Q & A with Srs. Eileen Reilly and Winifred Doherty, teaching others to be global citizens

From Global Sisters Report by Christ Herlinger, published June 28, 2016 teaching others to be global citizens on line version


Sr. Winifred Doherty, the U.N. representative of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd (GSR photo / Chris Herlinger)

Update from Gyeongju City, South Korea.

This evenings is the end of the second day of the UN DPI / NGO Conference in Gyeongju City, South Korea.  It has been an interesting and enriching time from a historical, cultural and programatic point of view.  Your team here were three Korean sisters and myself – Sisters Martha Ko the Justice Peace contact, Paula, Winifred and Virginia Kim.2016-05-28 19.51.46

The theme of the conference is ‘Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together.’9a919647-de95-4527-8d45-bdfe5e460a2c

The prelude to the opening featured ‘Heart to Heart’ Orchestra who entertained the participants immediately prior to the opening.  The musicians experience differing abilities but the quality of performance was superb.    The opening session followed some of the usual protocols while incorporating some cultural items.

Secretary General Mr Ban Ki Moons address was strong in appreciation and in favor of the work of NGO’s   Read the address here.

Throughout the two days we spent a total of 5.5 hours working on the draft Gyeongju Action Plan.  There were 4 Round Tables on various themes central to Education for Global Citizenship.  There was 50 workshops throughout the three days illustrating the work of NGO’s and the United Nations.  The ones I attended included Civil Society Space and Human Rights Education; Community Driven Education: Local Ownership for Global Advancement; and Effective Use of Non-Formal Education Tools in achieving the SDG’s.  Drafting of the document was in parallel session with some of the roundtables.  Good Shepherd were instrumental in having gender equality and spirituality inserted into the document as important components of education for global citizenship.  Virginia and Paula both took the microphone to express their opinions.

There were some intense moments concerning naming for inclusion or not of a Korean project Saemaul Undong.   Saemaul Undong named in the original draft  was removed when an updated draft was presented at the conference and this led to the debate.   70 Korean NGOs are opposed to its inclusion but there was a strong push by others to have it included.  The other contentious issue was around gender equality, sexual orientation etc. Even asking for the insertion of gender equality in accordance with SDG 5 was contentious within the local context and confused with sexual orientation. We have a long way to go in respecting difference and no doubt differing levels of awareness and consciousness co-existed with some strong anti-western and anti American feelings.

I am surprised with the strong reaction to STEM subjects and the groups wanting Arts and Humanities to be prioritized. The drafters of the action plan had coined the term STEAM in the original version with A for Arts but this too was debated.

70 Exhibits were on display and open to the general public of Gyeongju over the two days.


The day ended with a reception.

Setting out for South Korea

Today May 19 we congratulate Good Shepherd Sisters who are celebrating 50 years of presence and service in Korea.  Read about their mission and see some of their projects HERE  I will join them on May 23, have a session in Soeul and one in Chunchon before traveling to Gyeongju for the 66th United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) NGO Conference. This is from 30th May to June 1, 2016.  Three sisters will accompany me Srs. Virginia Kim, Martha Ko and Paula Woon.  The theme of the conference is Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together.  Visit the conference website and read a proposed draft of the ‘Gyeongju Action Agenda’ now in the six languages of the United Nations


Conference Website

This morning at the UN HQ in  New York a pre-conference meeting took place.  I attended along with many other NGO who will be attending or following with social media.  DPI 4

DPI pre-Conference 3

The conference days will be filled with learning opportunities while exploring the meaning of being a global citizenship and how to educate for global citizenship and how understanding of this might be a bedrock for implementing the 17 sustainable goals.  There will be 4 roundtable discussions: i) Inclusiveness in Education ii) Peace Education iii) STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) and iv) sustainable development and climate change.  There are at least 40 side events organized addressing multiple topics and themes. Youth will have a high profile throughout the conference and there will be an exhibition that will be open to the public in Gyeongju. Throughout the  conference the Gyeongju Action Agenda will continue to crafted based on the discussions taking place.

Our contribution to the conference will be to ensure that education for gender equality is a cross cutting component of the educational curriculum for global citizenship and at the heart of sustainable development.                                                                         IBVM                I like this picture taken from the twitter account of the ibvmun (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Some years ago Deirdre Mullen, a Mercy Sister from Ireland wrote a book on ‘Meeting the Global Citizen in you’  It was followed by another booklet on ‘Nurturing the Global Citizen Within’

Declaration from the 63rd DPI conference in Australia.

A report on the UN NGO DPI (Department of Public Information Conference) held in Melborne, Australia can be accessed here  http://makinghealthglobal.com.au/media/conference-releases/the-declaration/#more-468  Michaela Gutridge who attended the conference wrote the following :   63rd Annual United Nations Department of Public Information,  Non-Government Organisation Conference: Advance Global Health,  Achieve the Millennium Development Goals
 Beautiful opening ceremony included Indigenous Opera performance from Pecan Sunrise.
 General overview of common issues arising at the conference:
·         “The right of a human being is non-negotiable” Dr Aleida Guevara, Cuba (daughter of Che Guevara)
·            Health, education and even the basics of life, like water, food and shelter have become commodities bought and sold and no longer human rights for all
·         Need to hold governments to account
·         Need to develop networks and coordinated campaigns, particularly regional collaborations with organisations under similar thematic missions. Recommendation: Choose one issue all can agree on, despite differences
·         Remember the destruction caused by transnational and multinational corporations. Consider the problem of NGOs delivering aid without questioning these corporations who cause the conditions that necessitate the aid. Consider private sector collaboration to hold corporations to account
·         The best data in the world means nothing if it doesn’t translate to community needs
·         Empowering women eliminates poverty
 Attended seven workshops. The two most thought-provoking:
1.      Indigenous Health and Self Determination, NACCHO
·         The issue of political will arose throughout the conference and again at this workshop. A delegate offered this: “We are looking for political will in the wrong places. We must remember we are the body politic, we are the political will and the health of the body politic is crucial. The question is the lack of political courage and wisdom of governments and our own political will”
·         Indigenous projects should not only focus on outcomes, but also processes
·         Indigenous health services on average report to 52 funding bodies
·         Statistics/evidence used too often to justify existence of organisations, rather than to help the communities they exist to serve
·         The very large number of young Indigenous people places an equally large pressure on them to succeed and to become the change-makers
2.      Signposts and Indicators of Progress in Gender Equality, CARE International
Teo Vimenes, Timor Leste: Seven strategies to gender equality in education:
1.    Improve girls self-esteem
2.    Promote leadership and self motivation, foster critical thinking and creativity
3.    Encourage girls to analyse opportunities for women in their society
4.    Cultivate strong role models in female staff
5.    Tell stories in language about females who are smart, funny and great problem-solvers
6.    Share knowledge with parents
7.    Build capacity to advocate at the government level
Four challenges to gender equality in education:
1.    Settling the disparity, promoting equal chances between girls and boys
2.    Qualitative measures for gender progress
3.    Sustainable change of attitudes
4.    Adaption to community needs
Jo Crawford, IWDA: Making sure the outcomes matter: Consider how the locals define poverty and what is most important for the community to overcome.
Prior to voting on the Conference Declaration, Rob Mooney said “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. The Declaration was passed with overwhelming support and received a rousing standing ovation. All GS Delegates voted for the Declaration, which can be found at this link: http://makinghealthglobal.com.au/media/conference-releases/the-declaration/#more-468
Rev. Tim Costello of World Vision moved a motion to UN Under Secretary-General Kiyo Akasaka for a two year debt moratorium for Pakistan.
Next meeting: Bonn, Germany on the theme of Sustainable Societies.

Michaela Guthridge
Justice Development Manager
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand
An NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, New York.

Declaration of the 63rd DPI NGO Conference in Australia.

Read the declaration approved by 1,600 participants representing over 350 Non-Governmental Organizations from more than 70 countries who met in Melbourne from 30 August to 1 September, 2010.  Included in the declarations is a call to ‘Ensure gender equality, empower women and expand programs to end violence against women’.  http://www.un.org/wcm/webdav/site/ngoconference/shared/docs/whundpi%2063%20ngo%20%20%20Declaration%20Final%201%20Sept%202010%20%282%29%20.pdf

DPI-NGO Conference in Australia August 30 – September 1st 2010

The annual 63rd Department of Public Information – NGO conference following the theme of Advance Global Health – Achieve the MDG’s  has just ended in Australia.  You can follow the conference events on Webcast at http://www.un.org/dpi/ngosection/conference/    7 Good Shepherd participants from Australia have attended including 2 youth.   This team is headed up by Michaela Gutridge, Justice Development Manager, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand and includes Jacinta Unger,  Lisa Gardner, Orlando Morales,  Roberto Morales, Rosemary Hoban and Amy McKeown.  We look forward to having a report of their experience of the conference.