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UU-UNO Director’s Letter

Bruce Knotts

October 2012

Join Us for an Amazing 50th Anniversary Celebration

Plans continue to move forward for an amazing 50th anniversary celebration at the New York Times Center in New York City.  Headlining speakers will be Rev. Peter Morales, Gillian Sorensen, Senator Adlai Stevenson III, and Professor Maura Roosevelt.

We will also debut the UU-UNO documentary film which does a magnificent job of documenting the UU-UNO’s 50 years at the United Nations from our humble beginnings in the basement of Community Church to our current location at the UN Church Center. 

There will be food, beverages and music to accompany the speeches and the film debut.  We have discounts on American Airlines for attendees and other suggestions on our website www.uu-uno.org on how you can make your stay in New York City wonderful at the lowest possible cost.  To purchase tickets, please go to https://fd7.formdesk.com/uuforms/uu-uno 

Clinton Global Citizen Awards

I was the guest of Ugandan Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo at the Clinton Global Citizen Awards event where Bill Clinton presented the first-ever awards to LGBT activists.  The awardees were both from Uganda: Bishop Christopher Senyonjo and Pepe Julian Onziema Programme Director/Advocacy Officer, Sexual Minorities, Uganda [SMUG], who let me hold his award with him for a minute. 

Remarks were given by President Bill Clinton and actress Bebe Neuwirth was acting as Master of Ceremonies. Angélique Kidjo and Seal provided the evening’s musical entertainment. Joshua Bennett, Rosario Dawson, Donna Karan, Eva Longoria, and June Sarpong made appearances.

The Clinton Awards complete a Grand Slam for Ugandan LGBT activists this year.  In addition to the Clinton Awards, Ugandan LGBT activist Frank Mugisha won the Robert F. Kennedy Prize and our own UU Rev. Mark Kiyimba won the National Education Award earlier this year.

Rissho Kosei-kai UN Office Celebrates 30 Years at the UN.

I attended the 30th anniversary of the Rissho Kosei-kai UN Office and Dharma Center celebration.

This Buddhist organization has a long history of working with the UUA UNO and it was my pleasure to attend this magnificent event.  Rev. Masamichi Kamiya has been a dear friend and colleague.  He will be leaving soon because his visa has expired. Rev. Kamiya serves with me on the board of the UN NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security.  The collaboration between the UUA UNO and the Rissho Kosei-kai UN Office goes back to the 1960s when the two faith traditions worked to build Religions for Peace.  Also speaking at the event was Rev. Yasutaka Watanabe Chairman of Rissho Kosei-kai who flew in from Tokyo for the event. Also in attendance was Hiro Sakurai, Director, UN Liaison Office of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI).  Hiro serves as the chair of the UN NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security.  I serve as the Vice Chair and Rev. Kamiya serves as the Treasurer.  Together we make a formidable interfaith team to promote global disarmament, please and security.  Speeches were followed by a very fine reception with Japanese and international food and music.  

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice Honored for her LGBT work by the Council for Global Equality. 

The American Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice was honored by the Council on Global Equality for her work in promoting LGBT rights at the UN.   The event was held in the apartment of Philippe J. Brugere-Trelat and Mitchell S. Draizin.  LGBT activists from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, All Out.Org and from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also attended.  The award is in recognition not only of Susan Rice’s enormous contributions to LGBT rights at the UN, but in her words, the award belongs to her team, the Administration and civil society that have worked together to bring about this important recognition of equal rights regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

UN High Level Meeting on Religious Tolerance.

On the margins of the UN General Assembly, the Foreign Ministers of Italy and Jordan hosted a high level meeting on religious tolerance which included the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and foreign ministers from 10 other countries, ambassadors, parliamentarians and representatives of civil society.  The meeting dealt with the thorny questions of how to protect religious freedom without letting religions themselves become oppressive of individual liberty.  The anti-Muslim video and its effects on the Middle East were very much on everyone’s mind.  Both violence for any reason and religious provocation were condemned. 

The UU-UNO continues to work at the highest levels of the United Nations to promote our values and principles.  

To support this important work please visit https://giving.uua.org/UU-UNO

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