Why We Care: 8 Americans Share Why They Support the United Nations
Did you know that an overwhelming majority of Americans — 88 percent — believe the U.S. should maintain an active role at the United Nations?
Despite this bipartisan support for the UN, the White House has proposed a budget that would drastically cut U.S. funding to the organization and its vital programs.
To demonstrate Americans’ support for strong U.S. engagement at the UN, more than 300 members of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) from nearly 40 states mobilized in Washington, D.C. this June to meet with Members of Congress as they decide on a final budget.
Here are the words of eight UNA-USA members about why they care about the UN and continued U.S. support of the organization.
Jennipha-Laurén Nielsen, UNA-USA Montana
Jennipha-Laurén started the UNA-USA chapter in Montana along with her mother.
On why she supports the UN: “It’s the only organization like it. I’m a conservative. The UN just makes good sense; it’s good for business. The UN is involved with anything international that you imagine, like food and postage. The reason why our stamp works from Missoula to Mumbai is because of the UN. The UN helps coordinate satellites and your GPS as you’re on a road trip, and goes into countries to provide vaccinations so we don’t have diseases like polio anymore. It’s because of the UN that we can live in this global world together.”
On being part of UNA: “ Although we come from different states, different backgrounds, different political parties, different histories, and different views, we have one thing in common: We believe in our common humanity.”
Megan Nguyen, UNA-USA Sacramento
Megan, UNA-USA Northern California Division Vice President of Advocacy, has participated in Model United Nations for 12 years and is an environmental scientist.
On why it’s important for nations to engage at the UN: “The UN has been around for more than 70 years, and it’s a platform for all nations to share ideas and collaborate. It’s already well established, and there’s funding and support, so it sets up a good framework for productivity and collaboration.”
On why she supports the UN: “The UN helps Americans as well as the rest of the world find multiple solutions across different areas. Whether your interest is in public health, the environment, or peace and security, there is an issue of importance for everyone that the UN touches on. And all these issues are without borders, which is why we need to have collaboration and a united framework.”
Mel Boynton, UNA-USA Pomona Valley
Mel, UNA-USA’s National Council Advocacy Chair, has been a UNA-USA member since 2004.
On why he supports the UN: “I like what the UN aspires to, and I think it has a unique structure. If we didn’t have a UN, we would have to invent something like it.”
On why strong U.S.-UN engagement matters: “The UN is a prime vehicle for sharing our values and increasing our security. The UN is a bargain for U.S. taxpayers.”
“Because we’re trying to make a better world, we don’t just stop at the United States’ borders — just like climate change, disease, and crime don’t stop at the border.”
Kelly McClure, UNA-USA Cornell University
Kelly, an indigenous American, is a family planning advocate for indigenous women and a recent graduate of Cornell University.
On why she supports the UN: “In an increasingly interconnected world, I think a lot of the problems that we have are going to require global solutions because they affect everyone. The UN uniquely provides a platform where every nation and every respective group can come together and find a solution.”
Cory Alpert, UNA-USA South Carolina
Cory, a South Carolina native with a passion for public service, helped invite UN Secretary-General António Guterres to speak at his University of South Carolina graduation.
On his family ties: “My grandfather was a director for UNESCO, so I grew up with a vision of the UN as a body that could help countries and help organizations make better policy and create a better world.”
On why he supports the UN: “We can’t solve the world’s massive problems unless we come together, unless we join forces and bring together the global community. There are problems that affect us that we rely on the global community to help mitigate and to help solve.”
On what he likes about UNA: “I think being a part of the community that is so interested and invested in solving these global problems is an incredible experience.”
Jonathan Dromgoole, UNA-USA Georgetown
Jonathan, Chair of the UNA-USA LGBTQ Affinity Group, founded the first UNA-USA college campus chapter at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 2013.
On why he supports the UN: “The UN is one of the few places where 193 member states have the opportunity to really talk, from the smallest island nation to the big power countries. Overall, the UN does a job that no other organization can really do.”
On why young people should care about the UN: “Anything you’re passionate about, the UN has a say on it in some way, shape, or form. Whether it’s health policy or entrepreneurship and the business sector, the UN discusses these issues. Whatever your interest is, the UN has a seat for you and the opportunity for you to have a voice.”
Rabita Tareque, UNA-USA City College of New York
Rabita is a gender equality advocate and helped found UNA-USA at City College of New York.
On why she supports the UN: “I care about the UN because it supports so many people from all around the world. I just love that there is an organization that restores faith in humanity.”
On what she tells her friends about the UN: “I pretty much tell them that this is an organization that works for the people. Again, like for everybody, you can be from a Muslim community, or from an LGBT community, and the UN serves you. That is one thing that I love about the UN. That’s very important.”
Marco Sanchez, UNA-USA CalState-Fullerton
Marco will graduate in 2018 from CalState-Fullerton, where he helped form a UNA-USA campus chapter.
On his membership with UNA-USA: “What I love about UNA-USA is that we are comprised of a group from very young individuals to individuals who have dedicated their entire lives to the issues of the United Nations.”
On engaging fellow students with the work of the UN: “There’s a lot of issues that people hear in the news, but they don’t really know how to get involved or what it means exactly. For example, the refugee crisis — that has been such a prevalent issue in our modern era. Because of that, there are many students who are concerned about this issue, but they have no idea how to get involved with it. UNA has done a really good job of being able to give tools and resources to young people to understand it. Through initiatives such as the ‘Adopt-A-Future’ campaign, I have seen students who really like working toward an initiative, toward a goal, to work for a better cause, because it gives them a sense that they have completed something in the end.”
To learn how you can support a strong U.S.-UN relationship, visit unausa.org/advocacy.
To become a UNA-USA member, visit unausa.org/join.
Share why the UN matters to you with #USAforUN.