United Nations, UN Day are worth celebrating and investment

10/18/2017 03:17 pm ET

“The John Birch Society wants less government, more individual responsibility, and with God’s help, a better world,” Chris Affleck told Philadelphia Media Network’s Stu Bykofsky last month. Chapter leader of the “archly conservative, fright-wing” John Birch Society in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia, last week Affleck — a Philadelphia Water Department surveyor, penned Get out of United Nations (pictured above).

In response to Affleck’s recent press coverage, board members of the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia (UNA-GP) — a chapter of the United Nations Association -U.S.A. (UNA-USA), countered Affleck’s entry, building understanding of and support for the ideals and work of the United Nations among the American people in the process. 

“I am originally from East Africa, and have been the beneficiary (recipient) of many of the UN's agencies, including UNICEF, WHO, REFUGEE RELIEF and related charitable agencies,” said Aziz Nathoo, in Indian Muslim originally from East Africa. 

“For the rest of the world, these agencies are the difference between a shot at a decent life and being mired in an endless cycle of poverty,” said Nathoo. 

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“Christopher Affleck’s letter advocating US withdrawal from the United Nations is sadly misinformed about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),” said UNA-GP board member, Bob Groves, MA, MPH

“The UDHR goes well beyond our Bill of Rights promoting 30 rights all humans have, including US citizens. Included are the right to health care, education, adequate leisure, religion, privacy and many others. The only right not included is the right to bear arms.“

“The UDHR is one of the great world documents of all time and Eleanor Roosevelt was the global leader in getting it adopted in 1948. It in no way claims to have the power to cancel anyone’s rights,” said Groves. 

“The UN, and its agencies such as the World Food Program, World Health Organization and the UN Refugee Agency, is the only thing standing in the way of millions more tragic deaths each year. While far from perfect, the UN deserves more not less US support,” Groves said, in response to Affleck. 

Recommending the UNA-GP “alert people” to the work and value of the United Nations by viewing the trailer of a ground-breaking new documentary about the global refugee crisis documentary Human FlowDr. Carol Jenkins — Temple University professor, Democratic Ward Leader and UNA-GP board member — wants to gain the attention of those who are unaware of “the necessity of the UN’s work.” 

Anastasia Shown, lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice and a global education consultant, said “Affleck’s letter advocating withdrawal from the UN is reckless and inaccurate.”

“The crafting of the UDHR was lead by Eleanor Roosevelt. She was selected because of her steadfast commitment to refugee issues after WWII. It was adopted to prevent another war and serve as a modelfor how human beings and nations should treat each other. It goes well beyond the US Bill of Rights and includes rights that are valued in American society,” said Shown, a former Assistant Director of Penn’s Africa Center and former lecturer at Friends Central School. 

“Many argue that UN documents are full of idealism. That may be true but UN agencies are at the forefront of saving lives. They feed 90 million people each year, vaccinates 58% of the world’s children, assists millions of refugees fleeing wars, famine and persecution and fight against climate change through international treaties,” Shown said. 

“This is why UN Day on Oct 24th is worth celebrating and why the UN should strengthen their support.”

Honoring John F. Smith III, President of the Global Philadelphia Association, with its Global Citizen Award on UN Day, UNA-GP cordially invites the public to acknowledge Smith for “identify with being part of an emerging world community, being empathetic about the dignity of all human beings, and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices.” 

Practicing global leadership on a local level, Global Philadelphia was created in 2009 to raise awareness of the many international interests, activities, and resources (including Independence Hall, a World Heritage Site) in the Greater Philadelphia Region. Expanding the region’s business reach and global profile, Smith implemented a world-class campaign and led the organizing effort to secure the prized World Heritage City designation for the City of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Deborah R. Gross will provide remarks at the UNAG-GP’s UN Day celebration alongside the City of Philadelphia’s Mayor James Kenney, who will present Smith a proclamation. 

Harmony for Peace Junior Peace and Music Ambassadors, Noah Lee (cello) and Joseph Hsia (violin), will provide entertainment at the reception, one of GlobalPhilly 2017’s international exposition events. 

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