UNA-USA 2015 San Fernando Valley President's Speech—David Tuckman

 

David Tuckman20,000 members strong in 135 local Chapters and Divisions in 43 U.S. States. Wow! This is the United Nations Association of the United States of America in the 21st Century. It is indeed an honor and a privilege to have served as 2009 Chapter President and through your confidence in me, to be 2015 San Fernando Valley Chapter Co-President and to work with a strong leadership team of visionary chapter officers dedicated to Peacemaking and supporting the ideals of the United Nations

Our world faces many challenges, including the on-going situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East, and the worldwide threat of terrorism. We know poverty still plagues literally billions of people and with the recent humanitarian crisis in Haiti UNA-USA has come through in donations to UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Red Cross and other relief efforts where our Chapter members contributed donations. As I speak this afternoon violations of fundamental human rights remain common in many countries & there is horrible violence around the world. In all these areas the U.N. plays a critical role. The UN is, by no means perfect, but, it represents great hope, & the U.S. needs to be a constructive leader at the U.N. and President Obama has said he supports the UN and has committed to full payment of US back dues to the UN, which I’m proud to say the U.S. has paid.

Our chapter continues a long tradition of raising consciousness about global humanitarian issues, building understanding and support for the UN and its important mission, and for strong U.S. leadership at the United Nations. Our chapter has engaged our members through sponsorship of many unique & thought-provoking programs over the years that includes: a recent program on Women’s Rights in Columbia, an upcoming Dinner at CSUN with Nobel Prize Nominee Jane Roberts addressing Women’s Health and World Population, a  ACLU Lecture on Civil Rights, The Patriot Act & Good Governance, and discussions on the Condition of Women in Afghanistan and their difficulty to procure medical treatment, as well as educational programming with a High School Essay Competition on the U.N. & support of Model UN.

So, what do I envision for UNA-USA and our Chapter this year and beyond?—Strong support of education, the Adopt-A-Minefield Campaign, advocacy for human rights, the environment and global health, among a myriad of other pressing issues. UNA-USA is indeed a force for change.

Our UNA-YP (UNA-Young Professionals), as a nonpartisan network of professionals between the ages of 21 and 40 work to promote effective US involvement in international affairs & the U.N. Through UNA-YP, UNA-USA is providing emerging leaders with access to resources and contacts that allow them to act on issues of national and global importance. Our Chapter’s UNA-YP has been a strong advocate for Children’s Hunger Fund literally packing food that was sent this past year to Lima Peru to impoverished children.

Our Adopt-A-Minefield Campaign helps save lives by raising funds for landmine clearance and survivor assistance and by raising awareness about the landmine problem. There are still 45 to 50 million landmines in the ground in 1/3 of the world’s nations. Landmines are indiscriminate weapons that maim and kill 15,000-20,000 civilians every year.

With so many world issues, we have an immense opportunity today to address Terrorism, Women’s Rights, neglected children and Human Trafficking, Human Rights & Global Health, &, among many other issues, the role of Peacekeeping and Peace-Building. It will indeed be a great year for the UNA-USA and our Chapter in advocacy and education.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work together to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”