Building a Shared Future

“The story of America is about the actualization of freedom.” 

Dr. Don Betz offered this comment to illustrate the values of the United Nations as they are expressed in the UN Millennium Declaration. He encouraged his listeners to compare the fundamental values of the United Nations to the goals and aspirations of all Americans.

The fundamental goals of the UN, Dr. Betz said, are Freedom, Equality, Solidarity, Tolerance, Respect for Nature, and Shared Responsibility.

“The world has said these are our priorities as an international community,” Betz observed. He went on to describe the progress that has been made since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration in the year 2000.

Dr. Betz was speaking at our UN Day luncheon at the University of Central Oklahoma. About 50 members and friends of the United nations Association gathered to enjoy a good meal, excellent company, and a timely message delivered by the president of the university.

The UN Millennium Development Goals were launched in 2000, the result of an international development conference convened by the UN General Assembly. The launch of the “MDG’s” has been described as “…the most effective anti-poverty campaign in history.”

Dr. Betz offered a thumbnail sketch of the progress that has been made so far:

On Goal Number 1 — the UN’s goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger — the UN has scored a “huge global win.” Extreme poverty rates have been cut in half since 1990.

Reporting on Goal Number 2 (focused on the achievement of universal primary education), Dr. Betz noted that enrollment in primary education in developing regions of the world has reached 90%.

On a related goal — Goal Number 3, to promote gender equality and empower women — Betz reported that, with only a few exceptions, the world has achieved equality in primary education between girls and boys.

A complete report on the success of the MDG’s can be found on the UN’s website.

“These are astonishing statistics that you don’t read on the front page of the newspaper,” Dr. Betz commented.

He outlined the progress that has been made on each of the UN’s 8 Millennium Development Goals — measures which deal broadly with health, education, poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, and promoting a global partnership for development.

President Betz acknowledged that the UN has been able to achieve these successes — but only with the help of others.

In this regard, he described the UN’s relative weakness as an international organization. It has no army. It has only a meager budget. It is dependent on contributions from its 193 member nations.

Moreover, it relies on support from thousands of international non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) which have sprung up over the course of decades. The Millennium Declaration expresses the UN’s resolve, “…To develop strong partnerships with the private sector and with civil society organizations in pursuit of development and poverty eradication.”

Despite the UN’s relative weakness, the men and women of the UN are empowered by a common vision which is the realization of two axioms:

None of us are smarter than all of us; and

All of us are in it together.

Taken together, these thoughts form the fundamental precept of the United Nations.

“We are inextricably interwoven” with the rest of the world, Dr. Betz said. Our lives and our fortunes are tied up with the lives and fortunes of the people who co-habit our planet.

And, even though the UN is a human institution (with inevitable human foibles and failings), it continues to represent our best hope for the future.

In introducing his topic, Dr. Betz recalled a quote from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881 – 1955), a French scientist and philosopher:

“The Age of Nations is passed. If we are not to perish, we must set aside our ancient prejudices and build the Earth.” 

Each of us is part of the effort to create a shared future, based on our common humanity in all its diversity.

For more news about the world’s progress on meeting the MDG’s, see the website of the UN Millennium Campaign …

The Best Reason


What’s the best reason to attend our UN Day Luncheon next Saturday (October 26) in Edmond? 

I think it’s the people. 

I’ve often said that you won’t find a better group of folks anywhere in our state.

Here’s how Dorothy Messenger describes her appreciation for the people of our chapter of the UN Association:

“There are many things I like about being a member of our chapter.  I appreciate the fact that its membership includes persons of many ethnic backgrounds and persons of different religious faiths.  The membership is inter-generational and represents a variety of vocations and opinions.  

“I’m grateful that the UNA-USA affords me an opportunity to become better informed about the activities of the United Nations and the whole world scene.  It’s good to be a part of an organization where all the members obviously share a love of our nation and of the world and want to have a part in helping our nation to live up to its highest ideals.”

(You can read Dorothy’s complete message, “The Long View,” on our blog).

I hope you’ll choose to enjoy a good meal and great company with us next Saturday, October 26th.

If you haven’t reserved a seat, there is still time to complete your registration. (And now we’ve made it easy to pay for your tickets online). Tickets are reasonably priced at $20 / each; Students pay $10.

(Sorry — The registration book for this event has closed)

Here’s the link for more information:

But, hurry … The registration book is scheduled to close on Monday. 

Here’s another thought from Dorothy:

“Being a member of the UNA-USA is extremely important to me because it makes me feel I am part of a huge, centuries-old movement of humankind, a movement of people who are convinced that there are better ways than war for settling national disputes.”  

I hope to see you next Saturday at UCO in Edmond! 

Bill Bryant
Communications Director
Greater Oklahoma City Chapter
United Nations Association of the USA

Why Do You Support the United Nations Association?

We asked our Oklahoma members and friends.
Here is a sampling of what they said ….

The Payment Button

Want to Pay for Your Luncheon Ticket Online? 

Now, You Can! 

OK, OK … Apparently, this E-Commerce thing we’ve heard so much about is a real thing.

So, we’re happy to make this announcement … If you’re an online shopper, you now have the option to buy your luncheon ticket via the internet.

First, complete your ticket reservation form (Here’s the Link).

Second, make your payment. Here’s the button:

Ticket Type
Regular $20.00 USD Student $10.00 USD

Select “Regular” or “Student” ticket; then click “Add to Cart.” You’ll be directed to a secure payment site managed by PayPal. If you need to purchase additional tickets, you can do so by choosing the “Continue Shopping” option on the PayPal site. (You’ll be directed back here to choose the ticket type and add your second ticket to the cart).

A simpler way to pay.

With PayPal, you have the freedom and flexibility to pay the way you want — using your credit card, debit card, or bank account — all while keeping your financial information secure.

Click the button above to make the payment on your luncheon ticket(s).

Thanks for supporting your Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association! 

Our Venue

Have you completed the registration form for your seat at our Annual UN Day Luncheon on Saturday, October 26th?

The registration book for this event has closed. 

We hope you’ll join us for our UN Day Luncheon in 2014!

We will convene at the Nigh Center at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

The Nigh University Center is centrally located in the heart of Edmond, just minutes from Oklahoma City.

Here are directions to the Nigh University Center

From Interstate 35:  Take the East 2nd Street/US 77 South exit #141.  Turn on to East 2nd westbound. Follow East 2nd Street for approximately 2.5 miles to Garland Godfrey Drive and turn right at stoplight. (See further instructions below.)

From Interstate 235/Broadway/UC77:  Follow US77/Broadway into Edmond northbound to East 2nd Street.  Turn onto East 2nd Street eastbound for approximately .5 miles to Garland Godfrey Drive and turn left at stoplight.  (See further instructions below.)

Facing North, the building directly in front of you is the Nigh University Center.  Follow signs to the Visitor Parking Lot, located directly to the East of the building.  Entering through the main front doors, you are on the 2nd floor of the building.  

Our event room — the Heritage Room — is Room 326.

If you’re using Google Maps, try using this address: 744 E. Main St., Edmond, OK 73034. It will put you close to where you’re going! 

About Our Speaker

UCO’s President Don Betz will Deliver
The Keynote Speech at our UN Day
Luncheon on October 26th 

University of Central Oklahoma President Don Betz, Ph.D., has enjoyed a distinguished career in higher education that spans more than 40 years, developing a reputation for teaching and encouraging students, and leadership development. He is known for his diplomacy skills, developed through his international activities, most notably with the United Nations and its affiliated non-governmental organizations. Dr. Betz held leadership positions at several universities before accepting the position as President of the University of Central Oklahoma in 2011.

He currently is serving a three-year term on the International Association of University Presidents executive committee and as chair of its North American Council. President Betz was selected to attend the 2011 Fulbright-Hays Seminar for Presidents, held in Oman and Jordan. Most recently, he was selected as a 2013 inductee of the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame, and received the 2012 Governor’s Arts Award from the Oklahoma Arts Council in recognition of his support and advancement of the arts throughout his career.

President Betz has dedicated himself to advancing international relations, with a focus on the Middle East. He founded and chaired the International Coordinating Committee on the Question of Palestine, a U.N.-affiliated non-governmental organization (NGO) network pursuing peace in the Middle East. He served as chairperson and/or speaker at more than 50 U.N. conferences, seminars, and symposiums around the globe.

A frequent writer and speaker, President Betz has addressed international, educational and motivational topics. He has traveled to more than 80 countries following his lifelong interest in global issues and his passion for promoting cross-cultural understanding. President Betz holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of San Francisco as well as a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Denver.

For more information about our UN Day Luncheon, see our blog entry “Our UN Day Luncheon — You’re Invited!” … link here.