One of the most effective ways our Vincentian Family NGOs can effect change at the UN is through sponsorship of side events. The UN is bombarded with concerns about global issues. Far more effective than repetitive complaints are creative solutions, which can be portrayed at side events.
“Side events are a way for the NGOs who work at the UN to bring credibility to their advocacy efforts,” said Sister Teresa Kotturan, SCN, NGO Representative to the UN for the Sisters of Charity Federation. “They also bring best practices to the UN, so that we can serve as an example for other people,” observed Sister Teresa. “Best practices are always replicable. And since we take UN concerns to the grass roots and implement the UN policies and Sustainable Development Goals, it is important that we bring back to the UN the grass roots reality and impacts of our involvements.”
“A side event is one of the best opportunities open to NGOs to get a platform within the UN structure to take a stand on an issue such as the eradication of poverty,” concurred Sr. Catherine Prendergast, DC, NGO representative for the Company of the Daughters of Charity to the UN.
Figure 2. Vincentian Family representatives to the UN
With this in mind, Vincentian Family NGOS are collaborating on a side event, February 1. It will be held in coordination with the 55th Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD55), which takes place February 1 to 10 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This year’s theme is: “Strategies for the eradication of poverty to achieve sustainable development for all.”
The title of the side event is “The Triad of Grass Roots Engagement, Advocacy, and Systemic Change in the Eradication of Poverty.” Sister Teresa will serve as moderator. Fr. Guillermo Campuzano, CM, will offer an overarching talk about the triad, including the components of systemic change. One case study will be offered by Linda Sama, PH.D., who is the Joseph P. Adams Professor of Management and Dean of Global Initiatives in the Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University. A second will be offered by Dylan Corbett, Executive Director of the HOPE Border Institute at the El Paso/Juarez/La Cruces border. The group is also hoping to portray, by video, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s engagement with Inuits, indigenous persons living in the Arctic tundra.
Figure 3. Dr. Linda Sama, initiator of the GLOBE Program at St. John’s University (Photo—stjohns.edu)
Sama initiated GLOBE –Global Loan Opportunities for Budding Entrepreneurs– which provides microloans to persons in the developing world. Through GLOBE, students from the Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s manage a microfinance program and make small loans to entrepreneurs in developing areas of the world. The engagement of persons at the grass roots enables them to significantly empower their families and themselves in emerging from poverty. The program is designed to achieve effectiveness and minimize administrative and start-up fees. On the GLOBE website, students offer a description of their purpose:
“We are committed to building a global community (starting here at St. John’s) that contributes to the goal of eradicating poverty within our lifetime.”
Figure 4. Dylan Corbett, Executive Director of the HOPE Border Institute (Photo—hopeborder.org
Corbett is Executive Director of HOPE (Hope Border Institute, or HBI) a grassroots community organization working in the El Paso/Ciudad Juárez/Las Cruces region that seeks to bring to bear the perspective of Catholic Social Teaching on social realities unique to the US-Mexican border. Through its program of research, reflection, leadership development, advocacy and action, HBI develops and aligns border community leaders engaged in the work of justice from the border area to deepen solidarity across borders and transform the region.
Sister Teresa is a member of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. She serves on the Vincentian Family Commission for Systemic Change and has also participated in the Vincentian Family Collaboration Commission. Fr. Guillermo is a member of the Congregation of the Mission. He is frequently invited to offer workshops on topics such as advocacy, spirituality, Latino leadership, poverty, youth, and more. He has strong experience serving underprivileged communities and advocating for human rights and dignity.
Figure 5. Ambassador David Donoghue, of the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations. (Irish Time Photo)
The event will be co-sponsored by the Company of the Daughters of Charity, Congregation of the Mission, International Association of Charities, International Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Sisters of Charity Federation, and by the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations. It is hoped H.E. Ambassador David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN, or one of his designees, will be able to speak. Ambassador Donoghue was co-facilitator, with the Permanent Representative of Kenya, H.E. Macharia Kamau, for negotiations which culminated in an agreement among Member States on Global Sustainable Development Goals. He was also co-facilitator, with the Permanent Representative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Dina Kawar, of negotiations resulting in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.