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ARS Activities at the UN
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May 2016                                                                                     Issue 4, Volume 5
Dear Members,
 
Welcome to the fourth edition of the “Armenian Relief Society at the United Nations”. This edition is dedicated to the youth of the ARS: “Engaging youth is essential in passing on the torch of ARS work and mission to future generations.” We hope that you will enjoy and learn from this fourth edition.
 
Sincerely,
ARS UN Team and Editors
ARS Members Participate in the
Commission on Social Development 2016

 
The 54th Session of the Commission on Social Development took place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from February 3 to February 12, 2016.  The ARS was part of the planning committee for this conference. The purpose of the Commission for Social Development at the U.N. is to strengthen international cooperation for social development, particularly in areas of poverty eradication, productive employment, decent work, and the social inclusion of older persons, youth, family, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and persons marginalized from society and development.
The theme of this important conference was “Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world,” and it was the first session after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Social Development.  This year’s commission was the two year review and policy cycle. The commission reviewed relevant U.N. plans and programs for action in relation to the situation of social groups and the social dimension of the New Partnerships for Africa’s Development. 
The commission concluded its 54th Session by approving three draft resolutions for the adoption of the Economic and Social Council. For further reading, the draft resolutions may be found at the following link: https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/united-nations-commission-for-social-development-csocd-social-policy-and-development-division/54th-session-of-the-commission-for-social-development-csocd54/csocd54-draft-resolutions.html
 
The 54th Session of the Commission on Social Development
ARS Ungerouhis at the 54th Session of the Commission on Social Development
CSW Women Ambassadors’ Luncheon
 
On Febraury 17th, ARS ungerouhis participated at the NGO Committee on the Status of Women luncheon for Women Ambassadors to the United Nations. H.E. Ambassador Katalin Bogyay, Permanent Representative of Hungary co-sponsored the event which took place at the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the United Nations. The purpose of the luncheon was to honor and thank the women ambassadors who work at the United Nations. The event brought together UN Staff members, NGOs (including the ARS), and mission representatives. During the luncheon, ARS ungerouhis had the opportunity to interact with the wife of the Secretary General to the United Nations, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek.
 
Ungh. Valentine Berberian, Ungh. Houry Geudelekian and Ungh. Carol Jaffarian standing
with Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek at CSW Women Ambassador’s Luncheon
ARS Participates in the 2016 ECOSOC Youth Forum
 
From February 1st to February 2nd, the ARS participated in the Economic and Social Council Youth Forum action agenda entitled, “Youth Taking Action to Implement the 2030 Agenda.” The forum discussed ways in which young people can play an active role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Social Development. On February 1st , Guy Ryder, the Director of the International Labor Organization (ILO), opened the UN’s annual Youth Forum by launching, “The Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth.” Ryder stated the issue very clearly: “Today, two out of every five young persons of working age are either unemployed or working jobs that don’t pay enough to escape poverty.”
This initiative’s central goal is to address the challenges of youth employment. In consultation with governments, the initiative will coordinate employment and economic policies for job growth and social inclusion and protect labor rights to ensure that young people receive equal treatment with regard to work opportunities. Finding new and innovative solutions when looking into the future of youth and work is an ongoing challenge. The youth forum provided a space for young leaders to come up with a clear set of solutions to the challenges they face today.
Ungh Nory Boiatchian Participating at the 2016 ECOSOC Youth Forum
CSW Saturday Orientation Day
 
On March 13, 2016, thirty ARS members and interns participated in an ARS workshop orientation day organized by the UN Committee in preparation for the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York. The evening comprised of a presentation by ARS UN interns and volunteers which highlighted the importance of the work and agenda of the ARS at the UN, bringing to light the significance of fundraising, grant research and grant writing for the organization. Furthermore, ARS members learned that the key to being an accredited ECOSOC NGO is to influence policy and create partnerships and projects to improve the status of this world or one’s specific country.
Billions of dollars are available now to achieve SDGs 17 goals and NGOs are eager to become partners with funders that will allow them to be a part of the process. During the orientation, ARS members were provided with tools and information for attending the CSW60 Conference.
  
 
Ungh. Nyree Derderian Giving Opening Remarks at the ARS CSW Saturday Orientation Day
ARS Ungerouhis and members of the Central Executive Board during ARS CSW Saturday Orientation Day
CSW Consultation Day
by Margarita Banduanyan
 
On March 13, 2016, I participated in the 60th session of the CSW Consultation Day. This event took place as a way of focusing the United Nations and people attending the event from all around the world on gender-based and women-related issues at a global level. The main theme this year was to link Women’s Empowerment to the Sustainable Development Goals. Gaida, a Syrian singer, opened the ceremony with a very beautiful song. During the first part of the program, the panelists gave speeches on the linkage between women’s empowerment and gender equality with the continuing prosperity of the Sustainable Development Goals.  
During the second part of the program, the breakout sessions, participants were given free choice as to various group meetings they wanted to attend. These groups included: Peace, Security and Migration, Education and Health, Poverty and Finance, and Water and Climate Change. During the Poverty and Finance session, Ungerouhi Houry Geudelekian gave an excellent presentation on the project "Support to Development on the Border Communities in the Tavush Region." Tavush, being one of the poorest regions in Armenia, is dependent mainly on the agriculture, where 43% of the agricultural force, food production and preparation are fulfilled by rural women.
ARS, Inc., in partnership with UNDP, has taken a chance with the opportunity to work towards as many SDGs as possible, such as SDG 1(poverty eradication), SDG 2 (Hunger), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 8 (Employment) and SDG 17 (Partnerships). As a result, UNDP in Armenia signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Armenian Relief Society, as a first step of initiating the construction of greenhouses with drip irrigation. This shows that SDG 17, global partnership, is an essential goal in order to fulfill the rest of the SDGs; we can also see that creating such projects expands women’s participation in the labor force, agriculture and production, which leads to gender equality.
 
Margarita Banduanyan during CSW Consultation Day
ARS Ungerouhis and Consultation day volunteers together during CSW 2016 Consultation Day
CSW ARS Annual Side Event 2016
 
On March 14, 2016 at UN Headquarters during CSW week, the Armenian Relief Society Inc. (ARS), in collaboration with the Mission of Armenia to the UN, held a side event entitled, “Uplifting Women from Poverty through Partnerships.” Ungerouhi Nyree Derderian discussed the UNDP project taking place in Armenia in cooperation with the Russian Federation, Armenia and the ARS. In addition to Ungh. Nyree’s presentation, Ambassador Mnatsakanyan and five other panelists spoke of their work in relation to gender equality and women’s empowerment.  The “3 E-s” were mentioned during the panel: Empowerment, Education, and Employment, which play a vital role for SDG 5 fulfillment. It was highlighted that in order to achieve SDG 5, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, men must be engaged to make a difference. Women alone cannot do all the work, and if the world definitely wants to achieve global gender equality by 2030, then everyone (including men) must be willing to take into account women’s issues and make a global change together.
 
Members of the CEB in attendance at the  ARS CSW60 Side Event
Room during the March 14th
ARS CSW Annual Side Event
ARS Health Committee Co-Sponsored Event
 
On March 18th, the ARS co-sponsored an event with the International Health Awareness Network, New York University College of Nursing, Soroptomist International, and Congolese Women’s Caucus entitled, “A Quality Health Workforce for Healthy Families and Sustainable Communities & Cities.” Speakers included Gabrielle Casper, Fellow at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Antonia M. Villarruel, Dean of the School of Nursing at University of Pennsylvania, and Mwansa Nkowane, Technical Officer, Nursing and Midwifery Specialist in Human Resource Development Health Workforce Department, World Health Organization (WHO/Geneva). The event took place in the Boss Room of the United Nations Church Center (CCUN) building and concluded with a lively question and answer session from participants.
 
ARS members of USA Eastern Region and France at the Health Committee/ARS co-sponsored event
Participants of the CoNGO NGO CSW regional committee meeting
 



CoNGO NGO CSW Regional Committee Establishment Meeting
 
On March 16th, CoNGO held the NGO CSW regional committee establishment meeting.  After several years of gestation, the process toward the creation of four new CoNGO substantive committees reached fruition at this meeting in March with the presence of a wide representation of NGO’s from several regions. The new Committees on the Status of Women are NGO CSW Latin America, NGO CSW Africa, NGO CSW Asia Pacific and NGO CSW Arab States-MENA.  These committees will join the voice of women of the three already existing CSW commits in Geneva, New York and Vienna. With the presence of ARS in many parts of the world, this is a good opportunity for our members in these regions to become involved in these committees.
 
ARS Co-Sponsors United Nations NGO Health Committee’s Program, “The Global Paradox of Obesity and Malnutrition,” on April 28, 2016
 
This program was co-sponsored by the Armenian Relief Society, the International Health Awareness Network, New York University College of Nursing, and Soroptomist International. Gladys Witt Strain presented, “Obesity as a Disease.”  Obesity has recently been re-classified as a disease.  Currently, there are more obese people in the world than underweight people. Maureen Gallagher presented, “Undernutrition and Malnutrition.”  Both lead to micro-nutritional deficiencies including iron, vitamin A, iodine, vitamin C, niacin, and thiamine.  In addition to undernutrition and malnutrition leading to growth failure, they also increase the risk of developing infection and diseases, including malaria, diarrheal disease, and respiratory infection.  The Armenian Relief Society is proud to sponsor programs at the United Nations that benefit, not only Armenia and the Diaspora, but other nations, as well.
CSW Reflection 
by Talin Bagdassarian
 
The 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) provided an opportunity for women, and men, to participate in discussions over a two-week period related to women’s issues and women’s rights. The topics varied from sexual and reproductive rights to the role of Syrian women in the refugee crisis. What I found most interesting about CSW was how so many women from different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds could come together and create a space where there could be meaningful discussions about the issues pertinent to them. At the end of each discussion, participants left feeling more knowledgeable about the issues discussed and about how they could help educate their respective communities.
Advocacy training sessions were crucial for providing participants with the information and tools necessary to be successful in advocating for women’s rights. I also enjoyed the opportunity to attend meetings with several members from ARS focused around domestic violence against women and the status of women in Syria. I was very proud to be an ARS intern, because I felt connected to the other ARS women and the work they were doing to support women’s rights.
The 60th session of CSW concluded with the production of an outcome document that focused on the importance of better data, the need for increased financing, and the role of policies and institutions in the larger scheme of advancing women’s rights.


ARS intern Talin Bagdassarian
ARS UN Executive Committee

Valentine Berberian; USA, Chair
Nyree Derderian; USA, CEB liaison
Silva Takvorian; USA, CEB liaison

Sarine Adishian; USA
Araxie Apelian-Kolanian; Greece
Annie Babikian; Canada
Lucy Arevian; Lebanon
Pauline Getzoyan; USA
Ani Hotoyan-Joly; Canada
Garine Hovsepian-Manoyan; Canada
Frida Kezelian-Hadjian; Armenia
Gayane Khatchigian; France
Lucy Pamboukdjian; South America
Lucy Pampalian; Australia
Karine Shamlian; USA
Nora Simonian; USA
Meline Toufayan; USA
ARS UN Representatives

New York
Suzi Azarian

Valentine Berberian
Carol Jaffarian
Nory Noiatchian
Linda Tarzian

Geneva
Dorine Kouyoumjian

Armik Yeromian
Annie Yeromian-Sallier


ARS UN Coordinator
Houry Geudelekian


 
ARS@ UN Newletter
Armenian Relief Society
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