United Nations Association of Australia

The United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) is the official non-profit, non-government, membership-based, organisation in Australia working on behalf of the United Nations core body to promote its overall aims and ideals, and equally seeking to build support for the UN's programs, activities, and agencies. The UNAA official mission is "to inform, inspire and engage all Australians regarding the work, goals and values of the UN to create a safer, fairer and more sustainable world". It has division offices in every State and Territory of Australia, with the national office run out of Canberra.

United Nations Association of Australia
Australia Map
UNAA Offices
Legal statusAssociation
  • Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Hobart, Darwin, Adelaide
Region served
Official language
Governor-General of Australia His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d)
National president
Mario D'Elia

The UNAA works closely with United Nations specialised agencies and departments such as the UNDPI, UNIC, and UNHCR, and has consultative status with ECOSOC as a member of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA).[1] The organisation also works closely with the Australian Government, especially the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Australian Parliamentarians.

The UNAA is governed by a National Board which meets quarterly. The National Board elects a representative Executive Team, including National Executive Director, currently[when?] Lachlan Hunter, to take responsibility for the ongoing work nationally. Its national president is Mario D'Elia, who succeeded Major General (Ret'd) Michael G. Smith {{AO in 2019, who in turn succeeded Australian Senator Russell Trood in 2016, who in turn had succeeded Australian Politician Robert Hill in 2012.

The UNAA also works to support various initiatives of the United Nations which focus on key international affairs topics such as (but not exclusive to):

The UNAA hosts over 150 events a year across Australia; hosts public awards ceremonies on a variety of social, media, and environmental topics; drives celebratory UN observance day activities; operates development projects overseas and generally acts as a key link between the UN and the Australian public.[2]

The UNAA group has various organs including, but not limited to: a national academic network, a federal parliamentary group, Divisions in every state and territory, a Young Professionals network, a Youth network, and a national office.


The UNAA was established in 1946 and in the following decades, the Association and its state divisions grew and expanded their programs. In 1979 the Victorian division established the annual Media Peace Awards, followed by the establishment of the World Environment Day Awards.[3] During the International Year of the Tree (1982), the UNAA and the Nursery Industry Association of Australia founded an environmental organisation; Greening Australia, to protect, restore, and conserve Australia's native vegetation.[4]

Media Peace AwardsEdit

The UNAA Media Peace Awards, established in 1979, were awarded on UN Day (24 October), to recognise Australian journalists and media organisations "who had excelled in their promotion of human rights and issues". These Awards are no longer being presented,[5] with the last awards being given in 2018.[6][7][8][9][10]

A 2015 finalist was an IQ2 debate at The Ethics Centre, for "its role in stimulating public awareness and understanding". The debate achieved prominence in the media owing to an address by journalist Stan Grant on "racism and the Australian Dream".[11][12]

Model United NationsEdit

The UNAA’s Victorian division hosts student Model United Nations (MUN) Conferences in high schools and universities around the state. These day-long conferences aim to increase student awareness of the United Nations, its processes, values, and the complex issues brought before the UN and the international community, while developing a sense of civic responsibility as future global citizens.[13]

UNAA Young Professionals NetworkEdit

The UNAA Young Professionals (UNAA YP) network involves and inspires young professionals throughout Australia in international affairs and the work of the United Nations around the world, through fundraising, awareness-raising, and advocacy campaigns.

The UNAA YP network brings together a diverse mix of working young professionals from business, law, government, the arts, and philanthropy that are mainly aged 25 to 35.

The UNAA YP network provides an exciting opportunity to interact with like-minded people and gives young professionals from all walks of life a unique forum in which to learn more about current international issues, the United Nations, and the work of the UN Association in Australia.

Young people have access to exclusive events featuring high-level speakers from the United Nations, expert practitioners from the government sector, academics, and influential members of the business community. The UNAA YP also presents an opportunity to take on leadership positions to make a positive impact on a global scale as well as offers valuable networking opportunities amongst like-minded peers and influential individuals across the business and professional world in Australia.

Equivalent UNA Young Professionals programs can be found in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, United States, and other countries.

Currently in Australia, the UNAA Young Professionals network has official groups located in all Australian capital cities.

United Nations Youth Australia (UNYA)Edit

United Nations Youth Australia (UNYA) is a youth led organisation, born out of the organisation in the 1970s. Its members are aged below 25 years.[14] UN Youth Australia is not a division of, or run by, the UNAA.


  1. ^ WFUNA EcoSoc and UNDPI affiliation Archived March 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ United Nations Days, Weeks, Years Calendar Archived February 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ UNAA awards
  4. ^ "History of Greening Australia". Archived from the original on 20 February 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  5. ^ "Media Awards". UNAA Victoria. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  6. ^ "UN Day Media Awards". Archived from the original on 2018.
  7. ^ "United Nations Association of Australia: Media awards 2017". TV Tonight. 30 October 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  8. ^ Healey, Briana (11 July 2016). "The 2016 United Nations Media Peace Awards are open for entries". Influencing News. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  9. ^ "United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Awards 2013". Mumbrella. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  10. ^ "UNAA Media Peace Awards 2015 [flyer]" (PDF). Retrieved 15 February 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Davey, Melissa (24 January 2016). "Stan Grant's speech on racism and the Australian dream goes viral". the Guardian. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Stan Grant: Racism and the Australian dream". The Ethics Centre. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  13. ^ UNAA Victoria Model UN Program
  14. ^ [1] {{webarchive |url=https://unyouth.org.au}

External linksEdit