Press Release: United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Approved the Recommendation of the Committee on NGOs to Grant Special Consultative Status to International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation

World Ethnic GroupsWe are happy to announce that the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at its Coordination and Management Meeting of July 2015 adopted the recommendation of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to grant Special Consultative Status to our organization, International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM).

Consultative status for an organization enables it to actively engage with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat, programs, funds and agencies in a number of ways. Among many other privileges, benefits and the responsibilities outlined in the ECOSOC
resolution 1996/31, adopted by the Council on 25 July 1996, consultative relationship with NGOs also enables the Council or one of its bodies to seek expert information or advice from organizations like ICERM that have special competence in a subject matter.

Other benefits that ICERM will enjoy through its Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC include: Attendance at meetings and access to the United Nations; Written statements at ECOSOC; Oral presentations at ECOSOC; Consultations with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies; and Use of United Nations facilities.

If you are interested in the work of the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM) and would like to partner with us, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

With peace and blessings,

Basil Ugorji

ICERM President and CEO


Useful Links

Below is a summary of the the recommendation and approval processes.

UN Press Release on the Committee’s Recommendations:

Report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2015 resumed session, New York, 26 May to 3 June and 12 June 2015:

ECOSOC Coordination and Management Meetings-CMM:

Press Release on the ECOSOC Approval of the NGO Committee Report:

The Iran Nuclear Deal: Arguments For And Against

Comments – Arthur Lerman, writing against NORPAC, an “anti-Iran deal” Jewish Group– one of many well funded groups, many non-Jewish, that do not want to see this agreement come to fruition. This blog needs the downside of the Kerry-Iran accord re-explained frequently, because it is simply hard to follow. The upsides are easy.

So Dr. Lerman:

But the alternatives are no controls on Iran at all.

All other nations will eliminate their sanctions.

We may be the only ones continuing them.

This way we’ll be able to keep tabs on them.

And so many in Iran are pressuring their government to open to us and to the rest of the world. The agreement will greatly strengthen their efforts—a reason the right-wing in Iran also opposes the agreement. (Interesting that the right wing in both Iran and the U.S. oppose it—not at all strange bedfellows?)

Why does NORPAC have to be so negative on any attempts to reach out to the other side?

Please be a little imaginative.

Yes, the policy of the Israeli Netanyahu government is to oppose the agreement. But, given the negative record of Netanyahu’s policies overall, what kind of a recommendation is that? His settlement policies, for a most egregious example, have been a disaster for Israel and for world Jewry, turning so many in the world against Israel, and, by extension, against Jews.

His policies provide examples that are used in arguments by anti-Semites. If Israel would be more clearly for peace, and show more concern for those on the other side who also want peace (Palestinian moderates and Iranian youth, for example), it would build their credibility, providing much more security for Israel and the Jews of the world.

And if the Iranians cheat on the deal, then we can return to the sanctions–even increase them–with the support of the rest of the world.

Fear that we won’t discover their cheating? Have you no faith in the Israeli and U.S. intelligence forces?

And so many in the Israeli defense/intelligence community support the agreement.


If it doesn’t work, we can go back to where we are.

But if it works, the whole world will benefit. What do we have to lose? Now and then you just have to try something.

You have to admit, it was amazing that Russia, China, the U.S., Britain, France, the European Union, and Germany were able to sit on the same side of the table in this negotiation. That in itself is incredible.


Reject the agreement and restart negotiations? It was so hard to get them all to where they are now. Do you think you can even get them into the same room again for a do-over–especially when so many forces in all these countries were so against the negotiations in the first place?

Why can’t NORPAC support Israel’s security instead of Netanyahu’s policies that are putting Israel in more and more danger?

Oh! Concerning your statement that you decided to oppose the agreement “after careful review,” it seems that most of those who are opposed decided way before the agreement’s terms were made public.

How many oppose it just because they oppose anything Obama does–no matter how beneficial? Is NORPAC just one of the “usual suspects” in this regard?

Art Lerman

Art is quick to recommend postings from The Forward, J Street and Tikkun Magazine—Jewish organizations that strongly support the Iran deal.
Concerning Jewish public opinion:

“J Street wants Congress to know that, despite some loud opposition to the deal coming from Jewish organizational leaders, our polling suggests that a clear majority of Jewish Americans agrees with us and backs the deal,” the group said in a statement.


Here are some other relevant postings:

5 Reasons AIPAC Is Dead Wrong about the Iran Deal


I just want to follow up the original post about my concluding remarks at the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation’s 1st Annual International Conference on Ethnic and Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding held in New York City on October 1, 2014. This submission is made with a shout-out for this Sunday’s (June 21, 2015) New York Times editorial, “The Cost of Letting Young People Drift.”

The point of my original post was that society must have a path (or paths) available for every individual living within it—a path that will be, at the least, benign for the society as a whole–or, better, one that will contribute to the maintenance of what is good about the society, and, even, to its improvement.

Without this path, the individual will necessarily be walking on another path, which could turn destructive—for the individual and the society at large.

At the time of the original post, I was thinking of those who were turning to violence in the Middle East—and relatively recent immigrants from the Middle East and their children living in Europe, who were  travelling to the Middle East to participate in violent actions there, or remaining in Europe and turning violent against European society.

My indictment was of the societies themselves that were failing to provide more peaceful and constructive social paths for their inhabitants—in the Middle East and in Europe.

The New York Times editorial turns this analysis to the United States—showing how we in the U.S. are far from providing a path for many of our young. The editorial mentions “…the isolation of millions of young black and Latino men, who are disengaged from school, work and mainstream institutions generally.”  Clearly, we fit well this pattern, allowing a tragedy for the individuals involved, a loss of their undeveloped resources for the rest of us, and, at the worst, allowing for the growth of a threatening, disaffected, angry, antisocial subculture.

(Yes, I recognize the conservative argument that it is the individual’s responsibility to create his/her own socially constructive path. But that assumes society has at least spent sufficient resources to educate the individual on these responsibilities–and has not allowed his/her path to be blocked by insurmountable obstacles. According to the Times’ editorial, we have failed in both—not educating and not clearing the path. Indeed, we’ve made the path more difficult by adding obstacles.)

And in today’s New York Times (June 22nd), three op-ed pieces illustrate a further point made in the editorial—that over 10 % of white youths are also drifting. Morris Dees and J. Richard Cohen in “Racists Without Borders,” Charles M. Blow in “A Millennial Race Terrorist,” and Paul Krugman in “Slavery’s Long Shadow,” emphasize that, having not provided a constructive path for these young people, a portion of them have turned to a negative path–racial hatred and violence.

Post by Art Lerman

United Nations Non-Governmental Organization Committee Recommends International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation for Special Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations yesterday recommended 40 organizations for special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, and deferred action on the status of 62 others, as it continued its resumed session for 2015. Among the 40 organizations recommended by the Committee is the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM), a U.S. 501 (c) (3) tax exempt public charity, nonprofit and non-governmental organization incorporated in April 2012 with the New York State Department of State.

ICERM’s mission is to develop alternative methods of preventing, resolving, and educating people about inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts in countries around the world. Working with the State of New York residents and diaspora associations, national governments, judiciary, schools, community leaders, religious groups, peace advocates, media, local, regional and international organizations, etc., ICERM fosters a culture of peace among ethnic and religious groups through research, education and training, expert consultation, dialogue and mediation, and rapid response projects.

Committed to creating a new world characterized by peace, irrespective of cultural, ethnic and religious differences, the organization strongly believes that the use of mediation and dialogue in preventing and resolving ethnic and religious conflicts in countries around the world is the key to creating sustainable peace.

The 19-member Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations vets applications submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), recommending general, special or roster status on the basis of such criteria as the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend meetings of the Council and issue statements, while those with general status can also speak during meetings and propose agenda items. With its special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation is positioned to serve as a center of excellence in addressing ethnic and religious conflicts in countries around the world, facilitating peaceful settlement of disputes, and providing humanitarian support to the victims of ethnic and religious violence.

Sixty-two applications were deferred, with Committee members requesting further information from the candidates about, among other items, details of their respective organizations’ projects, partners, expenditures, sources of funding and relationship with United Nations system actors.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 28 May, to continue its session.

To learn more about this press release, click here.

Vacancy Announcement: Director of Development

Director of Development (Volunteer Position)


Logo - The International Center for Ethno-Religious MediationFounded in 2012, the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM) is a U.S. based 501 (c) (3) tax exempt public charity, nonprofit and non-governmental organization working to develop alternative methods of preventing, resolving, and educating people about inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts in countries around the world.

ICERM works with the State of New York residents and diaspora associations, national governments, judiciary, schools, community leaders, religious groups, peace advocates, media, local, regional and international organizations, etc. to foster a culture of peace among ethnic and religious groups through research, education and training, expert consultation, dialogue and mediation, and rapid response projects. We are committed to creating a new world characterized by peace, irrespective of cultural, ethnic and religious differences. We strongly believe that the use of mediation and dialogue in preventing and resolving ethnic and religious conflicts in countries around the world is the key to creating sustainable peace.

ICERM organizes its work into five specific programs:

  • Research: We create and maintain a global conflict alert database through the conflict monitoring networks, and develop new conflict prevention and resolution tools through the journal of living together, conflict early warning and response mechanism, and other publications.
  • Education and Training: We educate people about ethnic and religious conflicts through the ICERM radio project, web-based forums, peace education programs, international conference on ethnic and religious conflict resolution and peacebuilding, world youth convention on ethnic and religious harmony, lectures, sports and artistic activities, peace exchange program, retreats and publications, and we train new mediators and facilitators through classroom and e-learning modalities.
  • Expert Consultation: We provide consultation & advisement services, monitoring and evaluation, post-conflict investigation and reporting, election observation and assistance to formal and informal leadership.
  • Dialogue and Mediation: We facilitate communication and dialogue through the living together movement, and assist parties to reach a mutually satisfactory solution through unbiased, culturally-sensitive, confidential, regionally-costed and expeditious processes.
  • Rapid Response Projects: We provide moral, material and financial support to the victims of ethnic and religious conflicts.

For more information, please visit:


Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer (COO), the Volunteer Director of Development serves as a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting ICERM. In partnership with the COO, this position is responsible for all fundraising and development activities. The successful candidate will help forge new relationships to build ICERM’s visibility, impact, and financial resources. The Volunteer Director of Development also will design and implement a comprehensive plan for developing key external alliances by cultivating individual and philanthropic support.

The Volunteer Director of Development will have primary responsibility for establishing and implementing the infrastructure needed to grow ICERM’s budget through the solicitation of major gifts, federal and state grants, special events, and corporate and foundation support.

S/he will expand and diversify ICERM’s donor base/pipeline and work closely with other team members to secure funding for new initiatives. In addition, the Volunteer Director of Development will work closely with the board of directors and support board members as they take on a more active fundraising role.

It is expected that the amount raised by ICERM will increase in future years as the Volunteer Director of Development systematically and effectively strengthens the organization’s overall fundraising capacity.


  • Support and partner with the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and board members on all major fundraising initiatives
  • Collaborate with the COO to develop and implement ICERM’s financial strategy
  • Actively work with the COO and senior staff to develop and implement a comprehensive development strategy to include corporate, foundation, government grants, etc. as well as carry out membership drive
  • Have primary responsibility for development and execution of all proposals; write and archive all proposals with a long-term relationship-management approach
  • Oversee research funding sources and trends, with foresight, to help position ICERM ahead of major funding changes or trends
  • Monitor all donor information; provide and present statistical analysis to board and senior leaders
  • Develop and implement a stewardship program aimed at cultivating deeper ties with donors
  • Monitor and report regularly on the progress of the development program
  • Identify, develop, and mentor the development team


  • Preferably retired development & fundraising experts with 10-plus years of professional experience in a nonprofit organization; demonstrated success in a development function (managing and forging relationships with multiple donor sources). Young development professionals or career changers can also apply.
  • Tangible experience of having expanded and cultivated existing donor relationships over time
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral; ability to influence and engage a wide range of donors and build long-term relationships
  • Ability to write competitive grant proposals; experience with the USAID or USDOS grant applications
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Flexible and adaptable style; a leader who can positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives
  • Ability to work both independently without close oversight, but also a team player who will productively engage with others at varying levels of seniority within and outside ICERM
  • Minimum of Bachelor’s degree required
  • High energy and passion for ICERM’s mission is essential
  • Ability to construct, articulate, and implement annual strategic development plan
  • Strong organizational and time management skills with exceptional attention to detail
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • A professional and resourceful style; the ability to work independently and as a team player, to take initiative, and to manage multiple tasks and projects at a time

ICERM Core Values

The following core values constitute the fundamental values or ideals at the heart of the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation: independence, impartiality, confidentiality, non-discrimination, integrity & trust. They articulate ideals that ICERM aspires to hold itself accountable for and offer guidance about how we should behave in carrying out the organization’s mission.

On no occasion or circumstance, therefore, shall ICERM restrict qualified applicants from participating in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its recruitment process because of reasons related to race, color, nationality, ethnicity, religion, language, sexual orientation, opinion, political affiliation, wealth or social status.

How to Apply

In case you or someone you know may be interested in serving as a Volunteer Director of Development, please send email to: careers(at)


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