The Global Connection 

January 2024

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Letter from the President

Dear UNA Members and Friends,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the new year on behalf of the United Nations Association! We have so many exciting events and campaigns planned for this year and we look forward to engaging Westchester residents of all ages and backgrounds in the work of the United Nations. But before we get there, please join me in taking a look back at UNA Westchester's highlights from 2023. In the last year, we gathered our community at four events marking key global UN events, represented UNA Westchester across our community and empowered young people to engage in their own brands of activism about the causes they care about most. We also gained new members and launched hybrid events. We look forward to continuing supporting the important work of the United Nations in 2024.

- Marcia Brewster

Look back at 2023 with UNA Westchester


March 5: We celebrated International Women's Day around the theme of Closing the Tech Gender Gap with Jasmine Bayrooti (Stanford University & University of Cambridge), Yelizaveta Korenko (Stem is Fem), Truike Boekholt (Children of the Ganges) and Raina Kadavil (Mastercard Girls4Tech) who are advancing women's education around the world.

May 7: We hosted our Annual Meeting with Angela Kariuki (UNEP), Paul Anthony Presendieu (UNA-USA SDG #13 Global Ambassador) and youth advocates Harshal Shet, Marissa Glaze, Anusha Vaish and Vanessa Agudelo. We discussed The Human Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment and asked our attendees what this theme means to them.

October 22: We celebrated UN Day, Appreciating Peace and Promoting Non-Violence: the Role of the UN and Local Youth Movements. Michael Kingsley-Nyinah (UN Central & Southern African Division) and Ambassador Francis Okelo (former UN Special Envoy for Peace) joined us as keynote speakers, and youth activists from Manhattanville College Clark Scholars for Social Justice, Westchester County Youth Bureau, Combatants for Peace, Peace Action New York State, 914 United, the WESPAC Foundation and Youth Justice & Equity Team of New Rochelle joined us to discuss their role in advancing justice in our community.

December 10: We recognized Human Rights Day and the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with speakers Stephanie Farrior JD LLM, Tejash Sanchala Esq. and the Honorable Verris Shako, discussing Equality, Freedom and Justice for All: Human Rights Impacts on the Ground.

UN Water Conference

UNA Westchester President Marcia Brewster represented UNA-USA at the UN Water Conference in New York City. The report below brings Marcia’s observations and knowledge from a three-decade career at the United Nations focusing on water, sanitation, sustainable development and gender issues.

Celebrating our Media Contest Winners

Students from across Westchester County submitted poetry, prose, videos and artwork to our 2023 Media Contest on the theme of Child Labor Around the World and in the United States, in support of UN Sustainable Development Goal #8.

Winning works came from Somers, Riverdale and Yorktown Heights. Learn more about our Media Contest and view past winners' work at Our 2024 Media Contest is coming soon!

Celebrating UNA-USA's

Young Leader of the Year

UNA Westchester's Communications Director and Young Professionals Co-Chair, Raina Kadavil, was chosen as UNA-USA's Youth Leader of the Year for 2023, nominated by UNA Westchester President Marcia Brewster. View her acceptance speech below.

Promoting UNA Westchester

Members of the UNA Westchester Board of Directors participated in the Lower Hudson Valley Social Studies Teachers Conference to promote the UN, the United Nations Association, and our media contest to middle school and high school social studies teachers from Westchester and Rockland County!

Watch Out for our Upcoming 2024 Events!

Sunday, March 10th | International Women's Day Event

Sunday, April 28th | Earth Day Celebration

2024 Media Contest | launching soon

From the UNA-USA-Westchester Chapter Membership Committee
Join Us!

Are you a humanitarian?     
As our President, Marcia Brewster, tells us, that is the only criterion for joining the Westchester chapter of UNA-USA. If you care about the world and its people, if you believe in reaching across national borders, if you cherish the notion of a nation and a world based on justice, equity, and peace, this is an opportunity for you. If you are looking for the chance to work with other socially conscious people, to contribute your expertise, experience, and interest in areas such as social media and advocacy, to be a voice for change, and to support and protect the increasingly vital work of the United Nations, this is the organization for you. 

Every year, the Westchester UNA-USA chapter hosts events on Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the United Nations, and International Women’s Day. Each year there is an Annual Meeting and Community Consultation on the Future of the United Nations at which your voice can and will be heard.

And - See below for information about becoming a member.
Ronnie Lichtman
Membership Chair
Board of Directors, UNA W

AND: Please also send an email to our Membership Committee Chair ( so we know you have joined and can invite you to our welcome for new members.
See below, to join us ...

Now …

would be the perfect time for ALL our friends to join as Members.  

Remember, Students Join Free!  Thank you!

You can become a member easily by going to Make sure to click on Westchester in the drop-down box. 

If you are 12-25, it’s free. For all others, membership is only $50.00


If you prefer to send a check, include your full name, address, phone number, email, and chapter location (Westchester, of course!) and mail to:




PO Box 96397 

Washington, DC 20090-6397



Raina Kadavil

Line Editor

Marcia Brewster

Online Placement

Raina Kadavil

Social Media Editor

Raina Kadavil



Marcia Brewster, President

Demetrios Mihailidis and Lilli Schindler, Vice Presidents

Karen Rockwell El-Badry, Secretary

Professor Victor Petenkemani, Treasurer

Brenda L. G. Smith, Nominating Chair


Yuhanna Edwards

Tricia Baldes

Daniel Bena

Ambassador Francis Okelo

Brenda L. G. Smith

Nicole Butterfield, Program Co-Chair

Colleen Gardephe, Program Co-Chair

Raina Kadavil, Young Professionals Co-Chair & Communications Chair

Ronnie Lichtman, Membership Chair

Paul Presendieu, Young Professionals Co-Chair

Photos: Reprinted from,, and other related sources.

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