United Nations Association of Australia

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United Nations Association of Australia
UNAA Logo
Australia Map
UNAA Offices
Abbreviation UNAA
Motto To inform, inspire and engage all Australians regarding the work, goals and values of the UN to create a safer, fairer and more sustainable world.
Formation 1945
Type NGO
Legal status Association
Headquarters Canberra
Location
  • Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Hobart, Darwin, Adelaide
Region served
Australia
Official language
English, French
Patron
Governor-General of Australia His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret’d)
National President
Major General (Retd) Michael Smith AO
National Executive Director
Matthew Kronborg
Parent organization
United Nations
Affiliations WFUNA, UNYA, UNYP
Budget
Not for Profit
Website www.unaa.org.au

The United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) is the official non-profit, non-government, membership-based, organization working on behalf of the United Nations core body to promote its overall aims and ideals, and equally seeking to build support for the UN's programs, activities and agencies. The UNAA official mission is "to inform, inspire and engage all Australians regarding the work, goals and values of the UN to create a safer, fairer and more sustainable world". It has division offices in every State and Territory of Australia, with the national office run out of Canberra. Its national president is Major General (Retd) Michael G Smith AO, who succeeded Australian Senator Russell Trood in 2016, who in turn had succeeded Australian Politician Robert Hill in 2012.

The UNAA works closely with United Nations specialised agencies and departments such as the UNDPI, UNIC and UNHCR and has consultative status with ECOSOC as a member of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA).[1] The organisation works closely with the Australian Government, especially the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Australian Parliamentarians. The UNAA is governed by a National Board which meets quarterly. The National Board elects a representative Executive Team, including National Executive Director to take responsibility for the ongoing work nationally.

The UNAA also works to support various initiatives of the United Nations which focus on key international affairs topics such as (but not exclusive to):

The UNAA hosts educational events and activities(including Model United Nations conferences); works constructively with and makes submissions to government and parliament; hosts public awards ceremonies on a variety of social, media and environmental topics; drives celebratory UN observance day activities; operates development projects overseas and generally acts as a key link between the UN and the Australian public.[2]

The UNAA group has various organs including, but not limited to: a national academic network, a federal parliamentary group, Divisions in every state and territory, a Young Professionals network, a Youth network and a national office.

History[edit]

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]

Awards[edit]

The UNAA presents multiple awards series 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 annual UN 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 entrepreneurialism.[7]

Media Peace Awards[edit]

The UNAA Media Peace Awards were established in 1979 to 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 but currently in hiatus, 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 Association of Australia Young Professionals Network (UNAA YP)[edit]

The UNAA Young Professionals (UNAA 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 UNAA YP network brings together a diverse mix of working young professionals from business, law, government, the arts and philanthropy that are mainly aged 25 to 35.

The UNAA YP network 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 UNAA 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.

Equivalent UNA Young Professionals programs can be found in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, United States and other countries.

Currently in Australia, the UNAA Young Professionals network has official groups located in Sydney, Canberra and Perth.

United Nations Youth Australia (UNYA)[edit]

United Nations Youth Australia (UNYA) is the UNAA youth based membership affiliate born of the organisation in the 1970s. Its members are aged below 25 years.[11] UNYA is similarly divided into national and state divisions.

United Nations Association of Australia Divisions[edit]

Division offices of the UNAA operate in every State and Territory of Australia, including;

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 UNAA QLD 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.

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 Kel Gleeson, a former operator with UN Peacekeeping forces.

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 seeks to demonstrate why the UN matters to people everywhere. It is led by Michael Henry AM, a former chairman of Oxfam Australia.

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.

UNAA TAS[edit]

UNAA Tasmania works to connect the Tasmanian community, government and other stakeholders to the UN and the global network of UN Associations. The Division operates at a state level to achieve positive change in support of the charter, aims and ideals of the United Nations.[12]

The UNAA TAS is led by President Chris Sargent, a former soldier and youth worker with experience across community development, health care, defence and government sectors.[13]

References[edit]

External links[edit]