New York

November 2022

QUNO NY Committee Member Spotlight

QUNO is governed by a Committee of Friends appointed by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC). We’re excited to spotlight the insights and experiences of a committee member and are delighted to share reflections from QUNC member, Dick Erstad. Dick has had a long history of work within Quaker organizations.

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November 2022

QUNO New York Staff Visit Cambodia

QUNO New York staff members, Sarah Clarke and Kavita Desai, traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia to join in a workshop held by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The workshop brought AFSC staff together from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States to explore ways that different AFSC programs are working towards the shared goal of building just and sustainable peace. For Kavita and Sarah, it was an opportunity to build connections with exciting work taking place in communities from around the world.

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November 2022

QUNO New York Joins Panel on Strengthening the UN

QUNO New York UN Representative Kavita Desai joined a panel on November 3rd hosted by the Baha’i International Community (BIC) and the Coalition for the United Nations We Need, entitled “Tipping the Scales: Proposals for UN Reform in a Time of Need.”

The discussion included reflections on proposals for reform, as well as an exploration on how such proposals can be implemented—getting from ideation to actualization, in the words of one attendee.

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October 2022

QUNO NY Staff Comings & Goings

The support and contributions of Programme Assistants (PAs) are critical to QUNO NY’s United Nations efforts. Our colleagues come to QUNO for this 13-month position from throughout the world to contribute to the work and witness of Quakers at the UN. Every year our office then has the tradition of welcoming our incoming PAs and bidding farewell to those who have finished their time with us.

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October 2022

QUNO hosts authors from ‘Light in Gaza: Writings Born in Fire’

On 25 October, QUNO New York hosted Jehad Abusalim and Asmaa Abu Mezeid, two of the authors of the newly published anthology ‘Light in Gaza: Writings Born in Fire’, for an intimate conversation at Quaker House with QUNO staff and members of the UN Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group.

With the situation in Gaza often framed purely as a military or humanitarian issue, this conversation provided an opportunity to hear about people’s experiences under occupation.

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October 2022

Quaker Statement on the Peace Testimony and Ukraine

Quakers are a people who follow after peace, love and unity. Our peace testimony is our witness to the Truth as we experience it. 

Our testimony manifests as a cumulative set of actions, continually tested and added to over centuries.  These actions are diverse in form, but have been broadly united by: 1) Refusal to kill, 2) Relief of suffering, 3) Building the institutions of peace, and 4) Supporting peacebuilding and removing the causes of war. 

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October 2022

A transformation at Quaker House New York

In New York, autumn has brought cooler temperatures and fall color, and the pace of activity has moved into high gear following the opening of the 77th UN General Assembly. There is new energy in the UN halls and meeting rooms, as diplomats leave online meetings behind and come back together in person. For QUNO NY staff, we are excited to reconnect with old colleagues while also building relationships with diplomats and UN staff who have arrived in New York more recently.

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September 2022

World leaders gather for opening of 77th session of UN General Assembly

Every year world leaders gather at UN headquarters in New York for the opening of the General Assembly (UNGA), with 2022 marking the first fully in person session since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 77th session of the UNGA opened on 13 September, under the theme “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges.” This year’s opening took place against a challenging global backdrop - the impact of the war in Ukraine, ongoing food and climate crises, rising economic costs and the continued recovery from COVID-19.

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September 2022

QUNO NY’s Director delivers Pendle Hill lecture on lessons from Bayard Rustin

On 12 September, QUNO New York Director, Sarah Clarke, delivered the Steven G. Carey Memorial lecture at the Quaker center, Pendle Hill. With over 500 Friends registering to join in person and online, Sarah spoke on ‘Strategizing for Change: Applying lessons from the Life of Bayard Rustin to Quaker Work at the UN.

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September 2022

QUNO NY Representative speaks on International Day of Peace panel

On the International Day of Peace, which is held every year on 21 September, QUNO NY Representative, Kavita Desai, joined the Global People’s Assembly panel discussion, Peace and Conflict Prevention - Reflections on International Day of Peace. The session, held virtually, brought together civil society organizations (CSOs) to discuss the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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August 2022

QUNO NY calls for more effective youth inclusion in the General Assembly

On 30 August, UN Member States and civil society representatives came together to discuss and identify ways to strengthen youth engagement in the General Assembly (GA). Kavita Desai, one of QUNO’s Quaker UN Representatives, spoke on behalf of the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, which is co-facilitated by QUNO’s New York office and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). The Platform works to support the UN’s prevention agenda through strengthening coordination and information sharing between civil society organizations and the UN.

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July 2022

What peace means to young people, and how they are building it

In May 2022, QUNO launched a Youth Listening Exercise and activities that focus on strengthening youth inclusion and advocating for United Nations policies that reflect youth identified priorities. This work also seeks to engage with young people globally to discern the direction of QUNO’s work as it relates to the UN’s Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda. The first listening exercise convened young people from across the United States via Zoom. This summary provides insights and reflections on key findings and emergent themes from that consultation.

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July 2022

QUNO Hosts First Consultive Youth Listening Exercise

Meaningful political inclusion and participation of young people is key for building lasting peace and sustainable development.  Under its “Youth, Peace and Security” or YPS policy agenda the UN has also increasingly created opportunities for young peacebuilders. However fundamental challenges, like protection, remain and truly inclusive and partner-based policies and practices are not yet the norm. QUNO aims to build on the UN’s momentum by engaging with young people in different regions through consultative dialogues to discern the direction of our work on YPS in an inclusive way.

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June 2022

In and Around the UN

Our June 2022 newsletter shares updates from the work carried out by our New York office over recent months. Highlights include: a Q&A article on questions about the war in Ukraine and the UN; information on a new QUNO initiative on Youth, Peace and Security; the publication of our policy document, Building Peace in Times of Crisis; and news about staff comings and goings. Also hear from our new Director, Sarah Clarke, in her Director’s letter where she reflects on the state of multilateralism and the long commitment of Quaker witness at the UN.

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June 2022

In and Around the UN

Read QUNO New York's June 2022 newsletter, In and Around the UN, featuring articles on:

  • Understanding the work of the UN: A Q&A on the war in Ukraine
  • Our Common Agenda: A UN for the future
  • Building Peace in Times of Crisis
  • QUNO Launches a Youth Listening Exercise

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May 2022

QUNO co-hosts roundtable on peacebuilding and climate change at the Stockholm Forum

QUNO, in partnership with the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), co-hosted the roundtable, Peacebuilding contributions to crisis and climate change response: Learning from practice, at this year's Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development. The Forum is an annual gathering held by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) to promote opportunities for cross-cutting dialogue and learning between humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding actors internationally.

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April 2022

QUNO’s NY Director presents on Quaker UN work at George Mason University

QUNO New York Director, Sarah Clarke, joined speakers from the Mennonite and Church of the Brethren communities at the virtual panel presentation, “The Historic Peace Churches: Integrating Theology and Practice for Peacebuilding,” hosted by George Mason University during the School’s Spring Peace Week. In her presentation, Sarah shared a view on how the Quaker Peace Testimony guides the work of Friends at the United Nations.

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April 2022

Funding the “P” in the Nexus

On 27 April diplomats and UN officials will gather for a High-Level meeting at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing financing for peacebuilding. In her piece, UN Representative, Megan Schmidt, brings forward the learning and messages from her report, Building Peace in Times of Crisis, that relate to peacebuilding financing across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

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March 2022

The Crisis in Ukraine: A Brief UN Overview

Dear Friends,

Like us, you have undoubtedly been watching in horror the unfolding events in Ukraine. When we accepted responsibilities as the Directors of the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) in Geneva and New York this past November, the possibility of such a war was little imagined by us or by the millions of people in Ukraine and Russia. We pray for Friends in Ukraine and Russia, and all impacted by this conflict. We are deeply grateful to hear of the efforts being carried out by Friends in Poland, Estonia and Georgia to provide much needed humanitarian relief.

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March 2022

The Crisis in Ukraine: A brief UN overview

Following weeks of speculation and intelligence reports, the Russian government initiated new military operations in Ukraine beginning on 24 February. This military attack has had immediate far-reaching impacts, sparked a massive humanitarian crisis, and raised serious concern about potential ecological damage. On the global stage, a range of actions have been taken in response, including measures within the United Nations (UN).

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