Over 1,800 Americans are heading to the United Nations today as part of the “Global Engagement Summit” today. Those headed to UN headquarters in New York are members of various United Nations Associations’ around the country, including members from 42 states, and college students from 103 schools across the country.
The fact that so many are making the trip to New York today is a demonstration of Americans’ overall support of the UN.
That support is born out in recent polling data. A nationwide poll in October by a bi-partisan polling firm found that 88 percent of voters believe that that it is important for the United States to remain actively engaged with the United Nations. Millennials surveyed were even more strongly in favor of US engagement at the UN, with 92% agreeing that the US should maintain an active role at the United Nations.
These results seem to be reflected in the United Nations Association of the United States membership trends. “The poll’s findings among millennial voters are in line with what we’re experiencing with UNA-USA, where we’ve seen explosive growth among new members under the age of 25,” UNA-USA director Chris Whatley said in a statement when the poll was released. The fact that so many collegiate chapters of the UNA-USA are making the trip to Turtle Bay is yet more evidence of this trend.
The Global Engagement Summit at the UN includes a number of panel discussions and keynote addresses, including from the UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammad, US Ambassador Kelley Eckels Currie, and the economist Jeffrey Sachs.
The meeting comes at an important time for US-UN relations. The Trump administration has is increasingly turned to the UN on its toughest foreign policy challenge: North Korea. Meanwhile, it is budget season in Washington, DC and American funding for the UN does seem to be under some threat. That so many Americans are willing to flock to the UN for a day of activism and learning suggests the UN has a solid base of support among grassroots activists around the country and policymakers in DC should take heed.