Celebrating women who are no longer left behind and Marietta Latonio who has made the difference.

A parallel event on Wednesday March 22nd entitled ‘Inherent Dignity, Real Choices: A Preventive Approach to Ending Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation’ celebrated women who are no longer ‘left behind’ and a woman – Marietta Latonio – who has made the differences.

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This was a collaborative event with Mercy International, UNANIMA International, the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary and US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking. The event was recorded and uploaded on You Tube

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Marietta Latonio, advocate, researcher, professor of social work, and monitor and evaluation officer at Good Shepherd Welcome House, Cebu in the Philippines was awarded a ‘Woman of Courage’ by Sr Jean Quinn, Executive Director of UNANIMA International in recognition of her work and dedication. It was stressed that she is a woman who gives of herself. Remember she co-researched with Angela Reed  ‘I Have A Voice Trafficked women – in their own words’

 

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We were honored to have H.E. Mrs Irene Susan B Natividad, Deputy Representative of the Mission of the Philippines Mission to the United Nations attending the event. Later in the evening we discovered that Her Excellency is a niece of Sr Mary James Wilson RGS. Small world!

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Great pictures – Marietta, H.E. Mrs Irene Susan B Natividad (in the center) and Jean Quinn. Angela Reed – the moderator of the event standing in the back. The event opened and closed with a group named ‘Raging Grannies’ a socially conscious non-violent group who bring lots of fun and laughter to the cause. Lyrics to Love and Justice:

Chorus:  Love and Justice be my flag I’ll live my truth what e’re will be                                                    I swear that I cannot rest till there is equality Love and Justice be my flag                           I’ll live my truth whatever comes so many rivers to cross till our journey’s done

More connections – one of the members of the group worked as a social worker in Good Shepherd Services NY many years ago!  A central part of the event had the recorded voices of women from Welcome House, Cebu who are now empowered women through care and education.

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Mariana Vanin – Programme and Communications Officer of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) (pictured above) was a panelist with Winifred Doherty. Winifred noted the similairites in approach offered at Welcome House in Cebu and at Ruhama, Dublin Ireland.  The advocacy work of Ruhama was instrumental in the passing of the new sexual offense criminal bill whereby anyone who buys sex is prosecuted and women in prostitution are decriminalized. Prostitution is violence.

Congratulations Marietta!

Co-sponsors

Back Row – Angela Reed; Cecelia O’Dwyer; Jean Quinn.   Front Row – Mariana Vanin; Winifred Doherty; Marietta Latonio.

 

 

Day of the Girl 2016 at UNICEF

UNICEF sponsored an event on October 11th and I am happy to be able to share with you.  Livestream   After the opening addresses by Mr Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF and Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director and Under Secretary General of UNFPA there are two amazing girl ambassadors from Africa

satta-3– Satta Sheriff from Liberia (in the picture with me) and Rebeca Gyumi from Tanzania.  Do listen to them!   Satta is a member of the Children’s Parliament in Liberia while Rebeca lobbied her Government to introduce legislation to raise the minimum age of marriage in Tanzania to 18 years in July of this year.  Suman Shakya spoke about a new way of collecting data in Nepal and Karen Peterson from the USA was promoting STEM subjects for girls.

 

Watch and sing along with the Global Girls Film

In solidarity with our Mission Partners in Syria and Lebanon – English/Spanish/French

georgette-2These days at the United Nations we are discussing much about the situation of Refugees and Migrants in preparation for the High Level Summit for Refugees and Migrants taking place on 19 September, 2016.  I want to ask you to join me in solidarity with our sisters and mission partners in Syria and Lebanon in what is a desperate situation for them and their people.  Sr. Georgette Tannoury, our NGO Regional Designate for ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) prepared the following Powerpoint. Let us be in solidarity with them and indeed with all refugee and migrant peoples throughout the world.   Open Powerpoint

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En estos días, en las Naciones Unidas, estamos discutiendo mucho sobre la situación de los Refugiados y de los Migrantes en preparación para la Cumbre de Alto Nivel que se llevará a cabo el 19 de septiembre de 2016.  Deseo pedirles que se unan a mí en la solidaridad con nuestras hermanas y compañeras de misión en Siria y Líbano en lo que es una situación desesperada para ellas y su gente.  La Hna Goergette Tannoury, designada regional de nuestra ONG para la CESPAO (Comisión Económica y Social para Asia Occidental) preparó el Powerpoint que sigue. Tomemos posición junto a ellas y, por supuesto, con todas las personas refugiadas y migrantes en todo el mundo.        Abra Powerpoint

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Ces jours-ci à l’ONU nous discutons beaucoup sur la situation des réfugiés et des migrants pendant la préparation du Sommet de haut niveau pour les réfugiés et migrants qui a lieu le 19 Septembre 2016. Je veux vous demander de vous joindre à moi, en solidarité avec nos sœurs et partenaires de la mission en Syrie et au Liban, dans ce qui est une situation désespérée pour eux et leur peuple. Sr Georgette Tannoury, notre désignée régionale ONG pour la CESAO (Commission économique et sociale pour l’Asie occidentale) a préparé le Powerpoint suivant. Soyons solidaires avec eux, avec tous les réfugiés et populations migrantes dans le monde entier.   Ouvrez Powerpoint

 

 

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.

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

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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

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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’