Harold E. Stassen Division in Minnesota

Our Mission

To inspire all Minnesotans to engage in global issues and to build public support for constructive U.S. leadership in the United Nations.

The United Nations Association in Minnesota (UNA-MN) is a non-profit grass roots organization located in Minneapolis / St. Paul that works on a local and regional level to promote the principles and goals of the United Nations. We were founded in 1948 as the Harold Stassen Division of the United Nations Association of the United States (UNA-USA), now a program of the UN Foundation. UNA-MN is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization dedicated to educating Minnesotans about the importance of international relations and global cooperation in today’s increasingly interconnected world.

UNA-MN Staff

James Farnsworth

MUN Coordinator

Brooke Bailey

Development Associate

Laura Ibsen

Administrative Associate

Board of Directors for 2018

Office Bearers:

M. Jay Shahidi



M. Jay Shahidi


Mehr “Jay” Shahidi is the current president of the United Nations Association, Harold E. Stassen Division in Minnesota, having served as board member for many years working on areas of land mines, refugees, economic development, US leadership in UN, peace-keeping and peace-building, population planning and environmental protection. He has been a citizen lobbyist advocating for international social justice and economic development since 1966 and made hundreds of visits to political and governmental offices. Jay has been a human rights activist in US for 48 years and served in leadership roles at over 40 civic, educational and charitable organizations including the American Refugee Committee, Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth, Citizens for Global Solutions, and, Population Connection. He has been a Great Decisions lecturer at Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center) for years, has written many articles and given over 800 public speeches on international issues. Some of his writings and interviews are available online at Minneapolis StarTribune, Twin Cities Daily Planet, Twin Cities Public TV, Belahdan TV, KAFI Radio, and Daily Telegraph in UK. He is a business owner in MN who was born in Tehran, Iran and came to the US for higher education after attending college in London, UK for 2.5 years. He graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with majors in economics and political science while becoming Student Body President, a newspaper columnist and a board member of Mankato Area Chamber of Commerce. He helped organize the International Student Office, a free legal aid service and Kessel Peace Institute there and has served on a university advisory board. Jay was awarded the university’s Distinguished Humanitarian Award in 2004. Jay founded Decorative Construction Services, Inc. in 1977 which provides environmentally healthy building renovation in Twin Cities and M.J.  Shahidi Business Consulting Co. which provides services to small business, non-profit and civic groups. He also co-founded the Iranian-American Society of MN.    


Dr. Bharat Parekh, Ph.D.

Dr. Bharat Parekh, Ph.D.

Jim Nelson

Jim Nelson

Jorge Walkup

Jorge Walkup

Laura Allen, Ph.D.

Laura Allen, Ph.D.

Dr. Leila DeVriese, Ph.D.

Dr. Leila DeVriese, Ph.D.

Michael Andregg, Ph.D.

Michael Andregg, Ph.D.

Kari Rise

Kari Rise

Stuart Ackman

Susan Frances Leek

Susan Frances Leek

Charles Cogan

Gaith Hijazin

Oluwatobi Oluwagbemi

Advisory Council for 2018

Arlen Ehrdahl

Arvonne Fraser

Arundhati Deo

Barbara Frey, Ph.D.

Carol Steinberg

Diane Clayton

Hon. David Minge, Judge

David L. Sutton

Dick Bernard

Donald Fraser, Congressman

Emily Anne Tuttle

Ellen Kennedy, Ph.D.

Gail Hughes, Ph.D.

Heather Branigin

Joe Schwartzberg, Ph.D.

Joseph Underhill-Cady, Ph.D.

Karen Vogel, Ph.D.

Leila Poullada

Mark Ritchie, MN Secretary of State

Nancy Dunlavy

Richard Hahnen

Richard Kleber

Amb. Robert Flaten

Roger Prestwich, Ph.D.

William Olszewski, Ph.D.

Zehra Keye, Ph.D.