About Us

Our Current Theme is “World Harmony: Creating a Non-violent World”

The UNA-USA was founded in 1947 to promote stronger U.S. involvement in the United Nations. As one of 170 chapters nationwide, the UNA-USA Santa Barbara County Chapter is the second oldest chapter in the nation established in 1947.

UNA-USA, Santa Barbara & Tri-County chapter’s goal is to be an effective catalyst in the local community to educate the public about the U.N. and thereby strengthen U.S. involvement in the United Nations. As a bi-partisan forum, all opinions are welcome. One of the organizations operating under our Chapter’s umbrella as a UNA Committee is UNESCO. UNESCO’s goal is to decrease worldwide poverty through education, eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, and help countries implement a national strategy for sustainable development thus reversing current trends in the loss of environmental resources. The local chapter has also been working with a number of other non-profit groups to provide solar lighting to impoverished townships globally.

The local chapter of the UNA-USA holds quarterly educational programs with speakers for the benefit of our members and the public. An annual U.N. Day takes place every Fall. This event consists of exhibitors, a well known key note speaker and/or panelists to present timely global topics concerning the welfare of the Global Community. The UNA-USA works closely with other local non-profits in promoting peace and welfare for humanity and all events are co-sponsored by various community non-profit organizations.

The UNA-USA financially supports UNICEF and Model U.N programs. The Model U.N. programs are run almost exclusively by students from local high schools, colleges and universities who organize chapters on their respective campuses. The purpose of these chapters is to promote understanding and appreciation of the United Nations at the student level and to facilitate its work. The Model UN’s include local High Schools in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties and colleges including Santa Barbara City College, UCSB, Westmont and Ventura City College.

While our UNA Chapter works with non-profits and other organizations on a local level, our organization has no employees and is operated solely by volunteers. Funding for UNA-USA, Santa Barbara County Chapter is provided by private foundations, corporations, individuals and membership dues. The organization is a 501(c)(3) organization in accordance with U.S. regulations and all contributions are fully tax deductible.

Executive Board Members: 

President: Barbara Gaughen-Muller

Vice President: Saher Hamdani

Treasurer: Gail Gillies

Secretary: Maya Martinez

Karen Akiskalian

Bill Allaway

Sarah Haviland Blackmun

Imke Bomer

Jessica Bragg

Tessa Brown

Cesar Calderon

Catherine Dishion

Dr. Steve Eskow

Eduardo Hernandez

Roger Horton

Betsy Ingalls

Inez Kaminski

Gerard Keiken

Alana Kutinsky

Nancy Martin

Michael Matsuda

Viola Mecke

Natalie Miller

Melanie Monifi

Matthew McCurdy

Emily Nightingale

Maryann Olson

Jack Orr

Dr. George Primbs

Monte-Angel Richardson

Gordie Scully

Ines SyvertsenMichelle Tokunaga

Jeremy Vaa

Advisory Board Members: 

Mara Abboud

Deb Artz

Marty Bloom

Luis Chavez

Douglas Gillies

Peter Haslund

David Krieger

Peter Merkl

Susan Penksa