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Summer 1977

Public Opinion on the UN - What the Pollsters Forget to Ask (Barbara Farwell)
Legislative Reform: Consensus
State Convention: Flight into the Future - Hawaii's Economy
Proposed State Officer Slate 1977-79
Proposed Bylaw Changes
Proposed Program
Proposed Budget - Fiscal Year 1977-78
Legislative Log (Muriel Roberts)

Public Opinion on the UN - What the Pollsters Forget to Ask

This month the LWV of the U.S. is embarking on an exciting venture: a survey to find out -- in depth--how Americans feel about the United Nations. Twenty-five state Leagues were chosen to participate in this survey, including Hawaii. As a project leader, I spent 3 days in New York City in March, learning how to take the survey, and attending briefings (from State Department and UN Secretariat officials) on UN issues. One special luncheon speaker was Hamilton Amerasinghe, Ambassador to the UN from Sri Lanka, and current president of the General Assembly. He emphasized that fair trade, not foreign aid, is the key to the economic health of developing countries.

At an evening reception at the U.S. Mission to the UN, we were privileged to meet our Ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young. The ambassador proved to be a most charming, refreshing speaker. (The husband and son of League members, he credited League for his present position, noting we sponsored the debates that he felt helped elect President Carter!

One thread ran through Ambassador Young's speech, as well as those of State Department officials: there's a new administration in Washington, with new attitudes and a new openness. At last, officials were saying, our government realizes the UN of J977 is different from the UN of 1945; .we will he developing more realistic policies, and really listening to the views of the developing nations. It remains to be seen how policy will actually develop, of course. Meanwhile, Ambassador Young applauded actions, such as the League's, to bridge the communications gap between government and citizens.

I came home knowing this project will involve a lot of work, but confident League members will rise to the challenge. On Oahu -- in both Leeward and Windward areas -- and on Kauai, we will first be making a telephone survey. This will be followed by focus group discussions involving both "ordinary" citizens and community leaders. These will give us a sampling of community attitudes and we should learn a great deal about what Hawaiians think about the UN.

I will be in Washington, D.C., in July to meet with our Congressmen and administration officials to brief them on the results of our survey. Thus this project will give people of this state an opportunity to have a voice in foreign policy -- thanks to the League!

Barbara Farwell

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