no. 2 april - june 2006
World’s Unfinished Business
The 59th Annual Conference for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) will be held at the New York Headquarters of the UN from September 6 – 8, 2006. The conference is entitled Unfinished Business: Effective Partnerships for Human Security and Sustainable Development.
In a slight change in the conference, at least one of the participants from an NGO must be 18-28 years of age. This is an attempt to insure that young people become involved in the work of the NGOs and become familiar with the networks that are developing.
This year registration for the conference will be available on-line.
"This year’s topic, Unfinished Business: Effective Partnerships for human security and sustainable development, is timely for us in our quest as a prophetic witness in this century," said Sr. Jane Remson of the Carmelite NGO. "Care for human security and care for the earth cannot be separated from Carmelite spirituality."
"It’s important for us as Carmelites to be learned and involved in working with others in bringing about a better world especially in regard to human security and care for the earth."
"Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the responsibility of all peoples and all nations. Our Carmelite spirituality roots us in prayer and contemplation not just for ourselves, but as a means for us to bring the love of God to all peoples and all nations. The MDGs are a visible expression of God’s love that we, Carmelites, can be instrumental in bringing to actuality."
Secretary General Kofi Annan and Ambassador Jan Eliasson, president of the 60th session of the General Assembly, will open the DPI/NGO conference in the General Assembly Hall. In addition to the opening and closing plenary sessions, the conference will hold three morning and afternoon plenary sessions and six round-table discussions. Interactive dialogues and workshops will be held midday.
Corporate, financial, religious, and academic representatives will join government, United Nations, and NGO panelists in discussing concrete examples of partnerships that work and can be models for broadening the impact of all global efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Plenary session themes include finance, transparency, and accountability, science and education, technologies, information and communication, values and religious and multicultural dialogue, health, hunger, and HIV Aids.
Normally the number of people attending the conference is limited to five per NGO. However, since the Carmelite NGO was affiliated in December 2001, there have been 6-7 representatives of the Carmelite NGO participating in the conferences. On average, approximately 2,700 people participate, representing more than 700 NGOs (of about 1400 affiliated to the UN) from 90 countries.
"Preaching the gospel without action is lifeless, just as ‘faith that does nothing in practice is lifeless.’ (James 2:17). This year’s Conference, Unfinished Business: Effective Partnerships for human security and sustainable development, provides us with new insights that can help us put our faith into practice," concluded Sr. Jane. "We look forward to having some new Carmelites join us at the UN Conference for the first time."
Information about the 59th Annual DPI/NGO Conference and the Millennium Development Goals can be accessed at: carmelites.info/ngo
For more information about the Carmelite NGO and for links to the UN System worldwide, including educational resources, go to: carmelites.info/ngo
Carmelite NGO Present at UN Headquarters for Annual Orientation Program
Representatives of the Carmelite NGO, affiliated to the Department of Public Information (DPI) of the United Nations, were present for the UN’s annual two day DPI/NGO Orientation Program. This workshop brings together representatives of various UN departments and new members of UN affiliated DPI/NGO’s. Much of the information presented and discussed is connected to the DPI/NGO’s responsibility to diffuse information about the UN’s programs.
Attending this year’s course was Sr. Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, O. Carm., President of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mount Camel, and Fr. Chelo Dhebbi, O. Carm., a member of the Italian Province from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the liaison between the Carmelite NGO and the Order’s International Commission for Justice and Peace and the Integrity of Creation. Also attending were the representatives of the Carmelite NGO, Sr. Jane Remson, O. Carm., William J. Harry, O. Carm., and Helen Ojario, O. Carm.
Besides general discussions about various aspects of cooperation between the Department of Public Information and the NGO’s, there were significant presentations on internet resources from the UN that have been developed in the last two years, including a "cyber schoolbus," the global teaching learning project, the Information Centers located throughout the world, and UN documents now available online.
The final part of the workshop is a guided tour of the UN headquarters which enables them to see the more public areas of the UN, including the General Assembly Hall and the Security Council and ECOSOC meeting rooms. Members are also able to meet staff people in the various resource rooms which are available to DPI/NGO’s.
(1) Some of the Carmelites present for the UN's DPI/NGO Orientation Session in February. L-R: Chelo Dhebbi, Helen Ojario, Jane Remson.
(2) Congolese Carmelites Chelo Dhebbi in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations in New York during the DPI/NGO Orientation Session in February
Networking Between the Bronx (USA) and the Congo
Young Members in Carmelite Ministry Link Up With Carmelites on Another Continent
Carmelites and people affiliated with our ministries from around the globe have been involved in justice and peace ministry for many years. Here we present one example among many.
Kimberly Hamlor and Charisma Rodriguez are students at St. Simon Stock School in the Bronx, New York, a parish administered by the Carmelites. Their 12 year old faces broadcast their energy and enthusiasm.
For most young people, their world tends to be limited to life around their family, their school, and their circle of friends they see every day. For Kimberly and Charisma, however, their world and their commitment suddenly got a little larger.
"It all started during language arts class," says Kimberly. The Carmelite pastor of the parish, Nelson Belizario, popped into the classroom. Having recently spent time, as a member of the International Justice and Peace Commission, in some of the Carmelite ministries in the Congo, Nelson began talking about the Congo and the work of the Carmelites there.
"At first I did not know what he was talking about because I was looking out the window in my own world. But then I heard something that began to interest me. It was something about the Congo. As he spoke, I heard that this country is poor and certain children cannot receive a good education because the families of these wonderful children did not have enough money to pay school tuition," says Charisma. "I also heard there is a war going on over this material that is put in cell phones."
Together the young girls came up with an idea that would put flesh on the Gospel imperative to help those in need. Kimberly remembers Charisma saying "Kimmy, let’s raise money for the Congo."
After class, they presented the idea of going around and collecting donations. "I stood there with two fingers crossed," recalls Kimberly. "Fr. Nelson smiled and said ‘That is a great idea.’"
That "great idea" became reality in record time. Charisma says "I went home and made a donation box out of a shoe box. The next day I was looking for a partner to help me raise the money for the Congo.
"The next day when I came to school, Charisma had brought a shoe box covered with gift wrapping and a sign that said: To Raise Money for the Congo," says Kimberly. The whole school became involved.
"We made a list of classes from grades 1-8 (elementary school in the USA)," says Charisma.
The strategy worked. According to Charisma, "We started with 60 cents and day by day the amount grew and finally we had raised $167.92."
"After the collection of money, I realized that Kimberly and I had helped a country in need of food and shelter."
But the satisfaction of having made a little bit of a difference continues. "When I watch the news and read books and I see that the Congo has a lot of sick people in need of medication, I worked my best to help this wonderful country. That was what I loved best about helping."