Recently, Americans from across the country and across political lines gathered in Washington, D.C. to urge Congress to support strong U.S. leadership in the United Nations.

During the United Nations Association of the USA’s annual Leadership Summit, members held over 300 meetings on Capitol Hill to support a fully funded UN. What were the key messages from their visit?

Here are three takeaways from the 2018 UNA-USA Leadership Summit:

A Broad Group of Americans Support the UN

More than 500 Americans from 46 states plus the District of Columbia participated in UNA-USA’s annual leadership summit, and their main message was clear: We support the UN and we believe in strong U.S. leadership at the organization.

This record turnout for a leadership summit confirms what polling shows: Americans from varied backgrounds agree on the value of the UN. A bipartisan poll from the Better World Campaign finds that 65% of Republicans and specifically 58% of Trump voters agree the UN is still needed today. And 86% of millennial voters also agree with that sentiment, making support for the UN one area that millennials and Trump voters agree on.

Human Rights are Close to Home

It is no secret that universal human rights are under threat. Just last week, the U.S. decided to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council. However, on Capitol Hill during UNA-USA’s annual Lobby Day, the actions taken by members painted a different picture: UNA-USA’s network delivered a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to every Member of Congress. Americans from all walks of life are calling on U.S. leaders to read these powerful words and recommit to human rights for all. The 70th Anniversary of the declaration and the UN’s Stand Up for Human Rights Campaign serve as important reminders that human rights begin at home and are universal.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Andrew Gilmour, spoke on the importance of local action to hold our global leaders accountable to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Check out his Facebook Live with U.S. Youth Observer to the UN Munira Khalif.

Women in Blue Helmets

Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee discussed the importance of women peacekeepers around the world managing conflict prevention.  Female peacekeepers act as role models in the local environment by inspiring women and girls in male-dominated societies to push for their own rights and for participation in peace processes. Also, according to UN Peacekeeping, the presence of women peacekeepers can help reduce conflict and confrontation.

“It is important to recognize the significant management reforms the UN is undertaking to make sure that the right people with the right skills are in the right place. This includes recruiting more women to serve at the UN – they play a critical role in the peacekeeping process,” Congressman Royce said.

Congressman Royce was presented the 2018 Congressional Leadership Award for his 25-year leadership in championing development in Africa, including his sponsorship of the Africa Growth and the Development Act, and his unwavering commitment to the role of the U.S. in advancing conflict resolution in the toughest corners of the world in partnership with our allies and international institutions such as the UN.

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