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, Harold E. Stassen Minnesota Chapter (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 Consultants

James Farnsworth

MUN Coordinator

Brooke Bailey

Development Associate

Laura Ibsen

Administrative Associate

Andrea Klein Bergman


Paige Myers


Board of Directors for 2019

Office Bearers:

M. Jay Shahidi



Stuart Ackman


Board President

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.    

Stuart Ackman

Board President


Dr. Bharat Parekh, Ph.D.

Jim Nelson

Jorge Walkup

Kim Sabo

Dr. Leila DeVriese, Ph.D.

Christiane Dolabella

Kari Rise

Arbresha Ibraimi

Susan Frances Leek

Charles Cogan

Oluwatobi Oluwagbemi

Adam Revoir

Zehra Kahn

Erica Zweifel

Jonathan Hein

Advisory Council for 2019

Dr. Laura Allen

Michael Andregg, Ph.D

Dick Bernard

Heather Branigin

Diane Clayton

Arundhati Deo

Nancy Dunlavy

Ambassador Robert Flaten

Barbara Frey, J.D.

Gary Gilson

Richard Hahnen

Guled Ibrahim

Ellen Kennedy, Ph.D.

Zehra Keye, Ph.D.

Richard Kleber

David Minge

Craig Neal

Pat Neal

Leila Poullada

Mark Ritchie

Kristi Rudelius-Palmer

Carol Steinberg

Joseph Underhill, Ph.D

Karen Vogel

Steve Werle