In his speech at the African Union summit on 26 June, 2014 (UN Charter Day), the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the start of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the UN’s founding in 1945, under the banner UN70. The observance is planned to extend to October 24, 2015, the 70th anniversary of the date that the Organization formally came into being. In his remarks, the SG said “the year 2015 is a once in a generation opportunity. Our goal is to put people at the center and protect our one and only planet. Our duty is to end poverty, leave no one behind and build lives of dignity for all”. As part of the UN70 celebrations, The United Nations Association-Queens Chapter has organized an event around the timely theme of refugee rights to coincide with annual UN Day programming. UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being. The 24th of October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948.
One of the proudest periods in the history of the New York City Building, which houses the Queens Museum, was from 1946 to 1950 when it housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations. Until the site of the UN’s current home in Manhattan became available, Flushing Meadows Corona Park was being considered as the organization’s future permanent headquarters site. During the early post-war years, almost every world leader spent time in the New York City Building and many important decisions, including the partition of Palestine and the creation of UNICEF, were made here. Recognizing this connection, the Queens Museum is proud to participate in UN70 celebrations.
2-2:05pm Introductory Remarks by UNA-Queens Chapter President Pat Hollander
2:05-2:45pm John Solecki, Senior Policy Advisor in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office in New York will reflect on the UN’s work with refugees.
2:45″3pm Francis Madi, founder of Voices Out of Silence, a non-partisan group dedicated to using the arts to raise awareness and promote action towards improving the lives of Refugee children in the world. The group is member of the New York Immigration Coalition, she will speak on the attitudes and actions toward refugees.
3-3:15pm: Rosemarie Pace, Director, Pax Christi on “Why Refugees? Avoiding conflict and Keep the Peace.”
3:15-3:30pm: Megan Casey, Student and CERRU Dialogue Fellow, Queens College (Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding)
3:30-3:45pm: Combined Q&A for all 3 speakers
3:45″4pm: Theater Performances “ Monologues performed by Earsay actors Jonathan David and Riti Sachdeva from the book Crossing the BLVD by Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan featuring Queens refugees’ stories & Moderated Talk Back. Books available at Queens Museum Shop.
4-5pm: Light Reception Cosponsors: Great Queens Chapter of The Links, Alumnae Queens Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Flushing Rotary Club, Pax Christi Metro New York
About the Presenters
United Nations Association -USA is a membership organization dedicated to building understanding of and support for the work of the UN among the American people.
UNA-USA/ Queens Chapter is one of the chapters across the country that advocate for the UN by connecting with their elected officials and by promoting Model UN and GenUN, programs for young people. www.unaqueens.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is the UN refugee agency that emerged in the wake of World War II to help Europeans displaced by conflict. In 1951, the United Nations Convention related to the Status of Refugees was adopted by the UN General Assembly. This provided the mandate for UNHCR to help millions of internally displaced people, refugees, returnees, stateless people and asylum seekers around the world up to the present day. www.un.org
New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella organization for nearly 200 groups in NYS that work with immigrants and refugees. www.thenyic.org
Pax Christi Metro New York is a regional chapter of the international Catholic peace movement. It promotes peace and social justice through prayer, study and action. It is a pro-life movement supporting worker rights, immigrant rights and cross-cultural understanding. www.nypaxchristi.org
Earsay founded by Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan, is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to uncovering and portraying stories of the uncelebrated by creating projects that bridge the divide between documentary and expressive forms in several media. www.earsay.org
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