Heidi Dietrich
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UN Conference
Oct. 3, 2001

Before September 11, the average American worried more about gas prices than global politics. Watching an airplane fly into the side of the nation’s financial center changed everything. Terrorist attacks have turned the spotlight on international affairs, bringing new significance to the role of the United Nations.

A timely United Nations Association conference will address the organization’s role in critical world issues. On November 10, interested professors, students, business leaders, UNA members, or residents of the region can spend 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Stanford's Center for Educational Research discussing “Is the UN an endangered species?”

The conference is sponsored by the Mid-Pacific Region of the United Nations Association, which includes the Palo Alto-based mid-peninsula chapter. Goals of the local chapter are to act as a link between the community and the UN and to strengthen US participation in the UN.
Security issues will be addressed at the conference, along with global health, racism, and US relations with the UN.

Opening speaker Jeffrey Laurenti, Executive Director of Policy Studies at UNA-USA, actively promotes US participation in the UN. At a Harvard University conference last year, Laurenti warned against withdrawal from the UN.

“It could leave the field open for America’s abandoned allies to join others in applying coordinated pressures to hem in the wayward hegemon,” Laurenti said.
Closing speakers include congress members Anna Eshoo, who is active in health care issues, and Tom Lantos, a Holocaust survivor from Hungary who serves on the House International Relations Committee.

US Senator Barbara Boxer will also speak at the conference’s end. Boxer, who has been a California senator since 1993, is a member of the senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations. Local assembly member Jim Simitian was invited to be a closing speaker, but cannot attend the conference.

The conference fee will range from $25 to $35. Interested parties should contact Mary Granholm of the UNA-USA Midpeninsula, at 650-326-3170.

To write this brief, informative article, I attempted to contact the local UNA chapter. Unfortunately, no one was able to speak with me prior to the class session. I then researched the UNA and the invited speakers on the Internet. I attempted to reach assembly member Joe Simitian, and was told that he had declined the request to speak at the conference.

I believe that this article doesn’t deserve a great deal of column space, and that an article after the conference could be more lengthy. Speakers might have addressed interesting points, which could lead to subsequent issues. Since the conference is still more than a month away, it is doubtful that the politicians have prepared their remarks, and more should develop from the event itself. The purpose of this blurb is to inform the public that there’s a conference they can take advantage of, and to give them a general sense of who will be there.

I do believe, however, that this article is a bit incomplete - mainly because it gives no information on what will be happening between the opening speaker and closing speaker. Before I would publish this, I would be sure to gather that information from Mary Granholm.