Bircan Ünver-Host (B.Ünver.): (To viewers) Welcome to the Light Millennium UN-NGO Profiles. My name is Bircan Unver. Today, we have two distinguished guests who are NGO (non-governmental organizations) representatives. I will let them introduce themselves.
(To the guests)
And, our first guest is Janet C. Salazar and second one is Constance J. Peak. Welcome, and nice to having you today at this program.
Let's start with Janet: Could you introduce to us your Non- Governmental Organization (NGO)?
Janet Salazar - (J.Salazar.): Thank you Bircan. First of all, it is really nice to be here and share what we do at the United Nations. I’m the Permanent Representative of my NGO, it is called the Foundation for the Support of the United Nations (FSUN), and we have chapters all over the world primarily in Asia.
B.Ünver: How many?
J.Salazar: When we started, we actually had twenty six (26) and right now, I don’t have an updated number of how many chapters we have but we are based heavily and head quartered in Japan and the Philippines.
B.Ünver: Let’s hear from Constance?
Constance J. Peak (C.J.Peak.): Well, my name is Constance J. Peak. I am the Director of the Program Development in Support for the Foundation of the United Nations. We have been with this particular NGO since 2004 and we’ve been on board to and we’ve realized and strengthened programs to the United Nations and that is what have brought us here today.
B.Ünver: So, Janet, the title of the your organization, Foundation for the Support of the United Nations. How do you support the United Nations? What type of programs do you have? Have you reached out your organization's idea and disseminate the information? How do you that?
J.Salazar: There are various programs and initiatives that my foundation do, depending on which region we are in and which chapter of a particular country we are in. But, since we are affiliated both with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and the United Nations Department of Information, we do diverse initiatives and projects. Right now, we are very much focused on the Millennium Development Goals. As you know we, are approaching 2015 and based on last year’s MDG Summit of the UN, where a 190 Presidents, Prime Ministers and Leaders of the state members in UN gathered, we’re barely halfway in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. So, my NGO is partnering with a lot of organizations like the United Nations Associations of New York where we are very active members, and of course the Department of Public Information, where I am the Treasurer and to collaboratively help achieve the Millennium Goals and hopefully at least 75% by 2015.
B.Ünver: Seventy five percent! That’s very optimistic! Something to me is not clear to understand and also I think it might be the same for most of the audience, that UN, since it’s a huge and one of the most powerful institutions in the world, how can an NGO support of the United Nations?
C.J.Peak: There are three main parts of the United Nations. The first part of the member states which are the Governments, that have signed on to the United Nations charter. The second are, the Intergovernmental Organizations such as UN, UNICEF, UNESCO, International Office of Migration. The third component are Non-Governmental Organizations or Civil Society. It takes
all three body working together to accomplish these tasks.
B.Ünver: I am aware of how that frame works because my organization is also associated with the UN, but I would like to see from the simple path about how your organization is helping to reach the MDG’s plan?
J. Salazar: If you are aware of the Millennium Campaign, my organization is doing a yearly stand-up take action campaign and we do that every September for three days, normally in the weekend and this is a worldwide initiative. Where for even a minute, groups from all walks of live like the whole country stand-up for a minute in support for the Millennium Development Goals. So our Organization for example, the one that’s head quartered in the Philippines, take a very active role in doing this, gathering everybody like students from the Capital of the Philippines, which is Manila and let everybody take a break for one minute in silence and stand as a symbol of being one universally being able to acknowledge that we could eradicate or at least lessen poverty.
B. Ünver: So this is in a form of public awareness. What else? Give us a more understanding of your organization and how your organization support the Millennium Development Goal or UN visions?
J. Salazar: Other than public awareness, we actually do grassroots. For example, the first of the Millennium Development Goal is the eradication of poverty and hunger, we actually do feeding the children initiatives. For instance in Manila, we have a lot of street children. It is like a cancer of the society to have so many homeless children not just children but homeless people in general in the streets. So what we do, my foundation that is based in the Philippines, we do a lot of feeding drives and securing that these children can eat properly and have proper nourishment.
B. Ünver: What would you like to add to that Constance?
C.J.Peak: Great thing about the Millennium Development Goal is that, its first initiative that comes from rich countries, which usually classified as North and developing nations poor countries the South. It's a collaborative effort and our position is, we have to get as many people aware and many people involve as much as possible because that’s the only way it is going to
work. And with our initiatives as Janet said, we’ve fed orphans and the street children. When we talk about the street children, there are children that are either orphaned, abandoned by their parents, or children that have been caught up in slave trade and really have no place to go. So as an example, we have done outreach such as that.
B.Ünver: So Janet, how do you reflect back those program to the UN or to the West?
J. Salazar: Well, one thing we do is, Information Drive or Awareness Campaign here in the United States and with the Millennium Development Goal No. 8, which is collaboration between the rich countries and the poor countries. This is one of the major projects that we do when we are at the United Nations. We make sure that the richer states and foundations are aware of the plight of the poorer nations like the Philippines.
B.Ünver: I also know that you are involved in other institutions and organizations at the UN, could you elaborate on that?
J. Salazart: I am involved as Treasurer of the Executive Committee of Non-Governmental Organizations that is associated with the United Nations. I am actually the first Filipino to be elected, first as Director and eventually as an Officer of the Executive Committee. We represent 1800 plus non-governmental organizations from around the world to the UN through the
Department of the Public Information. It is an exciting job and I get to be able to influence major decisions at the Department of Information on behalf of NGO’s. At the UN, we have different kinds of NGO’s. We have NGO’s that are more powerful and bigger than other smaller NGO’s from far countries or from smaller countries. So, what we do at the Executive Committee is be
the voice of the smaller NGO’s to the United Nations. It’s very fulfilling for me to be able to do that.
B. Ünver: Constance, do you have any other angle in terms of your involvement to any other organizations of whether it is associated with the UN or not?
C.J.Peak: As far as Non-Governmental Organizations my focus is to develop the program and to support other initiatives by other non-governmental organizations. We have an outreach with Migrate Heritage Commission in Washington DC and they focus on migration issues and human rights and human security. So, with that organization, we assist them with their initiatives. We also have United Nations Associations of New York, we assist them with their information drive and just getting information out to everyday people because it’s everyday people that make the change.
B. Ünver: Janet, how does the UN-DPI Executive Committee tries to reach out the Local NGO’s or local Non-Profit organizations and Civil Societies that are not associated with the UN?
J. Salazar: We actually have a Sub-Committee called outreach Sub-Committee. This outreach Sub-Committee is composed of Non-Governmental Organization representatives like us, whose expertise and skills are into reaching out to people who are representatives from other NGO’s who might be interested to get associated with the United Nations. We do outreach campus. The outreach Sub-Committee of the Executive Committee went to a University in Costa Rica. What they did was gather all the university students and presented what the United Nations is all about, and if they want to get involve, the best way is to be affiliated with the Department of Public Information.
B. Ünver: We are now at Queens Public Television, in Queens, and do you know that in Queens there are 138 spoken languages and the most diverse borough in New York and also this is part of the cable package that reaches about 400,000 household. What does the DPI and Executive Committee do to reach out local NGOs and local Non-Profits in Queens? I think there is a broken link in that.
J. Salazar: I have to say, I agree with you Bircan. It’s actually not just with the Executive Committee but the United Nations in general. What can be done is to be more visible at the grassroots level. This can start in different schools. I was a little bit surprised, but not shocked when one day I asked my 13 year old niece, “Do you know what the United Nations is?” Then she told me, “No.”
B. Ünver: That’s very sad. It’s suppose to start from the elementary school.
J. Salazar: Exactly! That is a reality and everyone in the United Nations is aware of this. If you go out of the United Nations gate and you ask a child or anybody passing, they would likely tell you “No” other than the fact that it is an institution up there in that building and all that flags from other countries, that’s it.
B. Ünver: Constance, do you have any comment or any opinion to contribute to that?
C.S. Peak: Absolutely! There is a great disconnect as far as the understanding of the United Nations to the general public and we try to bridge that gap.
B. Ünver: What are the mechanism that you could foresee?
C.J. Peak: We use the internet, we have outreach to going to schools but definitely there’s more to this that needs to be done and what we do is sit and collaborate and try to find ways how we can reach more people and how can we make people understand what’s going on and get people to help. It’s very crucial that people know, even if they understand about their local non-governmental organization, it’s a step in a right direction. When people see volunteerism, they don’t think that there’s something that they can’t contribute. It would not happen if not for regular everyday people, we are regular everyday people. There need for more of involvement and it starts with simple volunteerism whether it is a clean-up drive along the river which is part of environmental sustainability or helping out at the soup kitchen or donating clothes. People have to become engaged and that engagement, puts them in the path of understanding.
B. Ünver: I would like to bring out the panel you organized. Would you explain what was the theme of the panel?
J. Salazar: I am excited to talk about this Bircan. It was actually a back-to-back panel. Constance took care of the Tech Panel about Women in Technology. I guess she can talk more about that. My passion is about the second panel which is Diversity. To me it is very important that NGO’s and Private Sector, the Business Sector collaborate together to raise awareness for Diversity and Inclusion.
B. Ünver: So, that is the Millennium Development Goal No. 8 partnership. Could you give us a condensed summary and outcome about the panel?
J. Salazar: What came up was the two very important and major words that we picked up, and I echoed it at the audience during the panel discussion. Teamwork and Innovation. When I was moderating I actually threw the word to the audience, I said, “The word Innovation keeps coming up. It’s the 21st century and definitely there are strategies and practices that can be
worked together between Non-Governmental Organization or the Civil Society and the Business Sector. Innovation and teamwork will bring together modern day strategies, 21st century strategies, to advance both Diversity and Inclusion.”
B.Ünver: So, Constance, can you talk about the panel that you organized?
C.J.Peak: My baby was the Women in Technology panel. It was about presenting the past, the present and strategies for the future. As far as the past, a lot of people don’t realize that the strong contribution that women have made to technology. They don’t know that during the world war two, the bombing rates were actually put out on paper by women. They did the trajectories by hand and the calculations, and sent the manuals to the armory.
B.Ünver: You’re talking about the Manhattan Project, I watched that documentary.
C.J.Peak: It was before that! I’m talking about the work before the Manhattan Project, World War Two. They call them Top Secret Rosies. These women, most of them were out of University of Pennsylvania, sat down, and they call themselves women in computers. They didn’t want them to call them Programmers because they have to pay them more. They sat down with
calculators and they calculated the ballistic trajectories for every missile attack, rather every bombing attack.
B.Ünver: I don’t want to think that women were behind all those bombings and destroyed people in all parts of the world!
C.J.Peak: It’s horrible and ugly thing but, it’s still a part of the history. Those women that went on to program ENIAC, the first computer. There were two men who created it but like any computer, you have to input a language so that computer can understand what to do. And those programmers were female.
B.Ünver: You are stating something a less heard or not heard [at all] that behind the technology, were actually women behind the technology or even the world technology! That’s what you’re saying?
Constance: Absolutely! Just to give you another example of technology, the famous actress, Hedy Lamarr, who at her forty’s was the most beautiful woman in the world. People do not know that she was also an Inventor and she was a Mathematician. She figured out a way to have a radio control technology. But, it was rejected until her patent expired. Then, the patent was
picked back up by the government and because of her invention, because of her mind, we have GPS technology, we have cellphones, faxes and satellites. It’s all behind a woman!
B.Ünver: I think that satellite is different though. I have very strong information about it. Because satellite theory and vision was written and published as the first time by Arthur C. Clarke in 1945 that had led the development of its hardware technology. However, as a hardware or physical instrument that was put up in the sky as the first time that also if the women were behind it, which I am not aware of it!
C.J.Peak: Yes, and women created the repeated technology, a technology that has a message on one level that switches to another level and switches to another level, that is how our cellphones work.
B.Ünver: Now, how could you connect that to the latest panel that you put it out? For instance; each panelist talked about a very specific angle of technology at the panel. Thus, if you could link it with the two latest panel that you organized and also how to look forward?
C.J.Peak: There’s so much that it entails, there is a perception or misperception that technology means that you are in a cubicle and you’re working nine to five and everything is ground based. And that’s not the case, there’s a proof out of affiliate tech girls and they were talking about Research in Motion, the makers of Blackberry. They went to develop applications
for Blackberry and these are sixth to eight grade girls. There’s video gaming, there is coding which is, when you take information and make it into a program, make it into something that works. There’s so many different aspects, and I had a friend who runs the library for the University of Pennsylvania. She was told that she couldn’t do into computers because she wasn’t good in Math, but that wasn’t the case. Once she learned certain discipline, she was able to be effective and once certain perspectives have presented and you say, “You know what, you have a blog, you take pictures and you put them up in Facebook, you are embracing technology.” You are technology. Once that message hits home, they take it and run with it.
B.Ünver: Janet, could you tell us a little bit about your education and when did you come to the United States or what did you study and how did you get involve into the NGO world or the non-profit world? Just a little personal background.
J.Salazar: I grew up in a city called Bagiuo City, it is actually labeled as little America of the Philippines. It’s the most beautiful city for me because it is the highest part of the Philippines. It is the summer capital of the Philippines and it’s like spring time all the time. We have pine trees and it was a US Army Base. That’s why when I came over here, it wasn’t hard to adjust because what we have there, was completely Western.
B.Ünver: How old were you when you moved to the United States?
J.Salazar: I was pretty much an adult. Like I said, other than the native language we speak in the mountain provinces, English is the number one Language that we speak. It was funny when I came down to the lowlands, I call it lowland because we live in the highlands, and I went to take my Masters’ Degree in Business Administration and I couldn’t properly speak the Filipino
language which is “Tagalog.” My classmates would ask where I came from, and when I told them that I’m from Bagiuo then they understand because you know, English is widely spoken in Bagiuo City.
B.Ünver: How did you involve to the Non-profit world or the NGO?
J.Salazar: My eyes were not closed growing up as far as poverty and the plight of so many less-privileged children. I was fortunate to have been sheltered and I was provided very well. But my first eye-opener, was when I was with the Rotary, I was the youngest Rotarian of my club in Makati and we did an outreach at the Smokey mountain, which is a garbage site in Manila. I saw how they lived, they lived in a dumpsite and then I said, I have to do something.
B.Ünver: So now, let's hear briefly from Constance?
C.J.Peak: I’m from New Jersey. As far as in the activism, my parents were active in the civil right struggles, and that tripled down to me. I went into the workforce and after I did my time, I actually retired. I looked for other ways that I can help. I was exposed to a lot of social injustice not personally, but I’ve observed it, and I said, “One day I’m going be in a situation where I can make a difference and even if I can make a difference with even one life, it’s all worth it.”
B.Ünver: It’s a great pleasure having you both at the Light Millennium TV, and thank you so much for sharing with us about your NGO's profile, yourself and giving us a lot of information that we've learned through you. Thank you so much for being part of it.
(To viewers) Thank you very much for watching us!
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About The Light Millennium - LMTV/UNNGO Profiles
The Light Millennium TV - LMTV/UN-NGO Profiles Series was launched by Bircan Ünver as the producer and director of the program under the The Light Millennium TV as first in August 2006 in conjunction with the UN/DPI-NGO 59th Annual Conference.
In 2006, LMTV produced and aired five half-hour UNNGO Profiles that featured a few key UN NGO representatives who involved with the conference in the same year.
The subjects of these UNNGO Profiles are included Michaela WALSH, chair of the 2006 conference; and representatives of various NGOs: Fannie M. MUNLIN, Joan A. LEVY, Elisabeth K. SHUMAN, Leslie WRIGHT. These programs were shown under the Light Millennium TV Series on Queens Public Television’s four channels (www.qptv.org). The transcripts were published on the Lightmillennium.org web site (http://lightmillennium.org/unngo_profiles/list.html) where they can still be accessed.
LMTV has continued producing its subseries of UNNGO Profiles in conjunction to the UN/DPI-NGO 60th Annual Conference in 2007, and featured of Juan Carlos BRANDT and Richard JORDAN, co-chairs of the conference, and also Joan KIRBY and Sherrill KAZAN, co-chairs of the two different subcommittees. The host of this particular subseries in 2006 and 2007 was Dr. Judy Kuriansky.
Since the UN DPI/NGO Annual Conferences has moved out to abroad starting with the Paris Conference in 2008, then LMTV had to give a break on its UNNGO Profiles subseries. Moreover, during the 2008-2010, The Light Millennium TV only produced "Specials".
However, the LMTV TV Series has come back with its monthly series starting in January 2011 alone with its subseries UNNGO Profiles. At this time, it has not solely tied in with the UN/DPI-NGO Annual Conferences, in which, the subseries includes both with UN associated NGOs at large and also non-associated ones. Starting in January 2011 up to date, LMTV-UNNGO and NGO Profiles presented the following organizations: Peace Action, Helping Hands, Inc., Federation of Turkish American Associations, Foundation for the Support of the United Nations, United Nations for Haiti, and and Concerned People To Set The Record Straight. In this year, the LMTV and its subseries UNNGO Profiles is hosted by Bircan Ünver. (Dated: July 30, 2011)
Disclousure: This interview might be quoted or partly reproduced by given its full credits and related hyper link's as follow> "UN NGO Profiles: Foundation for the Support of the United Nations, originally e-published in the Light Millennium"
MISSION of the Light Millennium: To provide an international platform for the free expression of ideas and experiences in order to foster a global connection among all people. http://www.lightmillennium.org/lm_mission.html
The Light Millennium, has associated with the United Nations/Department of Public Information effective on December 12, 2005. The organization has been one of the active NGOs at the United Nations since its association.
For more information about Foundation for the Support of the United Nations - FSNY
Thank You Letter from the FSNY to the LMTV
About Janet Salazar
About Contance J. Peak
About Bircan Ünver
For Videography (1992-2009)
2011 LMTV Programs
LMTV/UNNGO Profiles - Interviews from the 2006:
LMTV/UNNGO Profiles - Program - 2006