UNA Chapter Spotlight: UC-Berkeley

By: Gabriel Risk Martins, GenUN Fellow for the Western Region

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Tell us a little bit about your Chapter and how you got involved with UNA-USA?

Our chapter is centered on two major pillars: a) educating students both within and external to our organization on pressing international issues and b) empowering our students to take action on these issues. We got involved with UNA-USA through our collaboration on the Intergenerational Model UN conference happening in late January, held on our campus. 

What do you believe to be the best thing about being a member of the UNA-USA community?

One of the best parts about being in UNA-USA is really being able to witness and be a decision making part of creating meaningful events such as the Adopt-A-Future Campaign that not only engage community members to step out of their comfort zones but also make an impact abroad. 

What are the issues your members are focused on this year and why?

This semester we chose to focus on 4 international issues: peace/justice/strong institutions, education, poverty and hunger, and social inequality. We believed as a team that these issues were among the most complex and significant issues that needed to be addressed. 

Tell us about this semester, what are some of the things you were able to accomplish as a Chapter? What are you most proud of?

This year we adopted a new model to our organization focused on not only education about issues but also on creating impact. The first objective we accomplished though committee debates, speaker events, and research project analysis to fully understand the issues we are targeting. The second we are planning to achieve through partnering with local organizations on projects that address the specific issues we have chosen to focus on. This semester we are particularly proud of our first UNA-Berkeley member retreat and mock UN debate, UN day celebration campus awareness day, and a Refugee Rights event co-hosted with Cal ACLU featuring a speaker who shared her experiences as a political refugee from Iran and her transition to America through Amnesty International. We are so proud of each of our team members for their work and what we were able to together accomplish this semester.  

Looking now into the upcoming semester, does your Chapter have anything planned?

For next semester, in addition to Intergenerational Model UN, we are targeting our second pillar by executing change-driving projects with our partner organizations. The year would culminate in an executive presentation of our work highlighting the major breakthroughs we have made in the semester. In addition, we plan to continue holding on campus events engaging our campus community in awareness and advocacy.

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