Baptist World Alliance
Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Phone: +1 703 790 8980
Fax: +1 703 893 5160

May 25, 2010
For Immediate Release
BWA appoints new UN representatives
Washington (BWA) -- The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has made several appointments to the United Nations (UN).

Luiz Nascimento, a Brazilian native who currently lives in New Jersey in the United States, will represent the BWA at the UN offices in New York. Shanta Premawardhana, a Sri Lankan-American living in Geneva, Switzerland, and a former pastor of a Baptist congregation in Chicago in the United States, will be the BWA UN representative in Geneva. 

Martin Accad, dean of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, Lebanon, will represent the international Baptist organization at the UN regional office in that Middle Eastern country.

The BWA holds 22 seats in the UN main offices in New York, Geneva, and Vienna in Austria, and at regional offices in Santiago, Chile; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Bangkok, Thailand; and in Beirut. Raimundo Barreto, director of the BWA Division of Freedom and Justice, indicated that appointments to fill the other vacancies are forthcoming and will be done gradually.

BWA representatives to the UN are unpaid volunteers who are appointed to a two-year term, which may be renewed by mutual agreement between the BWA and the representative.   The representatives monitor UN actions, programs and activities, and make reports on such actions, programs and activities to the BWA; advocate for and cultivate relationships at the UN on the behalf of the BWA; and participate in nongovernmental committees and caucuses at the UN.

The BWA, as a nongovernmental organization, has special consultative status with the United Nations, granted through its Economic and Social Council, and is also a member of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations. The special status, obtained in 1974, gives the BWA a higher level of access to all parts of the UN and the privilege of circulating its views to the General Assembly and the various commissions.