Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.
by Esther Lee
March 8, 2014. The long awaited Ecumenical Women Orientation had arrived.
Making my way to the United Nations early morning, I did not know what to expect other than knowing that there were going to be numerous people attending from all around the world. Upon my arrival at the Church Center, there was already a throng of attendees conversing with one another in much excitement. Though the amount of planning I had personally participated in was trivial, it was refreshing to observe the heavily planned and anticipated day finally play out.
With breakfast kicking off the day, it provided time to meet and greet others, a time I looked forward to due to the lack of familiar faces. Being with women all over the world, listening and sharing about the work they do and passion they have was inspirational. Throughout the day in between the jam-packed schedule, there was room to get to know the fellow attendees. Hearing their stories was my favorite part; in conversing with them I was repetitively reminded that we stand together with a united heart. It was enlightening to be at a gathering of women empowering one another to embrace their identity in going forth with their callings, spreading awareness of the injustice upon women and striving for change in each oppressive situation.
The opening worship was one of the most memorable and enlivening times of the day. The chaplain led us in a joyful worship service, where we danced and praised in thankfulness. It was a remembrance as to why we are congregated in sharing our thoughts and convictions. A personal prayer of mine was that our wills would be aligned with God’s; and in everything we do, our strength would be supplied by Him. The communal worship was vital in helping set the mood and spirit of the day.
Another momentous time was during the workshops. There were three workshops available for attendance: “Mission Visits”, “Your Story and the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)”, and “Review of Zero Draft”. I attended the “Mission Visits” workshop led by Ryan Smith (Presbyterian Representative to the United Nations) and Victoria Edmonds (Salvation Army). There was time to discuss with one another how we may be able to communicate our concerns to the Mission Ambassadors, during potential Mission visits, as our respective backgrounds, connect to the four Ecumenical Women advocacy priorities that had been chosen by the attendees prior to the conference: poverty and hunger; access to quality education, employment, and decision-making; health; and violence against women and girls.
During discussion, we shared which countries we come from, and a total of nineteen different countries were named. In just one room on one orientation day, there were nineteen countries represented. It brought hope and eagerness to see how the effectiveness of these women could undoubtedly lead to a synergic response in the world.
The day served as an active reminder of how we are to take back the experiences and lessons learned to our respective communities to lead to a louder cry and stronger action. At the end of the day, what good would it do if everyone went back to their communities after having participated in numerous advocacy events and makes no effort for change? One thing that stuck to me during the panel discussion was that world remains unchanged because good men and women are not taking action. To be genuine good men and women is to take a step further, beyond ‘talking the talk, but walking the walk.’ The orientation day was the perfect start of a communal approach towards practical and effective change, with one another serving as an encouragement. As Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, stated, we must raise our voices together, not for a “conclusion with a compromise that takes us backwards, but a conclusion that takes us forwards.”
Esther Lee serves as an intern with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.
"Women are not the problem. Women are the solution."
Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women’s Executive Director, reminded those gathered for Ecumenical Women at the United Nations orientation for the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women of this reality.
She went on to note that "You cannot end poverty without empowering women." Her presentation focused on the theme of the Commission: "Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls."
Noting the connection between ending violence against women and girls and achieving empowerment and development of women and girls, Ms ...
Originally posted by the World Communion of Reformed Churches by Anna Krueger
Dora Arce Valentín, the World Communion of Reformed Churches’ executive secretary for justice and partnership, will join a delegation from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that will advocate for gender equity with the 58th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. This Commission is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women.
Arce Valentín will serve on a panel ...
The 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women will meet from March 10 – 21, 2014 in New York. This functional commission will make recommendations on “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.” Sources of information about the Commission include:
Advocacy Training Weekend 2014
Many types of violence afflict our world. Come to the Advocacy Training Weekend to address the causes of that violence and to seek hopeful solutions. Training will kickoff March 21, 2014 with Compassion, Peace and Justice Training Day for Presbyterians. Learning will continue with our ecumenical sisters and brothers during Ecumenical Advocacy Days the remainder of the weekend.
"Through prayer, worship, speakers, and advocacy training we will discover a faith-based vision for national policies that “guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:79), all culminating with Monday’s Congressional Lobby Day on Capitol ...