Tag Archives: united nations

mediation - AZ Business Magazine March/April 2012

U.N. taps Arizona Summit Law School prof to design system

FOX_8043SGonzalesArizona Summit Law School professor and founding faculty member Steven Gonzales was invited by the United Nations to assist the Industrial Court of Botswana on the development of the court’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) system. Professor Gonzales will advise the court on effective mediation and arbitration policies and practices, as well as provide comprehensive mediation training for the entire Industrial Court of Botswana’s judiciary. The one-week initiative begins in early October.

Professor Gonzales, who is a former administrative law judge and accredited NGO representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, is an established ADR professional. He was selected to lead this initiative by the United Nations because of his professional experience and previous work with the Industrial Court of Botswana through Arizona Summit Law’s externship program, which began in 2013. Responding to the court’s request for assistance with this ADR initiative, the United Nations is sponsoring Professor Gonzales’ participation, and hopes to influence other African countries to implement similar courts and ADR systems.

“The United Nations is offering both Professor Gonzales and the Industrial Court of Botswana a beneficial opportunity that will undoubtedly help to improve the legal system in Botswana, providing a valuable alternative to litigation,” said Dean Mays, Arizona Summit Law School. “Over the years, our professors and students have worked to find ways to make a direct positive impact on communities by promoting access to justice in the United States and around the world. This initiative marks important progress.”

“I am honored that the United Nations called upon me to help establish an ADR system, which has provided valuable alternatives to litigation in the United States and in other international legal systems” said Professor Steven Gonzales, Arizona Summit Law School. “I am hopeful that in addition to providing new resources to the Botswana people, students at Arizona Summit Law School will have future opportunities to be involved in the implementation of the ADR system as a result of my involvement.”

The Industrial Court of Botswana has many similarities to our Western legal system, including a separate independent arm for the judiciary.  Botswana’s judicial system also comprises a High Court and Court of Appeals, while the indigenous (Africans) are regulated under customary law.  The Industrial Court of Botswana oversees labor law, immigration, migration, dispute resolution and international trade law. Establishing a comprehensive ADR system further enhances Botswana’s judicial system.

Intel Strives to Educate and Empower Girls Around the World

In celebration of the United Nations’ first International Day of the Girl, Intel Corporation is expanding its global commitment to furthering education for girls and women by announcing multiple strategic partnerships and programs. Millions of girls around the world have limited or no access to education. Intel believes that broader access to education for girls and women will significantly catalyze social progress and help drive worldwide economic growth.

Intel’s key engagement is with 10×10, a global action campaign that seeks to educate and empower girls around the world. “Girl Rising,” 10×10’s full-length feature film and the centerpiece of this campaign,  reveals the extraordinary stories of real girls tackling nearly impossible odds on the road to education. Scheduled for a March premiere, the documentary amplifies the importance of investing in girls and aims to increase understanding and empathy so people are compelled to take action.

To further the powerful message of “Girl Rising,” Intel  is collaborating with notable partners and policy makers to provide insight into the economic development and policy challenges facing girls around the world. Research consistently proves that educating girls breaks the cycle of generational poverty. For example:

* When 10 percent more girls go to school, a country’s GDP can increases by 3 percent.
* Girls and women reinvest 90 percent of their income.

“Intel has worked for decades to improve education around the world,” said Shelly Esque, vice president of Intel’s Corporate Affairs Group and president of the Intel Foundation. “If we can close the education gap with girls, we will have transformed their lives and the lives of everyone they touch.”

Through access to technology, scholarships and community learning programs, Intel provides girls and women with opportunities for quality education and personal growth. Intel’s programs equip women with the access to the information they need to excel. With a 21st century skill set and a newfound level of confidence, girls and women can advance their ideas and personal drive to change their lives. In addition to 10×10, Intel’s influential programs include:

* Intel Learn: The Intel Learn Program provides opportunities for young learners in developing countries to gain key skills needed for tomorrow’s success, focusing on technology literacy, problem-solving and collaboration. The initiative has reached approximately 900,000 girls and young women in 18 countries around the world since its founding in 2004.

* Intel Teach: This global program provides K-12 teachers with the tools they need, including next-generation technology training, to become stronger educators and to make a difference in the lives of their students. To date, Intel has trained more than 5 million women teachers globally.

* Intel Easy Steps: Established in 2010, this technology literacy program provides adult women training in entrepreneurship and business skills, enabling them to elevate themselves professionally and break through barriers to personal economic growth. To date, Intel Easy Steps has reached approximately 95,000 women in 20 countries around the world.

* Intel Computer Clubhouse Network: The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network offers an after-school, community-based learning program that allows girls and boys from underserved communities to explore ideas, develop skills and build self-confidence through the use of technology. The program reaches more than 25,000 youths through 100 clubhouses in 20 countries.

* Ashoka Changemakers: Intel and  Ashoka Changemakers have launched “She Will Innovate: Technology Solutions Enriching the Lives of Girls,” a competition open to innovators everywhere. On Nov. 14, more than $30,000 in prizes will be awarded to those with the most innovative digital technologies that enable girls and women to live healthier, smarter and more meaningful lives. Public voting began today.

* Ashoka Fellows: Intel has partnered with Ashoka on the Ashoka Fellows program, which sponsors social entrepreneurs and a wider community of change-makers with innovative technology solutions to address pressing problems facing women and girls.

* Half the Sky Movement: Intel is supporting Half the Sky Movement: The Game, which seeks to raise awareness and inspire action to turn oppression into opportunity for women and girls worldwide. The game launches Nov. 13 on Facebook.

* Code for Good: Through the Code for Good initiative, Intel employees collaborate with Intel partners, including Room to Read and World Pulse, to develop mobile applications and solutions that address challenges facing girls in education.

* Equal Futures Partnership: To further Intel’s commitment to advancing girls and women through education and empowerment, Intel supports  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s initiative, the Equal Futures Partnership, in which Intel is studying the gender gap in women’s access to and use of the Internet.

Welcome To America

Welcome To America Project Lends Assistance To Local Refugees

Refugees find welcoming support with local nonprofit organization, Welcome to America Project.

Escaping worn-torn countries in search of safety, housing and a future for their family, legal refugees resettled by the United Nations attempt to lay new roots in Phoenix with the help and support of the Welcome to America Project.

The United Nations defines a refugee as, “someone who has fled his or her country because he/she fears persecution based on race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion.”

Serving refugees from across the globe with a network of volunteers and local service agencies, Welcome to America Project assists in providing furniture, basic necessities, education and additional resources to ease the settling in process. Always going above and beyond, Executive Director, Megan O’Connor comments, “Of all the things Welcome to America Project does, introducing refugee families to members of the community is something I love most. To show them that they are welcome, that they are safe and that this is an opportunity for them to start a new a life with a community that supports them.”

With humble beginnings, local residents Phil and Carolyn Manning searched ways to honor Phil’s late brother, Terence Manning, who was lost during the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. After seeing a photograph of a local political refugee family from Afghanistan in the local news on October 7, 2001, Carolyn Manning knew what had to be done. Realizing that the Mannings shared the common idea of wanting a safe future, they began collecting donations of household items and clothing for the Afghan Family, seeking to give meaning to Terrance’s passing.

Since then, the Welcome to America Project has assisted more than 1,200 refugee families in the Phoenix area through continuous community support.

“It has been an absolutely incredible experience getting to know refugee groups on a personal level along with meeting community members and volunteers who support Welcome to America Project,” O’Connor adds.

With a number of ways to support, community members can donate gently used furniture, home goods, clothing and toys, along with multiple volunteer options, such as assisting with home deliveries, packing donations, storage upkeep, move-ins and home visits to talk with refugee families about what they need, along with monetary donations and becoming a corporate sponsor.

With so many opportunities to volunteer, O’Connor mentions how every family she meets provides a great touching story she’ll never forget. Sharing a more recent experience, O’Connor recalls a widowed Somali mother who was recently resettled to Phoenix.

“Upon arriving, she was very excited but very nervous. Welcome to America Project suggested she get connected with local group, Somali American United Council of Arizona. That night, I personally received a phone call from her saying she was so grateful she was connected to that group because for the first time in decades, she reconnected with friends and family members she didn’t even know were living in Arizona.”

As volunteering helps others gain new perspectives on life, various cultures and new experiences, Welcome To America Project will play host to its annual even fundraiser, Prom 2012, Saturday, April 21. Open to all, the night will include dinner, dancing and costumes for Welcome to America Projects’ biggest fundraiser with 100 percent of the proceeds going to local refugee families. With a large turnout expected, O’Connor added that the annual event typically accounts for 20-25 percent of all of the organizations annual donations.

For more information on the Welcome To America Project and ways to help volunteers, visit wtap.org.

For more information on the Prom 2012 fundraising event and how to purchase your ticket, click here.

Climate Positive Development Program, Below Zero Sustainable City

Living Below Zero-Creation of the Most Sustainable Cities

Unveiled in May at the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group summit in Seoul, South Korea, the Climate Positive Development Program will help real estate developers and local governments craft 16 of the most sustainable urban communities found anywhere on Earth.

“As the Earth’s population increases and our cities grow, we need to ensure we have the models in place to sustain our way of life in an increasingly urbanized world,” said President Clinton in a statement announcing the program. He also stated that it would set “a new global standard for developments that will minimize environmental impacts and benefit economics” as new buildings are constructed and older ones are updated.

As the program’s creators, the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) and the USGBC are providing guidance in energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, green building construction, water conservation and other areas as the communities take shape on 6 continents.

The ultimate goal for each city is to reduce its emissions to “below zero” by not only offsetting its own emissions, but generation excess renewable power on-site that can be returned to the grid and used to offset emissions elsewhere.

Two of the planned cities are in the United States: San Francisco’s 6,000 new homes and 250,000 SF of commercial space constructed in a former U.S. Navy base in the San Francisco Bay; and Florida’s Destiny development covering more than 60 sq. miles south of Orlando, which includes a 500-acre clean tech manufacturing plant and 10,000 residential units.

CCI, which is also involved in New York’s massive Empire State Building energy efficiency retrofit, will assist project developers on the business and financial side, while USGBC provides technical guidance and helps gauge the success of the projects.


Source: Green Lede, CoStar’s green building news column. Written by Andrew Burr; May 2009.

Zero Emission City Fast Facts

  • Close to 1 million people will live and work in the completed cities
  • Half of the world’s population – 3.2 billion people – now live in cites, which consumes more than 2/3 of global energy
  • This population only occupies about 2% of the world’s land mass
  • More than 6 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2050

Source: United Nations

Climate Change Talks

U.S. Commits To Change At Copenhagen Climate Talks

As some of you may be aware of, the historic United Nations Climate Change Conference is underway right now in Copenhagen. The conference began on December 7 and will continue till the 18th. It is the largest international political conference ever to be held in Denmark, with participants from 192 countries meeting to reach an agreement about how to combat global warming.

Despite some clashes with protesters that that essentially ceased all talks on Dec. 16, the conference pressed on. President Barack Obama is expected to appear on Friday, along with 100 other national leaders hoping to come to a historic agreement between nations.

On Thursday, Dec. 17 Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, announced that the United States would participate in a $100-billion-a-year fund that will help poor nations combat climate change through the end of the decade. Though Clinton did not specify how much the U.S. would be contributing, it is still a huge move for the country and sends a strong message about the nation’s stance on environmental issues.

However, U.S. participation was contingent on reaching an agreement this week, as well as a commitment from China about more transparency in its emissions reporting.

Clinton’s announcement is a high point in the conference, which has been plagued by delays and deadlocked over several issues. Hopefully, discussions will end on a good note and firm plans for progress will be put in place.


Relifing - AZRE Magazine November/December 2009

The Cost Of Relifing A Building During The Age Of Environmental Thrift

The Cost Of Relifing A Building During The Age Of Environmental Thrift

Breath of Life – Relifing

Difficult financial times teach us that it is possible to do more with less, but also that doing more with less takes both thought and effort.

In 1965, Adlai Stevenson, then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, notably said, “We travel together, passengers on a little space ship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil.” This phrase alerted the world to the necessity to preserve Earth’s natural assets and resources. However, it is only in recent times — with the discussion of climate change — that serious attention has been paid widely to the question of the use of scarce natural resources and the effect of that use on the environment. The world has entered an era in which using natural resources sparsely has become critical, perhaps even a cause célèbre — this is The Age of Environmental Thrift.

The construction industry has been making serious efforts to catch up by adopting sustainable design practices represented by the LEED certification system. However, traditionally there has been no systematically adopted, mathematical approach to test whether an existing building could be successfully “relifed” instead of being demolished. Clearly, relifing an existing building saves natural resources — it does more with less.

Life Options

For all building owners — especially those with large sophisticated healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, etc. — it should be natural to start by asking the question, “Can we economically extend the life of our existing building by 5, 10 or 20 years instead of demolishing?”

The difficulty in the past was that there was no simple, definitive, mathematical way to determine a solution to this question. However, when the state of Arizona adopted the concept of studying relifing options through building life extension studies, it broke new ground in managing taxpayer funds. These studies have been conducted on many buildings, including laboratories and state hospital buildings, with good success.

A relifing study determines the “useful life” of a building by analyzing the cost and service life of its various components:

  • structure
  • external cladding
  • internal fit-out
  • building systems

From these components, a life expectancy may be calculated. The study then analyzes and prices recommendations for maintenance, upgrades, renovation and replacement of various building components necessary to extend the building’s life to certain milestones. When the analysis is compared with the cost of building a new structure, owners have a quantitative tool to determine which option will make the best use of their functional and financial resources.

Private sector clients would be well advised to follow the state’s lead. By measuring and analyzing the service life possibilities of each building and relifing those that can be saved, millions of dollars and thousands of cubic yards of natural resources can be saved. With more thought, more can often be done with less.

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AZRE Magazine November/December 2009