The Women’s National Book Association at the United Nations
The Women’s National Book Association has been a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) member of the United Nations since 1959. An NGO is defined as “any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group that is organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions, bring citizens’ concerns to governments, monitor policies and encourage political participation at the community level.” As a NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information, we must meet the following four criteria in order to remain a member in good standing.
- Share the ideals of the UN Charter.
- Operate solely on a not-for-profit basis.
- Have a demonstrated interest in United Nations issues and proven ability to reach large or specialized audiences, such as educators, media representatives, policy makers and the business community.
- Have the commitment and means to conduct effective information programmes about UN activities by publishing newsletters, bulletins, pamphlets; organizing conferences, seminars and roundtables; and enlisting the cooperation of the media.
In short, it is our responsibility to support the United Nations in its goals and to win support for those goals among the wider community we work with. In effect, WNBA members are to be ambassadors for the U.N. Our organization disseminates information about the U.N. through all the means at our disposal, especially through our national and chapter publications and monthly programs. Furthermore, we agree to participate in activities for NGOs at the U.N. New York City headquarters, including regular briefings, workshops and the annual DPI/NGO conference. WNBA has consistently met these obligations over past years, thus maintaining its status as a “NGO in good standing.” The Association is current and up-to-date with all mandatory paperwork as required by DPI, notably the Annual Review. The 2013 filing was submitted on December 8, 2013, with designated Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): : Achieving universal primary education; Promoting gender equality and empowering women; Reducing child mortality rates; and Country Focus: United States and Afghanistan.
The Association is also committed to the achievement of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the year 2015.
During the past six decades, WNBA has had five NGO representatives: Beatrice James, Helen Wessells Hettinger, Rose Eichelberger, Claire Friedland, and Sally Wecksler. In January 2001, Jill Tardiff (WNBA-NYC chapter) was appointed to the position of chief representative, and is currently serving in that role. In addition, Nancy Stewart (WNBA-Nashville) joined Ms. Tardiff as the Association’s alternate representative that same year, and continues to work with Ms. Tardiff, especially in activities that support WNBA’s informal partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Our current NGO Representatives at the United Nations Department of Public Information include: Jill A. Tardiff (Main); Nancy Stewart (First Alternate); Marilyn Berkman (Second Alternate); Dena Mekawi (First Youth Rep); Jenna Vacarro (Second Youth Rep).
There is also the WNBA Committee for U.N. Relations that is comprised of members from the Association’s chapters (Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.). Their individual and group role supposedly is to assist primarily with consensus building among chapter members, as well as with the dissemination of information received from the chief and alternate representatives, distribution of materials in support of related national and chapter activities, including fund-raising and partnership-building, and provide an annual accounting of said activities.
The WNBA fosters individual member projects related to the mission of the U.N. and its various initiatives like the MDGs.
The Women’s National Book Association has a special on-going relationship with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF as a civil society partner. This partnership was conceived and developed in 2004 under the auspices of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (NGO Section). The Association current advocacy extends to the Fund’s U.S. initiatives including Believe in Zero Campaign, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Campaign, Teach UNICEF, UNICEF Tap Project, and Shop UNICEF — and most of all its Philippines Typhoon Haiyan emergency relief effort.
For more information about the United Nations:
About U.N. Agencies and Divisions:
Division for the Advancement of Women
Division for Sustainable Development (DSD)
About the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Millennium Development Goals—A Gateway to the U.N. System’s Work on the MDGs
Other Offices and Programmes / U.N. Departments
Committee on Teaching About the U.N. (CTAUN)
For further reference (and great reading) go to:
Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (Penguin Books, 2007)
Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson (Viking Adult, 2009)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, 2004)
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, 2008)
Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children by John Wood (Harper Paperbacks, 2007)
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn (Knopf, 2009)
A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman by Lisa Shannon, founder of Run for Congo Women (Seal Press, 2010)