Highlights of 2015

It’s hard to believe that 2016 is now nearing two months old; the year is shaping up to be as interesting and as stimulating as was 2015. Before I begin to focus on 2016 events, I would like to pay tribute to some of the highlights of 2015! There were many important and engaging moments. Here are three I would like to share with all of my readers.



In November, as part of the World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA) 2015 plenary meeting which took place in Vancouver, UNA Canada held a Global Citizens Gala Dinner as one of its fundraising events. The person honoured at the dinner was Terry Hui, President of Concord Pacific. The event was attended by the Vancouver business elite as well as many delegates from UN Associations from around the world.

These events are important for UNA Canada because they raise funds for our advocacy work. This was an opportunity to remind all those who were new to the work of the UN that the organization and its Agencies work to protect some of the most vulnerable people in the world – eg. refugees (UNHCR), children (UNICEF), women (UN Women), and the sick (WHO). UN agencies help set standards worldwide which keep us all safe eg. the peaceful use of nuclear energy (IAEA) and international aviation (ICAO). 



Exploring the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in December was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend two hours in Seattle. At the time of my visit, Bill Gates was still the world’s richest man. Most of his wealth goes to this foundation which he and his wife run.
Over the years I have seen various international projects which the Gates Foundation has funded – most notable of course is their focus on the eradication of polio (in cooperation with UNICEF) and their efforts (also with UNICEF and WHO) to make sure that all children worldwide receive the full range of necessary childhood vaccinations. The Gates Foundation also works to improve under-funded inner city public schools throughout the United States.
The quotation seen above is one example of an interactive display about the work of the Foundation, located on a quiet street near to the Space Needle. It is in a simple two storey building, staffed by volunteers and the displays about the work of the Foundation are interactive and focused on young people.


In October, I presented a case study to the BC Social Studies Teachers’ Association (BCSSTA). The presentation was called Canada and UN Peacekeeping in a Cruel World: Myth or Reality?

I decided on this topic after realizing that many students were aware of Canada’s historic support of UN peacekeeping but were not as clear about our relationship with the UN in more recent times. This interactive case study was an opportunity to set the record straight and to encourage educators to be sensitive to our present and changing relationship with the UN – not just our storied past.




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