2022 Peace Medal Laureate Prof John McGarry
UNA-Canada Announces the Appointment of its new President & CEO
2021 August 30: On behalf of the Board of Directors, National Staff and Members of the United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) I am pleased to announce that the Association has appointed a new President & CEO. Jaime Webbe will take over the reins in this key position as of August 30th. The appointment comes after a rigorous search to identify a successor to Kathryn White, who stepped down from this role after 17 years of exemplary leadership.
Ms. Webbe brings an impressive combination of international and domestic experience to her new role. Coming to us from her position as Global Director of Climate Change and Biodiversity at Alinea International, she has worked, over her career, in several UN Agencies based in Montreal, Copenhagen, Nairobi and Washington DC. Ms. Webbe developed a deep appreciation for the UN through staff positions with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Climate Convention’s Climate Technology Centre & Network, the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the World Bank. Her concrete experiences bringing the world together around common challenges and opportunities grounds her leadership of an organization whose mission is to educate and engage Canadians in the work of the UN and the critical international issues that affect us all.
Raising alarm on Palestinian Israeli conflict
The United Nations Assocation in Canada (UNA-Canada) feels compelled to comment on the recent fighting between Israelis and Palestinians and the horrific devastation it has left in its wake. It is reliably reported to have left at least 243 people killed, including too many women and children. While there was destruction in Israel as well, the fighting has left thousands of Palestinians homeless, inflicted heavy infra-structure damages on an already challenged community, and is likely to leave a lasting psychological impact on children.
“If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said, expressing deep shock at the continued air and artillery bombardment by the Israeli Defence Forces in Gaza that had, at that point, already claimed the lives of more than 200 Palestinians, including 60 children,
and injured thousands more.
Thanks to our volunteers
Remerciements à nos bénévoles
As we come together to celebrate National Volunteer Week, I'd like to take this opportunity to send a warm and heart-felt shout-out of thanks to all of UNA-Canada's dedicated volunteers in our national office, at our Board level and in our regional Branches. Volunteers are the foundation and engine that drive our impactful work.
The fruits of your labour at the community level and across this great country, are reflected in the determination of Canadians from coast to coast to coast to overcome challenges, to lean on one another in
difficult times such as the one we are all
living in, and to enhance social cohesion
Long-serving President & CEO, Kate White, steps down
Kathryn White has announced that she is moving on after serving for seventeen years as President and CEO of the United Nations Association of Canada (UNA-Canada). She will remain as Vice President of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), having served previously as the elected Chair of the WFUNA Board.
"Leading this Association has been a privilege. It has been enormously rewarding, both professionally and personally. I have had the pleasure to meet, build friendships and work with some of the leading thinkers, actors and committed global citizens across Canada and around the world..."
UNA-Canada's 2020 Global Citizen Laureate
UNA-Canada is pleased to announce Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, as its 2020 Global Citizen Laureate.
UNA-Canada will hold a virtual Global Citizens Award presentation with remarks from national Conversation with our 2020 laureate and financial industry leaders, in an exclusive webcast.
UNACTO UN75 Virtual Celebration
Join the UNA-Canada Toronto Branch for their UN Day digital event that will discuss Canada’s most challenging issues, from climate change to racial inequality to the COVID-19 pandemic, and solutions for building a more sustainable world.
Hear from Canadian leaders and diverse public stakeholders on Canada’s role in achieving the UN’s Global Goals and the importance of international cooperation.
Kathryn White Fund
At the start of 2021, Past President & CEO, Kathryn “Kate” White retired after 17 years at the helm of the United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada). In recognition of her legacy, as well as the inspiration she has provided as a role model for others who care about important international challenges, the Canadian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York will be inaugurating an internship in her name.
UNA-Canada also plans to establish a dedicated Kathryn White Fund to be used to facilitate opportunities for young Canadians, especially those who have often been excluded, to engage with the UN and to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals - and the principles established in the UN Charter.
In Solidarity with Indian Residential School Survivors
At this time of immense grieving and loss for Indigenous communities across Turtle Island, we at the United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) extend our sincerest condolences to Indian Residential School Survivors, their families and communities. The recent devastating news of the discovery of 215 bodies of children in unmarked graves on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops is heart-breaking. It has also rekindled Indigenous demands for justice and action.
“We had a knowing in our community that we were able to verify. To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths. Some were as young as three years old. We sought a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is the final resting place of these children.” - The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief, Rosanne Casimir, Thursday, May 27, 2021.
We remember – always.
Nous nous souviendrons - toujours.
Two years ago the United nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) lost four remarkable youth in the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 bound for Nairobi, Kenya. A wonderful UNA-Canada staffer and three young delegates who had volunteered in their communities with Ocean Wise and with the Canadian Wildlife Federation were heading to Nairobi under our banner to represent Canada at sessions of the UN Environment Assembly.
On March 10th we will pause to remember and to honour UNA-Canada staffer and delegation head Stéphanie Lacroix, along with Micah Messent, Danielle Moore and Angela Rehhorn - all fine young Canadians, who shared the excitement and optimism of working to improve our world by making their lives serve as an inspiration to their peers.
The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin to Receive 2020 Pearson Peace Medal
UNA-Canada is pleased to announce the 2020 recipient of our Pearson Peace Medal, The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin. She is the 32nd recipient of this Medal, which honours a Canadian who has made an outstanding contribution, in a professional capacity or through volunteer work, to those causes for which Lester B. Pearson is remembered: aid to the developing world; mediation where conflicts arise; assistance to refugees and those in need; equal rights and justice for all; peaceful change through international law and multilateralism.
The world watches as events unfold in Afghanistan
The United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada), along with the global community as a whole, is watching with considerable trepidation as events unfold with extraordinary speed in Afghanistan. As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has remarked, a proud people with a rich cultural history, which has recently endured generations of war and hardship, as well as tangible development and progress, is facing political instability and high social unrest as a result of a rapid and forcible change of government. Fear of retribution, and of a return to a former strict enforcement of repressive social norms is generating panic among many who are desperate to flee the country, in spite of assurances of safety from the new governing forces.
As desperate Afghans were trying to escape the Taliban and board planes, during chaotic scenes at Kabul airport since Monday, Mr. Guterres called for international unity on Afghanistan. Highlighting the need to protect civilians and allow humanitarian access, he urged nations to show willingness to receive Afghan refugees, and to halt any deportations. In the immediate situation, this has to be a priority for Canada and other like-minded countries.
2021 Pearson Peace Medal
Ms. McLaughlin is the 32nd recipient of this Medal, which honours a Canadian who has made an outstanding contribution, in a professional capacity or through volunteer work, to those causes for which Lester B. Pearson is remembered: aid to the developing world; mediation where conflicts arise; assistance to refugees and those in need; equal rights and justice for all; peaceful change through international law and multilateralism.
For over a decade and a half, Beverley McLachlin, first as a Justice and later as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada (2000-2017), led with measured and collegial strength through a series of land-mark decisions. These decisions, under her leadership, have contributed to shape and elevate the recognition and respect of essential human rights in Canada. In this regard her Court played a central role in giving effect to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Closing Out the 75th Anniversary of the UN
So many of our celebrations in 2020 have been muted or just ignored as we grappled with the everyday mental, social and economic burdens of life in a global health pandemic.
As the year closes, an anniversary worth a last hurrah is the 75 years since the founding of the United Nations. The founding was a desperate and enlightened response, crafted in the closing days of the deadliest war in human history. Perhaps there is a lesson here for us as pundits attempt to paint a picture of our future. Together, peoples and countries can imagine and plan a path forward from calamity, knowing what we do not want to confront again.
UNA-Canada Announces the Winner of its Inaugural Youth Global Citizen Prize
United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) is proud to mark Human Rights Day with the announcement of the winner of its inaugural Youth Global Citizen Prize. UNA-Canada invited young Canadians between the ages of 18 and 30 to share their perspectives on what qualities, for them, makes a Global Citizen. UNA-Canada received an abundance of thoughtful, inspiring, and innovative submissions, in a spectrum of creative formats, for jury consideration.