BOARD OF DIRECTORS

YASHAR VASEF

Yashar is the president of UNA Portland and a member of the national UNA-USA board of directors.  He was born in Tehran in the midst of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980’s.  As the UN was facilitating the treaty which eventually ended the 8 year conflict, Yashar’s family fled Iran in pursuit of peace and security.  Years later, channeling his experiences, Yashar went on to become the Executive Director of the Iowa United Nations Association from 2010-2014 and was the recipient of the Iowa City International Award in 2014.  He has since served in development roles at a number of non-profits including United for Iran and Portland Story Theater.  In addition to UNA Portland, he serves on the boards of Southeast Uplift and Bike Walk Vote.

ELAINE NELSON

Elaine Nelson was on the seven member Steering Committee to reinvigorate the UNA Portland Chapter in 2003 and has been in leadership roles in the Portland Chapter ever since. For the past several years, Elaine has been Treasurer, Chair of the Membership Committee, and on the Education Committee. Elaine is a retired Elementary School Teacher who was raised in Portland. Her parents, Len and Eleanor Hunting, were involved in the San Francisco Conference that drafted the United Nations Charter in 1945 and active in Portland and Oregon UNA.

KAREN ETTINGER

Originally from Syracuse, New York, Karen grew up as one of 4 daughters of an activist Episcopal priest and his wife who had committed their lives to the civil and human rights of all. This unique and inclusive environment was a powerful influence leading to Karen’s own dedication to the global and multicultural education of children from the earliest age. Karen is a graduate of Syracuse University and San Francisco State University, where she received her Elementary Teaching Credential. Karen taught in San Francisco’s inner city until moving with her husband and children to Portland. In 1987 Karen founded the award-winning Global & Multicultural Resource Center, now the centerpiece of the World Affairs Council’s K-12 Education Program. Karen is the recipient of the World Arts Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award and the United Nations Association – Oregon Division’s Outstanding Service Award.

DOUG RICHARDSON

Raised in Southwestern Oregon and receiving his Bachelors Degree from Southern Oregon College in Ashland, Doug soon after served in the U.S. Peace Corps teaching in West Africa for three years, eventually managing within the Human Resources field and social services for a total of 4 years prior to gradually moving to high tech and working as a technician for 17 years before semi-retiring in 2011.  Since then he has associated in a volunteer capacity with a wide variety of global-oriented, environmental, social justice, neighborhood, and civic organizations such as the Portland City Club…serving with the United Nations Association for the past 4 years.

BANU NAGASUNDARAM

Banu is a problem solver and big-picture seeker. She is an Engineer at heart, passionate about mentoring young professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Banu loves working with people from different cultures and backgrounds and appreciates differences. She brings the team together to accomplish objectives. She strongly believes in the UN sustainable development goals. She is also certain that if like-minded people work towards a common cause, we can change the world. This is what she hopes to achieve through her participation in the United Nations Association.

SAMANTHA MURPHY

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Samantha has always had a love of animals and the environment. Growing up – reduce, reuse, and recycle were some of her family’s golden rules. To help the planet even more, she became vegetarian at 13 years old and became vegan at 18 years old. She currently attends Portland Community College with the goal of getting her Associate’s in Environmental Studies, and will go on to complete her Bachelor’s at Portland State University. While career searching at PCC, she discovered she could be a great fit for the UN’s Environmental Programme, as well as chapters here and abroad. Samantha is passionate about making the earth a better place for everyone to live as well as the health and well-being of all it’s global citizens. She looks forward to being an integral part of the UNA community now and for years to come.

NNENNAYA UDOCHU

Miss Nnennaya Udochu is a tech-savvy lady who has experience with top tech companies such as Cisco Systems and Intel Corporation. She is an alumna of Wichita State University (BSc) and University of Texas, Arlington (MSc). Miss Udochu focuses in the field of power and customer relations with a passion for robotics and environmental studies where she has published papers and advocates for the fight against malaria in Africa and important topics addressing the issue of refugees in society. Miss Udochu serves on the Steering Committee for Engineers without Boarders and is the founder of the local UNA Young Professionals. She hopes to create awareness among young adults to address world pressing issues governed by the United Nations.

AUGALY KIEDI

Augaly Kiedi is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo but grew up in North Carolina. She studied political science and international studies at Western Carolina University. After graduating in 2015, Augaly traveled across the country for the first time to intern at Vote Smart, a nonpartisan research firm in Montana. Afterwards, she somehow ended up in Portland, fell in love with the city and the Pacific Northwest, and just hasn’t left. In her time here, she’s had the privilege to exercise interests in global relations and development through involvements with Mercy Corps, World Affairs Council of Oregon, World Pulse and Northwest Model United Nations.

DAVID POINTDEXTER

Bio coming soon.