News from Bogota Colombia

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Greetings from Bogota, Colombia where the Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Team have been meeting with Susan Chia, our liaison with the Congregational Leadership Team. We arrived between June 29th and 30th and commenced our first three days of work July 1 – 3. They have been three days of marvelous sharing, team building and planning our strategy for the coming years. One very important aspect of our work is linking with your ministries, and your concerns at grassroots level. We shared what has been accomplished over the past year in New York, Geneva and Vienna linking global to local and furthering the social, economic and human rights of ‘women, children and girls who have been trafficked, forced to migrate or oppressed by abject poverty.’ We have experienced a growing awareness, involvement and collaboration with JP contacts in the various units. We have been planning for more focused and sustained involvement. Many of you will be happy to hear that we have prepared a job description for JP contacts. It will be made available soon. Margaret Lynch has joined the team and is working with Hedwig JOHL in the Geneva office on Human Rights. We have attributed the growing awareness to two very important roles – Training Facilitator (Clare Nolan) and Communications Coordinator (Yolanda Sanchez) through their special aptitude and expertise according to their job descriptions.
Already the team of 4 NGO Regional Designates have begun to arrive – Georgette Tannoury (Lebanon) Ato Ferew Lemma, (Addis Ababa), Sutisa Utalun (Bangkok) and Marta Iris (Santiago). The United Nations has 5 Regional Economic and Social Commissions. Margaret Lynch who was appointed as designate for Europe has joined the Human Rights Office so this position is currently vacant. It is hoped to fill the position later on. On July 6th we will begin a 5 day training workshop for the regional designates so as to build their capacity and understanding of their role within the regions both in terms of the three UN Offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna and their linking with units within their regions.
Following the training session we have a marvelous opportunity to meet, share and dialogue with the REAL Leadership who are meeting with the Congregational Leadership Team here in Bogota and further the implementation of the Justice Peace agenda within this region. It is a special moment as they will hear from the NGO Designate Marta Iris who is the representative to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Finally the GSIJP office team will meet with the CLT to give the annual report and share plans for the coming year. We thank you for your support and know that you will continue to accompany us with your prayer over the coming days.