Women’s National Book Association
at the United Nations

The Women’s wnbaEst.1917National Book Association has been a Non-Governmental Organization member of the United Nations since 1959. An NGO is defined as “any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions, bring citizens’ concerns to governments, monitor policies and encourage political participation at the community level.” As a NGO affiliated with the Department of Public Information (DPI), we must meet the following four criteria in order to remain a member in good standing:

  • Share the ideals of the UN Charter.

  • Operate solely on a not-for-profit basis.

  • Have a demonstrated interest in United Nations issues and proven ability to reach large or specialized audiences, such as educators, media representatives, policy makers and the business community.

  • Have the commitment and means to conduct effective information programmes about UN activities by publishing newsletters, bulletins, pamphlets; organizing conferences, seminars and roundtables; and enlisting the cooperation of the media.

In short, it is our responsibility to support the UN in its goals and to win support for those goals among the wider community we work with. In effect, WNBA members are to be ambassadors for the UN. Our organization disseminates information about the United Nations through all the means at our disposal, especially through our national and chapter publications and monthly programs. Furthermore, we agree to participate in activities for NGOs at the UN New York City headquarters, including regular briefings and the annual DPI/NGO conference.

During the past four decades, we have had five NGO representatives: Beatrice James, Helen Wessells Hettinger, Rose Eichelberger, Claire Friedland and Sally Wecksler. In January 2001, Jill Tardiff was appointed to the position of chief representative, and is currently serving in that role. In addition, a group of dedicated women are working hard to increase our support for the UN. The WNBA Committee for UN Relations is composed of nine members. Three chapter presidents – Laurie Beckelman of Boston, Kathleen Dietz of Nashville and Margaret Flanders of Los Angeles – join our two UN DPI/NGO delegates – Jill Tardiff and Sally Wecksler. Two national past presidents, Nancy Stewart and Diane Ullius join these five on the committee, which is rounded off with two members-at-large, Claire Friedland of New York and L. Peat O’Neil of Washington.

For more information about the United Nations go to:

United Nations


United Nations News Service


United Nations Department of Public Information/Public Affairs Division

NGO Section,


United Nations Department of Public Information/Library and Publications Division

Dag Hammarskjöld Library, www.un.org/Depts/dhl
Publications, www.un.org/Pubs
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) www.unesco.org
Departments of the UN Secretariat
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for the Advancement of Women, www.un.org/womenwatch/daw
Division for Social Policy and Development, www.un.org/esa/socdev/index.html
Division for Sustainable Development, www.un.org/esa/sustdev/dsd.htm
Other Offices and Programmes/UN Departments
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), www.unifem.undp.org
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), www.unicef.org