United Nations Association of Australia

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United Nations Association of Australia
Australia Map
UNAA Offices
Abbreviation UNAA
Motto To provide the community, government, public and private sectors with quality services to assist and promote the United Nations to meet its various objectives
Formation 1945
Type NGO
Legal status Association
Headquarters Canberra
  • Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth
Region served
Official language
English, French
Former Sen. Dr Russell Trood
Parent organization
United Nations
Affiliations WFUNA, UNYA, UNYP
Not for Profit
Website http://www.unaa.org.au

The United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) is a non-profit, non-government, membership-based, community organization working to promote the aims and ideals of the United Nations, and seek support for the UN, its programs and agencies. It has divisions within all of the States and Territories of Australia, with the national office run out of Canberra. Its national president is former Australian Senator Russell Trood, who replaced Robert Hill in 2012.

The UNAA works closely with United Nations Agencies and departments such as the UNDPI, and has consultative status with ECOSOC as a member of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA).[1] It is governed by a Federal Council which meets annually to determines policy. Federal Council elects a representative Executive Committee to take responsibility for the ongoing work nationally. The Association works to support various initiatives of the United Nations which focus on key areas such as (but not exclusive to):

The UNAA hosts educational events (including Model United Nations conferences), makes submissions to government and parliament, hosts awards nights on a variety of social and environmental topics, participates in UN Day and Year activities, and generally acts as a link between the UN and the Australian public.[2]


The UNAA was established in 1945, having previously operated under the title of the ‘League of Nations Union’. The close involvement by prominent Australian Dr H V Evatt QC in the formation of the United Nations, and his subsequent election to President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, resulted in a large increase in interest and membership in the UNAA.

In following decades, the Association and its state divisions grew and expanded their programs. In 1979 the Victorian division established the annual Media Peace Awards, followed by the establishment of the World Environment Day Awards.[3] During the International Year of the Tree (1982), the UNAA and the Nursery Industry Association of Australia founded an environmental organisation; Greening Australia, to protect, restore and conserve Australia's native vegetation.[4]

Model United Nations[edit]

The UNAA’s Victorian division hosts student Model United Nations (MUN) Conferences in high schools and universities around the state. These day-long conferences aim to increase student awareness of the United Nations, its processes, values, and the complex issues brought before the UN and the international community, while developing a sense of civic responsibility as future global citizens.[5]


The UNAA presents multiple awards throughout the year in conjunction with their promotion of United Nations initiatives and specific areas of interest and experience. These awards are presented to individuals and organisations, and usually coincide with a United Nation’s Day of a similar topic.[6]

World Environment Day Award[edit]

The UNAA presents the World Environment Day Awards in support of the UN Environmental Program World Environment Day, recognizing innovative and outstanding environmental initiatives and leaders from around Australia. Awards recognize (amongst other criteria); green building innovations, community and government efforts, sustainable water management, and environmental entrepreneurism.[7]

Media Peace Awards[edit]

The UNAA Media Peace Awards were established in 1979, and recognise those in the media whose work highlights and champions humanitarian and social justice issues.[8]

International Peace Awards[edit]

The UNAA presents the International Peace Award to an outstanding individual in recognition of their efforts to promote peace and resolve conflict. It is awarded intermittently alongside the media peace awards.[9]

Founder's Award[edit]

The Founders Award, introduced in 2000, seeks to honour those Australian individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to peace, conflict resolution, human rights and social justice issues throughout their career.[10]

United Nations Queensland Community Award[edit]

The United Nations Association of Australia (Queensland) Community Award, otherwise known as the United Nations Queensland Community Award, seeks to honour Queensland individuals or groups who have made a significant contribution to advance peace, human rights, social justice and equality.

United Nations Young Professionals Networks (UNYP)[edit]

The UNAA Young Professionals (YP) network involves and inspires young professionals throughout Australia in international affairs and the work of the United Nations around the world, through fundraising, awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns.

The YP brings together a diverse mix of young professionals from business, law, government, the arts and philanthropy that are mainly in their 20s or 30s.

The YP provides an exciting opportunity to interact with like-minded people and gives young professionals from all walks of life a unique forum in which to learn more about current international issues, the United Nations and the work of the UN Association in Australia.

Young people have access to exclusive events featuring high-level speakers from the United Nations, expert practitioners from the government sector, academics and influential members of the business community. The YP also presents an opportunity to take on leadership positions to make a positive impact on a global scale as well as offers valuable networking opportunities amongst like-minded peers and influential individuals across the business and professional world in Australia.

The UNYP can be found in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, United States, Australia and other countries. Currently in Australia, the UNYP has divisions located in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra.

United Nations Youth Association of Australia (UNYA)[edit]

The UNAA has a youth based membership affiliate; the United Nations Youth Association of Australia (UNYA), whose members are aged below 25 years.[11] The UNYA is similarly divided into national and state divisions. Although affiliated, the degree of coordination or independence between the UNAA its youth affiliate varies between state divisions, with many UNYA activities undertaken completely independent of the UNAA.

United Nations Youth Association of Australia Divisions[edit]

UNAA QLD[edit]

The QLD Division of the UN Association of Australia governs four university United Nations Student Associations (UNSA): Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland and Bond University. It is also the awarder of the United Nations Association of Australia (Queensland) Community Award.

The QLD UNAA is led by President Clem Campbell, a former Australian state politician and member of the Parliament of Queensland from 1983 to 1998. The Patron for QLD UNAA is Her Excellency the Governor of Queensland Penelope Wensley AC.

In December 2013, UNAA QLD launched its United Nations Young Professionals (UNYP) division.

UNAA NSW[edit]

The NSW Branch of the UN Association of Australia works to connect the NSW community to the UN and the global network of UN Associations. It works on a local level to achieve positive change in support of the aims and ideals of the United Nations.

It is led by a group of committed volunteers in Sydney and have active Sub-Branches throughout the state. The Patron for NSW UNAA is Her Excellency the Governor of New South Wales Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO.

UNAA VIC[edit]

The UNAA Victoria is a non-profit, non-government, membership-based, community organisation working to promote the aims and ideals of the United Nations and seek support for the UN and its programs and agencies.

It is committed to building a strong, credible and effective UN. It advocates support for the UN in the Australian community and seek to demonstrate why the UN matters to people everywhere. It is led by Murray McInnis, the Lead Ambassador for the Law Sector in Victoria of the White Ribbon Campaign.

UNAA ACT[edit]

The UNAA in Canberra is about building a community of like-minded people passionate about the UN and what Australia’s role should be in the ‘Parliament of the World’. Like all the State and Territory Divisions, UNA ACT's purpose is to support the mission of the United Nations through awareness raising and education.

The UNAA ACT is led by Jonathan Curtis, a Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of the ACT.


External links[edit]