There's no getting away from it; 2017 has been beset with man-made catastrophes as well as assaults on the UN and the wider principle of international cooperation.
But it's also important to remember: it wasn't all bad.
Over the past twelve months, UNA-UK's grassroots supporters have shown time and again that compassion and cooperation can trump fearmongering and divisive nationalism; and that common decency can overcome the language of hate.
Next year will not be easy. But by looking back at what we managed to achieve in 2017 under difficult circumstances, it's clear that UNA-UK's movement is up to the challenge.
At UNA-UK, we take inspiration from the initiatives we have seen, not just within our own networks but across the diverse community of individuals and organisations who campaign for equality, cooperation and peace - the values enshrined in the UN Charter.
With this in mind, our 12 'yays' of Christmas shine a positive light on 2017 by highlighting success stories from within our movement and beyond:
- Over 100 countries - the most ever - sent representatives to support peacekeeping at UNA-UK's annual ceremony in London
- UNA Canterbury hosted Helen Clark at a Service for World Peace in the Nave of Canterbury Cathedral
- Lakhdar Brahimi, one of the world's most well respected mediators and advocates for peace, guest edited the Syria issue of our magazine
- With UNA-UK's encouragement, every major political party developed a policy position on the UN ahead of the General Election
- Lord (Frank) Judd - a lifelong UNA-UK member and tireless champion for the UN - received this year's Sir Brian Urquhart Award
- Our inspiring colleagues at ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize for their work on achieving a ban on nuclear weapons - congratulations ICAN!
- The Global Dimension hub has promoted our teaching resources, helping school children to learn about over 20 global topics
- We appointed new patrons - Princess Tessy and Lord Malloch-Brown - and put our outreach trustees to work: Viv Williams and Carl Wright
- Our Global Britain scorecard generated a buzz in Parliament, local UNAs and university freshers' fairs (the UNA SOAS twitter feed always puts a smile on our faces!)
- We defended the UN and raised UNA-UK's profile with a host of media appearances
- After our successful 1 for 7 Billion campaign, we hosted António Guterres's first major speech in the UK as UN Secretary-General
- We cheered on local UNAs as they ran amazing campaigns (e.g. on Yemen) and community fundraising (e.g. the 'spooky cake sale!' or the geographically-accurate-UN-day-cup-cake sale!)
We hope these highlights will provide some inspiration as we rise to the challenges that 2018 will bring.
Stand with us
UNA-UK stands ready to defend the fundamental values we all hold dear. But we need your help. We are now facing a serious funding shortfall and need to raise £600,000 by 2020 – the UN’s 75th anniversary – if we are to secure our future. If you do not already support UNA-UK's work financially, there are a number of ways you can contribute:
- Become a UNA-UK member, or increase your membership fee via www.una.org.uk/join
- Make a one-off or regular donation via www.una.org.uk/donate
- Leave us a legacy via www.una.org.uk/legacy
- Hold a fundraising event in your local community
UNA-UK stands for peace, justice and human rights for all. Please stand with us.
Image: the UN flag flies in Canterbury Cathedral at UNA Canterbury's peace event