Former Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) chair Rep. Barbara Lee is among the dozens of international leaders who convened at the United Nation’s 68th General Assembly Session in New York this week.
Earlier this month, President Obama nominated the California Democrat to represent the United States at the annual gathering, where the 193 member states deliberate on issues and make policies.
Lee’s nomination made her the first African-American woman to serve in this capacity.
Congressman Lee said she was “deeply honored” by the nomination, which was made by the recommendation of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.), and said she looked forward to representing Congress and the nation.
“The United Nations is a critical body in our global community, and is essential to our shared future. This nomination comes at a time when tensions in our world are at a fever-pitch, and I believe now more than ever that the United States must fully engage the United Nations and the international community to ensure a safer and more peaceful world,” Lee said in a statement.
She added, “It will be my goal as a Representative to the U.N. to help foster stronger ties, deeper bonds, and increase our commitment to the vision of the United Nations: a better world for all.”
The Assembly began on Sept. 17 during a critical time as the world grapples with, the civil conflict in Syria, ongoing threats of nuclear war, pervasive poverty and the need for sustainable development, among other concerns.
“The upcoming year will be pivotal for this Assembly as we seek to identify the parameters of the post-2015 development agenda,” 68th General Assembly President John W. Ashe, of Antigua and Barbuda, said in his opening address to the 193-Member State body. “The magnitude of the task before us will require decisive action and the highest levels of collaboration and we must prove ourselves and our efforts to be equal to the enormity of the task.”
Leaders have set 2015 as the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that consist of the eight anti-poverty targets set by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000. The specific goals are meant to address poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction, and a global partnership for development. At this assembly, leaders will look forward with the theme of this year’s session: “The Post 2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage.”
CBC Chair Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), said her colleague’s longtime advocacy on many of these issues makes her a perfect voice to add to the throng of world notables gathered in New York.
“Rep. Barbara Lee is one of the most outspoken advocates and leaders on developing solutions to the many challenges facing our world. During her tenure in Congress, she has diligently worked to unite Members of Congress across party lines to end poverty, to raise awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and to advance diplomatic efforts that will achieve international peace,” Fudge said in a statement.
“She has used her voice to speak against war and genocide and to speak up for those whose voices have been silenced and ignored. Through her work, Rep. Lee makes it clear that she stands for improving the lives of people in California’s 13th District, across the nation and for millions of people around the world,” Fudge added.