Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

UNA-USA Dane County Chapter Hosts Fun and Informative 70th Anniversary Luncheon

by Eli Weiner (LACIS Social Media/Outreach Intern, BBA – Marketing, BA – LACIS ’15)

The UNA-USA Dane County Chapter is the local branch affiliated with the United Nations Association of the United States of America. They meet monthly for most of the year, host public events and lectures and aim to serve its members’ needs and those of the greater community. We are very fortunate to have LACIS’ Undergraduate Advisor and Outreach Coordinator, Sarah Ripp, as a board member (since 2010) of this prestigious organization.

Sarah - UNA
Sarah Ripp (LACIS); Jesus Del Toro (LACIS BA & UNA-USA Intern); Judy Miner (UNA-USA).

On October 18th of 2015, the UNA-USA Dane County Chapter hosted its fall luncheon honoring of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. The event took place in the Hall of Ideas in Monona Terrace, and along with LACIS, it was co-sponsored by the UW Global Health Institute, the UW International Division, the African Studies Program and Edgewood College.

Though it was technically a luncheon, there were many more festivities than just lunch that occurred. Local businesses and organizations donated items for a silent auction to raise money for continued UNA-USA Dane County programming including support for local high school Model UN Chapters. In addition to the auction, the Dane County Chapter handed out its annual Global Citizen Award, which is bestowed upon someone who has donated his/her time and efforts to help those in need in the global community.

Silent auction activities
Silent auction activities

This year’s recipient is long-time friend of LACIS, Cecilia Zarate-Laun, who founded the Colombia Support Network with her husband Jack in 1987. According to the UNA-USA Dane County Chapter, “the Colombia Support Network is an activist grassroots organization that works through sister communities to help Colombians create a peaceful participatory democracy and an economically just society.” The CSN also offers peaceful support to Colombian communities in conflict and educates Americans with firsthand knowledge of the obstacles that hinder these communities.

Cecilia accepting her award
Cecilia accepting her award

All of us here at LACIS are proud of Cecilia and the work she has done, and we wish her and the CSN the best of luck moving forward. She is a wonderful example of the change that we can make in the world when we strive for something great! Click this link to learn more about Cecilia’s journey and the incredible work of the Colombia Support Network.

Every fall luncheon has a theme; this year it was Global Health and Sustainable Development. The Dane County Chapter was fortunate to have retired U.S. ambassador John E. Lange as the keynote speaker. Lange, a Milwaukee native and UW Law School alum, is the former United States Avian Influenza and Pandemic Ambassador in the U.S. Department of State and is currently a Senior Fellow of Global Health Diplomacy for the UN Foundation.

Lange serves as the primary focal point for the United Nation Foundation’s global health diplomacy activities because he has extensive leadership experience in global health issues and longstanding involvement in United Nations affairs. His keynote speech was accordingly insightful, pertinent and very well-received by the audience.

Lange giving his speech
Lange giving his speech

To learn more about the UNA-USA Dane County Chapter, please visit: Monthly programs are free and open to the public and typically take place at the Madison Central Library. UW-Madison’s Joe Elder and Krishna Pradhan will present on December 8th at 7:00 p.m. on Nepal’s 2015 earthquake and UN relief efforts.


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