News and Events


15 November, 2018 – La_Ciudad_posterWCPUN/What Moves You?, Cinema Tropical, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU, are pleased to present a special edition of the INDOCUMENTALES immigration film and conversation series, with David Riker’s 1998 film LA CIUDAD. Following the screening, filmmaker David Riker, and Rev. Schuyler Vogel of the Fourth Universalist Society, which is actively working for the rights of immigrants in New York City, will engage the audience in a conversation on NYC perspectives on immigration, past and present, moderated by WCPUN Executive Director and INDOCUMENTALES co-founder, Shamina de Gonzaga. 6:00 pm at NYU’s King Juan Carlos Center, 53 Washington Square South.

Global values in times of rising nationalism

09 November, 2018 – WCPUN Executive Director, Shamina de Gonzaga, and International Rescue Committee Board Member and Former UN Assistant Secretary-General, Gillian Sorensen were invited to address the Unitarian Universalist Association at the United Nations. Hailing from across the US,  UUA members expressed support for Sorensen and de Gonzaga’s call to remember the interconnectedness between global issues and national interest, and focus on developing inclusive approaches to problem-solving.

Impact of US Midterms on the UN

08 November, 2018 – WCPUN Vice President and Chairman of the UNA-USA Council of Organizations, Aaron Etra, hosts a briefing for civil society representatives with Peter Yeo of the Better World Campaign and the UN Foundation, on the implications of the US Midterms for US-UN relations. Peter Yeo emphasized the importance of constituent voices in engaging new members of Congress to understand the work of the United Nations, and its relevance to issues on their agenda.


A69E229A-423E-4FF3-9B5C-7664F90B247901 November, 2018 – Artist and WCPUN Cultural Adviser, Gema Álava ‘s work is exhibited and discussed at the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)  in the context of the 11th Creative Time Summit, entitled On Archipelagos and Other Imaginaries—Collective Strategies to Inhabit the World, which focused on the concept of “coalition” and utilized the archipelago as a framework to delve into Miami’s historical connection to the Caribbean and, by extension, to Latin America and the entire world. Gema Alava’s work was presented in dialogue with the work of artists Yucef Merhi and Rodolfo Peraza in a panel led by curator, Elvis Fuentes, about how the work of these three artists encourage conversation about the importance of transparency in times of digital communication. Read more

Mayor of the City of Miami Beach addresses single-use plastics

IMG_342229 October, 2018: Mayor of the City of Miami Beach, Mr. Dan Gelber, and his Cabinet met with longtime sustainability champion, former Executive Director of ECOMB, and newly appointed WCPUN Representative for South Florida, Luiz Rodrigues, and WCPUN Executive Director, Shamina de Gonzaga, to discuss his plans to reduce single-use plastics in Miami Beach. The current ordinance prohibits plastic straws from being used/distributed at all city-owned properties and by any private business that leases public spaces, such as sidewalk cafés, and provides for a phase-out approach. While plastic straws represent the 5th most commonly found item in the oceans, other single-use plastics that that could be phased out include plastic utensils, plates, cups and food containers. A pre-emptive state law currently prohibits cities in Florida from banning plastic bags. However, this law is being presently challenged by the City of Coral Gables. Mayor Gelber expressed his willingness to do everything possible to make progress in this area and invited concerned groups to propose tangible action points for his consideration. A recent WWF report noted: “This is the ‘last generation’ that can save nature,” and found that 90% of sea birds have plastics in their stomachs, compared with 5% in 1960, and about half of the world’s shallow-water corals have been lost in the past three decades. Read more



Achieving Global Access to Health Care Treatments

_room 422 August, 2018 – WCPUN, in collaboration with the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, The Institute for Art and Olfaction, The Puerto Rico Reiki Institute, is hosting a workshop on “Achieving Global Access to Health Care Treatments: The Role of New Technology, Traditional and Integrative Medicine.”  3:00 pm – 4:15 pm United Nations Conference Room 11. Featuring presentations by Xu, Anlong, President, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine; Koan Jeff Baysa, M.D., Medical Avatar and Institute of Art and Olfaction; Mayra Rodriguez-Mohamed, PhD, Hon. The Puerto Rico Reiki Institute;Moderator: Shamina de Gonzaga, WCPUN. The Workshop is on the occasion of the 67th Annual United Nations DPI/NGO Conference “We the Peoples…Together Finding Global Solutions for Global Problems” Programme and bios

Bees, Art, and the Power of Human Connection

18 July, 2018 – Art Activist Matthew Willey will share the story of “Colony Expanse,” his 193-bee installation currently on display in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Matthew is the Founder of Good of the Hive, an initiative based on his personal commitment to hand-paint 50,000 bees on murals around the globe. WCPUN is pleased to join the Good of the Hive, Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, and NYC Parks in co-presenting “Colony Expanse.”


A4SD Resilient Societies, Resilient People

14-15 JuIMG_3202ly, 2018 – Action for Sustainable Development (A4SD) and the NGO Major Group held a workshop on Inclusion of Civil Society in the 2030 Agenda, during the UN High level Political Forum. With opening remarks by Mary Robinson, the workshop brought together diverse constituencies from across the globe. WCPUN Executive Director and A4SD Facilitation Group member, Shamina de Gonzaga, facilitated a panel on “working together to improve the implementation and review process at the national, regional and global level,” featuring insights from Alyson Neel, UN Foundation; Idriss Alzouma Maiga, African Disability Forum; Frances Zainoeddin, Stakeholder Group on Aging. https://action4sd.orgIMG_4901

World Health Day

07 April, 2018 – In honor of World Health Day, the World Health Organisation is focusing on Universal Health Coverage. Daphne Teo, WCPUN Global Health Correspondent, explains:

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a key agency of the United Nations driving global health, and the constitution of the organization came into force on 7 April 1948. 70 years after its founding, the overarching WHO message for this year is: extending Universal Health Coverage to all is the best way to achieving Sustainable Development Goals #3: Ensure the health lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is about ensuring that people have access to the health care they need without suffering financial hardship. It also helps drive better health and development outcomes. A report released in 2017 jointly by the WHO and the World Bank entitled, “Tracking Universal Health Coverage: 2017 Global Monitoring Report,” showed that 50% of the world’s population cannot obtain essential health services. Moreover, 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets. In 2018, the WHO is planning to galvanize the health sector, countries, development partners, civil society and the private sector toward the common goal of Universal Health Coverage, and continue to highlight country success and breakthrough experiences to accelerate the progress of Universal Health Coverage. Universal health coverage does not mean free coverage for all possible health interventions, regardless of the cost, as no country can provide all services free of charge on a sustainable basis. With that in mind, the WHO emphasizes that countries will be empowered to develop their own tailored roadmaps towards Universal Health Coverage via country-led models of development finance that can bring together multiple sources of financing to support countries’ priorities. On December 12, 2018, the International Universal Health Coverage Day will be the culmination point to assess how far countries are progressing towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, followed by a high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage in 2019 by the United Nations General Assembly.



Liberation Lab

27 March, 2018 –     As part of a collaboration between WCPUN and NYU Professor Nicholas Mirzoeff, Senior Media Seminar students of the visual activism course “Liberation Lab” studied social justice issues through the lens of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Upon their visit to the UN, they had the opportunity to learn from, and exchange ideas with Vinicius Pinheiro, Director of the International Labour Organisation UN Office, Melanie Randisi of the United Nations Correspondents Association, and Pragati Pascale, Spokesperson for the Rio +20 Conference and longtime UN official. The students’ manifesto to be created at the end of their semester will be disseminated by WCPUN.