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

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

Reading the Gyeongju Action Plan

The action plan is three and a half pages long, and is currently in English only.  Four Good Shepherd Sisters were among the participants to the conference and contributed significantly to the document with the inclusion of two important concepts – that of gender equality and spirituality.  It is unthinkable for us that education for global citizenship would not include both education for gender equality and spirituality.

The UN Women website has some facts and figures

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and read 10 things you should know about women and the world’s humanitarian crisis of May 23, 2016   All of our ministries throughout the world are addressing gender based violence in one form or another.  South Korea is no exception with services to women and children who experience domestic violence, services to pregnant girls and  young women, shelter accommodation for individuals experiencing crisis and shelter for trafficked women.

E_SDG_Icons-05While we in our ministries are continually challenged with the violence experienced by women and girls in their everyday lives it is imperative that curricula for education for global citizenship address all such gender based violence.  5.1 End all forms of discrimination against women and girls. 5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation and 5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

We, in our ministries throughout the world know the cumulative disadvantage that girls and young women face that makes they easy pray to traffickers for sexual and other types of exploitation.  We know how they are oppressed, discriminated against,  controlled by patriarchical forces, robbed of their dignity, and experience day in day out countless violation of their human rights.

 

President Michael D Higgins (Ireland)  at the World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, Turkey, May 23 and 24, 2016. spoke to Gender Equality Listen to YouTube   President Higgins said that gender inequality remains the most persistent and prevalent form of human rights violation in today’s world.   “We must recognise…that no distorted version of culture, or mythical structures should be used to justify the most egregious violations of women’s rights in so many regions as happens at the present time”

The document is in three parts … affirmations, commitments and urging member states and united nations to act.  The challenge how to implement in diverse cultural situations.

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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.