Joan Kirby, RSCJ, received the Interfaith Visionary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Temple of Understanding (TOU) on October 19, 2010, during the Fiftieth Anniversary Gala and Juliet Hollister Awards Ceremony in New York City.
Sister Kirby has been working at the TOU since 1994 and currently serves as representative to the UN. The award was given: In dedication to Sister Joan Kirby for promoting interreligious values at the United Nations, her lifelong commitment to addressing human rights and ecological issues, and her passionate devotion to the development of young leaders.
UN Secretary General BAN Ki-Moon sent a congratulatory message to Sister Kirby; an excerpt follows:
"I am very pleased that you are receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for your work at the United Nations on behalf of the Temple of Understanding…We are especially mindful of the special role you have played in advancing the Millennium Development Goals and interfaith and intercultural dialogue, as well as confronting climate change. I am also thankful that you have taken the time to nurture young global citizens from all parts of the world.
Your leadership has been exemplary. Your influence profound. I thank you.”
In presenting the award, one of her recent summer interns described Sister Kirby as “the coolest nun I’ve ever met, a goldmine of information who uses that information to bring awareness and change to the UN.”
The recipients of the annual awards named for TOU founder Juliet Hollister were: His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan; the Most Reverend Desmond M. Tutu, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Capetown, South Africa; His All Holiness, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, the “Green Pope,” and 270th successor of the 2000-year old Christian Church founded by St. Andrew the Apostle; and Karen Armstrong, author of more than twenty books on faith and the major religions and organizer of the Charter for Compassion, a document around which religious figures can work together for peace.
Seven other RSCJ from the New York City Area were present at the event: Angela Bayo, Judith Cagney, Margaret Coakley, Kathleen Cox, Judith Garson, Maura Keleher, and Cecile Meijer.