Fannie Munlin, the Face of the African-American Community at the UN
Chair of the NGO Executive Committee, Ms. Munlin serves as the liaison between the civil society world and the UN.
by Dulcie Leimbach. Read more on PassBlue.
Fannie Munlin has led a long life of helping others, making her a natural fit to chair the NGO Executive Committee, the liaison for the 1,600 civil society organizations affiliated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications. She is also “the face of the African-American community at the UN,” as she said, as the UN representative for the National Council of Negro Women, a Washington-based group that has held observer status with the UN since 1946.
Last summer, the NGO committee, partnering with the UN, held the annual civil society conference in Salt Lake City, Utah — the first time the meeting took place in the United States away from UN headquarters in New York. The mayor of Salt Lake, Jackie Biskupski, proposed the idea to the UN, and by most accounts, bringing the UN to another part of the country was successful. (There will be no NGO committee conference this year because of the many commemorations that are scheduled at the UN, including its 75th birthday.)
Munlin lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where she was raised in a family of seven — her parents and four siblings — nurtured by an Episcopalian church-centered community. She held bake sales as a girl to help fund her church’s choir and aspired to be a singer. Luckily, she said, the choir director suggested she use her talents in other ways. In other words, she couldn’t sing.
As an adult, she put her generous spirit into paid work, first for the National Council of Negro Women, then for CARE International, then back to the National Council and with the NGO committee at the UN. One major influence on her career was Dorothy Height, a civil rights and women’s rights activist who was president of the National Council for 40 years.
In an interview in early January with PassBlue, Munlin talked about her childhood and her enduring effort to further the rights of all people. As part of her many jobs, she relishes traveling, and she was preparing for a trip to Pyeongchang, South…