Hello from the United Nations Association of Georgetown! My name is Rachel Brooks. I'm a sophomore linguistics major at Georgetown University and the Deputy Secretary-General of UNA-Georgetown. I work with Veronica Dulin, Secretary-General and junior International Politics major (and co-author of this blog post!), as well as the rest of our board and members to ensure the success of our organization.
We are proud to continue the great work and leadership that was established during our first year. After a year of learning and advocacy, we’ve had a lot of really great experiences and have started to cultivate an identity built around core values.
“Youth advocacy:” the two small words that drove us to push our members to educate, advocate, and communicate on behalf of the United Nations and international peace.
“Youth advocacy:” the two small words that drove us to push our members to educate, advocate, and communicate on behalf of the United Nations and international peace. During our first year we used the idea of advocacy to build a base of people from all over the world interested in a forum for discussion. Facilitated by driven members and our location in the action hub that is Washington, DC, we found ourselves speaking to Congress members and their staff on Capitol Hill about peacekeeping, UN funding, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Comprised of university students from all over the country, and even some international students, we were able to speak with Congresspeople representing numerous states. It was great to establish a dialogue with those members of Congress who do not have the best record on the UN; we hope to make a positive impact on their policy by educating them about significance of the UN and informing them of constituent support for international institutions and treaties.
Later, while attending Members' Day at the United Nations in February, it became increasingly apparent that there are people from all over the country and all over the globe that want to improve the world we live in, and see the UN as a great vehicle for that change. We tried to inspire that passion for bettering the world by educating our members on campus. Throughout the year we held a variety of General Assemblies on key international topics such as human trafficking and the situation in South Sudan that produced resolutions based on our members' thoughts about possible solutions to these issues. We took these resolutions with us when we met with other advocates and leaders in order to share what the youth of the Georgetown area thought about global problems.
Additionally, we hosted smaller, more intimate talks about current news and a variety of events to educate our members and fellow students about the UN. Perhaps one of our greatest accomplishments was the honor of hosting a Universal Periodic Review Consultation to talk about human rights practices relating to LGBTQ issues in the United States.
In the upcoming year we are looking to build on not just our pillar of advocacy, but also on education and communication. We hope to do so by bringing more guest speakers, spearheading an advocacy project, and finally by establishing connections with other youths and campus chapters across the country and even the globe. With these three ideas working in tandem, we believe that it is possible for people outside of our membership and the existing circle of informed advocates of the UN to understand and appreciate our mission: teaching our members and community about the work and importance of the UN, and mobilizing them to advocate for greater American support of the UN.
Check out our highlights reel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DilBsH46IU8
Rachel Brooks, Georgetown Campus Chapter