Historic Number of Americans Mobilize on Capitol Hill to Urge Congress to Support Full U.S. Funding for the United Nations

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2017 UNA-USA Leadership Summit will be the largest convening ever of Americans on Capitol Hill advocating for strong U.S.-UN engagement

UNA-USA advocates at the 2016 Leadership Summit

“This outpouring of activism reflects a reinvigorated desire among Americans for the U.S. to maintain its leadership and influence on the global stage,” said UNA-USA Executive Director Chris Whatley.

With the future of America’s international engagement in the spotlight, a historic number of Americans are gathered in the nation’s capital today to collectively call on Congress for full U.S. funding for the United Nations. More than 300 Americans from across the country are taking part in this landmark advocacy mobilization, which occurs on the final day of the United Nations Association of the United States of America’s (UNA-USA) Leadership Summit in Washington, DC.

“This outpouring of activism reflects a reinvigorated desire among Americans for the U.S. to maintain its leadership and influence on the global stage,” said UNA-USA Executive Director Chris Whatley. “Americans recognize that our world’s intractable challenges cannot be resolved by one country alone. Whether we aim to address the planet’s worst humanitarian and refugee crisis since World War II, terrorism, or threats from the effects of climate change, the United Nations is essential for advancing our national interests.”

Americans from 40 states are attending the annual UNA-USA Leadership Summit in Washington for two days of presentations from high-ranking UN officials, policy workshops, skills building, and learning sessions on topics ranging from human rights and peacekeeping to the role of the UN in addressing global pandemics. On the third and final day of the Summit, attendees are on Capitol Hill to meet face-to-face with Members of Congress and their staff and petition for full U.S. funding and support for the UN.

“We’re bringing the voices of our communities to Capitol Hill during a pivotal moment for the U.S.-UN relationship,” said UNA-USA National Council Advocacy Chair Mel Boynton. “The new Administration has proposed vicious cuts to foreign affairs funding that would cripple U.S. influence at the UN, further destabilize the world, and cause untold suffering. On behalf of the majority of Americans who support strong U.S. engagement at the UN, we’ve come to Washington with the common cause of urging Congress to protect full U.S. funding for the UN in the final FY2018 budget.”

Research shows that American voters registered in both major parties agree that sustained U.S. leadership at the UN is vital. A bipartisan nationwide poll conducted after the 2016 election by the Better World Campaign, UNA-USA’s sister organization, found that a vast majority of Americans—88 percent—believe it is important for the U.S. to maintain an active role at the UN. More than 8 in 10 Americans agree that the U.S. is better positioned to achieve its foreign policy goals when it works with major allies to solve global challenges rather than acting alone. Additionally, 67 percent of voters expressed continued support for the U.S. to pay its dues to the UN on time and in full.

During the Summit, UNA-USA members and supporters heard from speakers including: His Excellency Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly; Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, UN Human Rights Office; Vitit Muntarbhorn, Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, UNHCR; Samantha Ware, Actress, Hamilton at Broadway in Chicago and Glee on Fox; and Kathy Calvin, President & CEO, UN Foundation. The complete agenda with a list of all speakers and their biographies can be found online at: unausa.org/leadershipsummit.

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