As many as 40 Presbyterians will meet in New York next spring to take part in the 60th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Applications are now being accepted through the Presbyterian Ministry at the UN.

The Commission on the Status of Women is a functional Commission of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). It consists of 45 members: 13 from Africa, 11 from Asia, nine from Latin America and the Caribbean, eight from Western Europe and other countries (including the U.S.), and four from Eastern Europe.

The Commission meets annually to promote women’s equality and rights. Each year’s session focuses on a particular theme.

“The 60th session will focus on women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development,” said Mark Koenig, director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the UN. “Once again we will work with our partners in the Ecumenical Women coalition.”

The primary output of the Commission is a document called the “agreed conclusions.” The conclusions include an analysis of the priority theme and concrete recommendations for ways governments, intergovernmental bodies and other stakeholders can promote women’s rights in relation to the theme.

The Presbyterian delegation to the Commission is organized through a partnership involving the Presbyterian Ministry at the UN, Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries, the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns and Presbyterian Women in the PC(USA). The Presbyterian presence is made possible because the PC(USA) is accredited to the UN through ECOSOC.

“Delegates are expected to attend the PC(USA) delegation and Ecumenical Women orientations prior to the start of the Commission and participate for at least one week of the Commission itself,” said Koenig. “Delegates should have working knowledge of the issues related to women’s empowerment and its links to sustainable development and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.”

Opportunities are available throughout the Commission for attendees to engage in advocacy efforts, plan and participate in worship, learn, network and share the experience through social media and other communication tools.

The Commission is tentatively scheduled for March 14-24, 2016. Applications are due by November 3. For more information about the Commission and its work, as well as an application packet, go to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations webpage.

The Office of Young Women’s Ministries has one-week scholarships available for young women ages 18–35 to attend the Commission. For more information, contact Jewel McRae at 888-728-7228, ext. 5848 or

Presbyterian Women in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a limited number of Leadership Development Grants available. For more information on grant availability and criteria, contact Presbyterian Women’s Financial Office at 844-797-2872, ext. 5596.