World Food Programme Awarded Nobel Peace Prize 2020

The Vancouver Branch of the UN Association of Canada (UNAC) is proud to note that the Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

In a small coronavirus-restricted award ceremony on Friday the chairwoman of the committee said that the award was given to WFP because it wanted to focus the world’s attention on “the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger.”  She added that hunger is used as a “weapon of war and conflict.”

In its citation the Nobel Committee praised the UN agency for its contribution to creating peace in conflict-affected areas such as Syria and Yemen. In a tweet of thanks, WFP responded “This is a powerful reminder to the world that peace and #ZeroHunger go hand-in-hand.”

The UN World Food Programme joins former UN Secretary-General the late Kofi Annan who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for revitalizing the UN and UN Peacekeeping Forces who received the award in 1988.

UNAC Vancouver is proud to acknowledge its board member Rosio Godomar who served in the UN WFP from 1991 to 2011.

City of Vancouver Proclaims International Day of Peace

The theme for the International Day of Peace, September 21st, 2020 is “No More Hirosima, No More Nagasaki,” recognizing this year as the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of both Japanese cities.

The City of Vancouver today issued the above proclamation recognizing the importance of this day.

The UN at 75: Time to Redouble Efforts for Effective Global Governance

Monday, September 21st marks the annual United Nations International Day of Peace, a day dedicated to the core foundation and mandate of the UN – maintaining peace and security.  The annual General Assembly begins, also marks another milestone, the seventy-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the UN Charter by the fifty governments who made up the UN’s founding member states. Tweeting in June this year the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, noted “[the UN Charter’s] principles ring just as true today. It is a much-needed guide to solving our shared problems. Let us now realize the vision of peace, human rights, justice and development – of dignity for all.”

It is the role of the UN Association in Canada (UNAC), as well as UNAs around the world, to empower and educate their citizens, and especially youth through informing them about the UN’s role, and advocate for the goals and ideals of that organization.

The first mention of the United Nations was in 1942 when the wartime Allied leaders conceived of an international organization that would ‘…save future generations from the scourge of war.’ The UN Charter, which came into force in October 1945 calls for the organization to maintain international peace and security; promote social progress and better standards of life; strengthen international law; and promote human rights. In the intervening years, the UN Secretariat has been joined by UN specialized Agencies such as UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and others, dealing with Human Rights or refugees for example. These agencies have focussed attention on some of the world’s most intractable problems.

The broad range of tasks envisioned in the UN Charter 75 years ago is as valid today as it was then. The goals, values and ideals which the Charter sets for the UN remain the capstone for a world mired in a pandemic, torn by discrimination, endangered by climate change and scarred by poverty, inequality and war. Every generation of young people in all 193 UN member states demands that the goals and ideals of the UN must be promoted.

In honour of the International Day of Peace each year the UN General Assembly calls upon the global community to participate in 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. On that day, staff in UN offices around the world from New York to Bangkok to Nairobi will celebrate the day with the communities they serve. Military and civilian staff from UN Peace Operations in diverse locations such as Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cyprus will use the day to advocate for the peaceful resolution of conflict.

At the UN Headquarters in New York the UN General Assembly will this year hold a virtual event. Because of the pandemic, world leaders will participate in the meeting through recorded video statements while their representatives will be in New York.  The theme will be ‘The Future We Want; the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism.’ It will focus on collective problem-solving and efforts to ensure that effective global governance is a reality when it is needed.

The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will also be taking center stage during the 75th anniversary commemorations. The main purpose of the SDGs is to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. For a more detailed view of the UN SDGs, please see the related article on the UNAC Vancouver website as well as the UN website.

As the UN marks its 75th anniversary, the UN Secretary-General acknowledge that many political, economic and social problems “are ratcheting up.” The organization itself faces a number of political and economic challenges yet it remains, after 75 years, a key part of the world’s response to those problems.

If you would like to get involved, please join us in sharing your views through this global survey and check out what UNAC Vancouver and other associations around Canada are planning.

Mourning Their Loss

The loss of 176 people from six countries in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS 752 in Teheran on January 10th has been felt around the world and especially in Canada. Nine of those who died were from BC, and two of them had links with the Vancouver Branch of the UN Association in Canada.  Past-President, Greg Neumann – an educator with the Burnaby School Board and VP of the BC Social Studies Teachers Association,  remembers them:

The Vancouver Branch of UNA Canada joins many around the world who are mourning the loss of 176 people in the shooting down last week of Ukrainian Airlines Flight PS752 from Teheran to Kyiv.  In particular we would like to acknowledge one of the nominees for the 2017 John Gibbard Award.  Zeynab Asadi Lari and her brother who nominated her for the award, Mohammad Hossein Asadi Lari, both perished in the crash and we acknowledge the legacy of work they left behind in their much too short lifetimes.

Writing about his sister, Mohammad said, “She is passionate about youth leadership, student engagement and community work.” For those of us who knew her in Burnaby, this was already very evident as she had created both the Science and the UN Clubs at Alpha Secondary School, participated in the school district’s UN Connections Club as well as at University with her role in the STEM Fellowship founded by her brother.   The Fellowship gave her the opportunity to work with the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and her passion for medicine led her to intern in Iran with the UN World Health Organization.

In nominating Zeynab for the John Gibbard Award, Mohammad wrote, “This diverse range of activities has shaped her as a caring and passionate individual who strives for a positive global and local impact on the next youth generation.” Undoubtedly, Zeynab Asadi Lari and her brother did have an impact on those around them during their short lives. We, along with their family members, can only imagine what great things they would have achieved had they not been on the doomed flight.

The Board and members of UNAC Vancouver extend their deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues on whom Zeynab and Mohammad left their mark. 

The Recent Rosemary Brown Symposium

The Vancouver Branch of the UN Association in Canada was pleased to partner with SFU in hosting the successful 6th annual Rosemary Brown Symposium on the evening of Thursday, September 26th. 

A large public audience in the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue was able to listen and learn from the keynote speaker, Joy Johnson, Vice President, Research and International, SFU. Additionally, Marion Buller, as the recipient of the Rosemary Brown Award for Women, spoke on “Reclaiming Power and Place”. The theme of the evening was “Women & Social Justice”. 

Thanks to Dariel Filwood for contributing the event photos.