WFUNA Leadership Discusses Vision for the Future

Shawn Chen, President of WFUNA, and Teta Banks, Chair of WFUNA’s Executive Committee, discuss WFUNA’s future and expanding the network’s reach.

The following is a summary of interviews held with WFUNA’s leaders about the organization’s impact and their visions for the future of WFUNA.

Shawn Chen, President of WFUNA, is an entrepreneur, educationalist, and promoter of global citizenship. He is the Founder and the Chairman of the Board of Sias International University and serves as the President of the Association of Universities of Asia and Pacific (AUAP). He is also the Founder of Plug and Play Corporation.

Dr. Chen believes that WFUNA is an integral organization in building effective partnerships globally to strengthen the work of UNAs in their countries and to affect the goals of the United Nations. As an advocate of lifelong learning, he believes that education, business, and entrepreneurship in the work of civil society can be intersected to increase progress on human rights issues.

On the future of WFUNA, Dr. Chen spoke about his great respect for the organization’s history and what it has accomplished in 77 years. He believes in focusing on the organization’s strengths and not shying away from change when needed. He looks forward to working with WFUNA and the UNAs as we move forward in this critical time of post-pandemic and geo-political issues, such as the climate crisis, refugee crisis, and human rights.

Teta Banks, Chair of WFUNA’s Executive Committee, is a diplomat, university professor/administrator, civil rights advocate, Founder and President of the International Forum, Inc., and former Chair of UNA-USA. She has served on the Executive Committee since 2018 but her introduction to the organization came twenty years prior when she joined UNA-USA due to her concern for global policies regarding Diaspora nations and the increasing human rights issues in the USA and globally.

Her vision for WFUNA is to expand its impact on the global stage and increase collaboration between UNAs. This includes more participation in WFUNA’s programs, providing input on issues via media and scholarly white papers, and increasing visibility at the UN via summits and special sessions. She believes WFUNA has the opportunity to increase its positioning with key UN and governmental offices to further its impact as was its founding charge: “To be a peoples’ movement for the United Nations.”

When asked what message she would like to share with the members of WFUNA, she expressed her hope for all to recognize the great opportunity and responsibility of being a critical global organization positioned to impact world issues: “We must lend our voices to issues in our countries and those that are global issues as we uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Charter.”

At this 75th anniversary year of the UDHR, Ms. Banks believes it is imperative to educate, analyze, develop and implement actions that will move countries forward on the path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and beyond. She knows that WFUNA stands at the helm of global civic leadership working toward creating world peace, ensuring human rights, and developing actions to ensure a better world for all and generations to come. She is honored to serve as Chair of the Executive Committee and believes that out of many backgrounds and perspectives, this network will continue to strive to achieve the ultimate goal of impacting global peace.

Read more about WFUNA’s leadership.

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