Servas at the UN


  • By Jeanne Devine, Servas International Representative (former) to the UN in New York


THE UNITED NATIONS (UN) was formed in 1945 to maintain world peace and security; develop friendly relations among nations; cooperate in solving international problems; and promote respect for human rights.  It is the only entity with global legitimacy, multilateral experience, competence in coordinating ability and impartiality and today includes 193 member states.

Why is SERVAS affiliated with the UN?    SERVAS INTERNATIONAL is one of 5,083 NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) affiliated with the UN since 1973. As a peace organization, we network with other NGOs and advocate for the seventeen 2016-30 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs also called Global Goals) which address factors necessary to eliminate war and achieve peace.  In short, real peace depends on the elimination of poverty, hunger, inequality as well as access to health, education, water, and the urgency of global climate change.  UN affiliation with NGOs builds the grassroots involvement necessary to achieve these goals. 

What does that mean to SERVAS members?  With 15,000 members, SERVAS brings a message of peace through cultural communication in over 100 countries.  UN affiliation means we can have representatives at UN headquarters in New York, Geneva, and Vienna who participate in conferences and meetings and network with organizations, academia, and the public to promote human rights and the Global Goals. It also means our members are involved at a grassroots level.  

How can SERVAS Canada members be involved within their local communities?  

  • Become familiar with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they all relate to peace
  • Invite a speaker or show a film at a SERVAS meeting:  e.g. on poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, refugees, environment…
  • Network with an organization that promotes peace through addressing an SDG
  • Organize SERVAS get-togethers on International Women’s Day (March 8), World Environment Day (June 5), UN Peace Day (Sept 21), International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (Sept 26), UN Day (Oct 24)
  • Join the United Nations Association in Canada ( as a SERVAS member. UNA is an non-governmental organization with 14 branches in Canada, and advocates for global engagement to achieve the SDGs
    Write letters and sign petitions as members of SERVAS, on peace, environment, and human rights to your newspapers and political representatives
  • Be a SERVAS delegate to a UN conference e.g. Commission on the Status of Women (in March), Convention of Civil Society Organizations (in August)
  • Share your actions with SERVAS hosts and guests around the world

Servas Canada members Julie Cormack and Kent Macaulay are two of Servas International’s five Representatives to the UN in New York. They invite you to contact them for more information about Servas’ connection with the UN.