knowledge turned to action is power.

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Afghan Dinner Celebration Raised Funds for
ADRP Relief Efforts in Kabul

by Soraya Fallah & David Tuckman


The event was big, not just big but a huge success. Saturday, August 25th, 2012 highlighted participation of 200 supporters of dental care in Afghanistan coming from the membership of the Greater Van Nuys and Chatsworth Sunset Rotary Clubs and the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the United Nations Association, U.S.A.

The event was held at the estate of one of our veteran human rights activists and a dear member Barbara Pampalone. This evening was an “evening in Kabul ” where the attendees had an opportunity to learn more about Afghanistan, children and dental problems in Kabul. Our chapter along with Rotary International clubs hosted many guests and donors who all agree with Dr. Ralph’s mission.

The Proceeds from the dinner and silent auction raised much needed funds for the operation of the Afghan Dental Relief Project. The event included and Afghan menu, Paintings by Afghan artist Betsy Noorsey and well known International photographer and professor Mrs.Rita Nessian who provided photos of nature, poor children and women in traditional cloths.

Dr. Rolfe showed a video of the work that has been accomplished to bring dental health to the women and children of Afghanistan.  The co-president of UNA-USA of the  San Fernando Valley, Mr. David Tuckman  gave a brief speech to the attendees, welcomed and thanked the attendees in this event.

 

Dr. Rolfe’s Afghan Dream

An Update on the Afghan Dental Project
By Barbara Pampalone

Dr. Rolfe's Afghan DreamAfter the attack on El Queda in Afghanistan, The Dentist Dr. James Rolfe of the Santa Barbara area was inspired to help the widows and orphans there.  He felt our country needed to give them something besides bullets, so he set out to make his dream come true. 
 
The UNA-USA San Fernando Valley Chapter worked, about 5 years ago, with the Mid San Fernando Valley Rotary to raise $6,000.00 to buy a container and other expenses for the Afghan Dental Relief Project.  Dr. James Rolfe came to present a program later to our UNA group telling of the progress that had been made with that project.  And, about 2 years ago we again worked with Rotary to present an "Art of Afghanistan" program where Dr. Rolfe again spoke and $3,500.00 was raised. . . . more


 

No More Nuclear Power

Nuclear Power Uses More Energy
Than It Produces
By Dorothy K. Boberg
 

Dr. Rolfe's Afghan DreamHow much fossil fuel energy does it take to produce and operate one 1000 megawatt nuclear reactor; to mine and mill the uranium, neutralize the tailings, convert uranium to U hexafluoride, enrich uranium from natural U238 to U235, fabricate the fuel elements, produce the products to construct the reactor, build the reactor infrastructure, decommission and dismantle the reactor, clean up the site, dispose of the radioactive waste, build the vehicles, transport the high and medium level waste to long term storage and guard the waste for 240,000 years?

Helen Caldicott, J. W. Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith are three of few scientists who have analyzed the balance between the amount of fossil fuel energy needed to produce the nuclear energy fuel cycle for one 1000 megawatt nuclear reactor. It may be impossible for most laymen to consider a petrojoule of energy (1 million billion joules) and the several hundreds of petrojoules of fossil fuels needed for the nuclear fuel cycle, but it is not impossible to accept the obvious concept that it takes more fossil fuel expenditures for one reactor than the reactor can produce in it's lifetime. . . more