Since 1946, Altrusa International has held observer status at the United Nations (UN). At that time, Altrusa was the first international classified service club for then executive and professional women to have an official observer appointed to the United Nations, Frances K. Marquis, president of the New York City (NYC)Altrusa Club. Frances was a close friend to another active NYC  Altrusan, Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor Rooselt delivered an address at the 1945 San Francisco UN Conference on International Organization and later then President Harry S. Truman appointed Mrs. Roosevelt to Chair the famous UN  Human Rights Committee.

In 1978, our UN membership was assigned to the level of a NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in roster status within the ECOSOC (the Economic and Social Council). In this capacity, we join together with other NGOs, empowered to attend open General Assembly sessions and UN briefings/conferences related solely to global and social concerns, and receive UN Ground Passes.

In each biennium, the International Board appoint 5 representatives to attend and monitor UN meetings and briefings, as allowed. Altrusa’s representatives may participate (either in person or via teleconference/Facebook) in weekly briefings/”chats” conducted by the UN Department of Global Communication (DGC), Civil Society (NGOs). In addition, they may serve on DGC Annual Conference committees and other projects, formed to further the improvement of the human condition worldwide.
Kathleen Schrein
Representative for Altrusa International to United Nations Department of Global Communications