In a collaborative effort to explain their mission at the United Nations to a wide audience, several NGO representatives at the United Nations have published a small book entitled It is Good for Us to be Here: Catholic Religious Institutes as NGOs at the United Nations.
RSCJ at the UN
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.
The 63rd Annual DPI/NGO Conference entitled Advance Global Health: Achieve the Millennium Development Goals took place in Melbourne 30 August – 1 September, 2010. Being a member of the Australia-New Zealand Province, I attended the conference as a representative of the Society of the Sacred Heart.
The 62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference entitled For Peace and Development: Disarm Now! took place in Mexico City September 9-11. More than 1,100 participants from 55 countries listened to inspiring speakers and heard powerful testimonies from victims of violence.
At the beginning of September 2008, I was fortunate to be able to take part, with José Basaula, Maria Teresa Devoto, Isabelle Lagneau and Cecile Meijer, in the session which takes place every year in New York for NGO’s accredited to the United Nations. As the building in New York is being renovated, the DPI/NGO Conferences will be held for several years outside the US. The headquarters of UNESCO in Paris was a good choice since we celebrate this year the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed in Paris in 1948.
NGO stands for ‘non-governmental organization’. The United Nations (UN) describes an NGO as a “not-for-profit, voluntary citizens’ group, which is organized on a local, national or international level to address issues in support of the public good.” The Society of the Sacred Heart fits this description because it is made up of ordinary women with a common interest and conviction that education holds the key to systemic change in the world. We are not part of a government or business and work at the local, national and international level.
Five RSCJ and 15 IBVMs came to New York to attend the annual DPI/NGO Conference at the United Nations (September 7-9, 2005), with orientation by Evanne Hunter and Cecile Meijer beforehand, and debriefing and reflection immediately following. These full and busy days were followed by a four day workshop for the JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation) Coordinators of all IBVM provinces, to which the RSCJ were invited. The workshop was facilitated by two members of an Irish NGO, “80:20”.