UN International Day of Education

Nano Nagle faced many challenges in her work to provide education to girls in even the poorest neighbourhoods. She knew that the key to lifting communities out of poverty was access to education and she lived her life ‘on the razor’s edge’ doing this. In 2023, UNESCO dedicated the International Day of Education to the women and girls of Afghanistan who have been denied the right of access to education.

UNESCO is hosting an event at the United Nations in New York on 24 January 2023, and the very first discussion will be about the education of girls and women in Afghanistan. The event will involve the UN Secretary-General, the President of the UN General Assembly, as well as UNESCO’s Director-General.

“No country in the world should bar women and girls from receiving an education. Education is a universal human right that must be respected. The international community has the responsibility to ensure that the rights of Afghan girls and women are restored without delay. The war against women must stop.”

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

According to UNESCO, 2.5 million (80%) of school-aged Afghan girls and young women are out of school. Of those, 1.2 million were recently denied access to secondary schools and universities. You can read the full UNESCO article here: https://www.unesco.org/en/articles/unesco-dedicates-2023-international-day-education-afghan-girls-and-women

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Gender Justice Publication Launch

On January 17, 2023, the International Presentation Association officially launched the second research publication titled ‘Policies for Gender Justice: Practices in Addressing Domestic Violence and Gender Stereotypes‘.

The first IPA research ‘Making Uncomfortable Conversations Comfortable: Gender Stereotypes and Domestic Violence in India, United States and Zimbabwe’ was launched in April 2022. That publication placed a particular interest in providing a voice to women experiencing gender stereotypes and domestic violence – presenting not only their experiences, but also their needs going forward, as reflective of their culture and society.

The current, second, IPA publication places a focus on policy responses addressing domestic violence and gender stereotypes by the governments and NGOs in India, United States and Zimbabwe. Our research explores synergies and collaboration between governments and civil society organisations before and during COVID-19 aiming to address the issues at stake. It is most essential to identify existing or potential partnerships between governments and NGOs.

Achieving coherence from the two sides constitutes the only viable path to increase the effectiveness of their policies towards addressing gender stereotypes and domestic violence and ensuring that the individuals in need are not left behind.

The research publication is available to download here or by clicking the cover image, above.

Convention on the Rights of the Child, January 2023

IPA, through Brian O’Toole, Justice Contact, England and Ireland, worked with a coalition of faith-based organisations on the Irish Submission to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The coalition comprised Our Lady of Apostles, Edmund Rice International, the Presentation Brothers, Cork Migrant Centre (a Presentation Ministry) and the Society of African Missions as well as the IPA.

They also received support and input from local grassroots groups, as well as from national and international civil society organisations. This detailed joint submission relates to five areas of concern.

You can read the full submission document here.

COP 15, Montreal, 2022

The United Nations Biodiversity Conference ran from 7-19 December 2022.

The outcomes of COP 15 look to be very positive, and there has been much discussion about it on social media.

Nations across the world have have reached an agreement which is described as a breakthrough for safeguarding our planet’s habitats and species. We pray that this agreement will be delivered through careful and sustainable actions to protect the biodiversity of our planet now and into the future.

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Happy Christmas from the IPA

We in the IPA Core Team would like to wish you and yours all the very best for Christmas.

We were inspired by this beautiful short poem by M. Raphael Consedine, PBVM.

Bright shone the star.
Its glory rose in our hearts.
What could we do but follow
Forsaking the known road

for a path to mystery
Travelling beyond the dawn.

M. Raphael Consedine, PBVM

The Kino Border Initiative

The International Presentation Association supports and encourages its global membership as they respond to injustices and build bridges across challenging divides. At the U.S. – Mexico border, a wall stands as a stark reminder of just such a divide. And Presentation Sisters have engaged deeply with local individuals and organizations to address the immediate needs of migrants. Their stories inspire Presentation People everywhere to act in support of women, children, migrants, and all people in need.

Marge Healy, PBVM, IPA Justice Contact from Dubuque, Iowa, shares her experience of one month in Nogales, Mexico supporting the Kino Border Initiative. This Initiative “strives to respond to the most critical needs by respecting the God-given dignity of the human person and by fostering bi-national solidarity through humanitarian assistance, education and research/advocacy.”

With support from a grant by the Hilton Foundation, the Kino Border Initiative was able to invite sisters with experience working in Latin America and proficiency in Spanish such as Marge to live in Nogales, Mexico for a month. The shared living space was occupied by other volunteers and Presentation Sisters, including Yliana Hernandez PVBM, who shares her own insight on this blog. During this time, the sisters work directly with migrants attempting to cross the border, their families, or those who have been turned away from entering the United States.

“We too are invited to follow in Nano’s footsteps and fan into flame the gift of God in our own lives and in our own time. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of the soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy towards others – are both acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. Do Not Lose Heart.” – Christina Pinkola Estes

You can download the full Story of Impact here.

16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women

The global theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls”, reports Dr Despoina Afroditi Milaki, the IPA NGO Representative at the UN.

It aims to galvanize advocacy efforts and call for solidarity with global feminist movements, women’s rights activists and especially the driving force behind them: civil society and women’s rights organizations. As in previous years, the colour orange will be used to represent a brighter future, free from violence against women and girls, as a unifying theme running through all global actions of the UNiTE campaign.

In line with the 2022 global umbrella theme, the Official UN Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was held on 23 November 2022.

Throughout the 16-day-long period from 25 November to 10 December, all UNiTE partners, including UN agencies, Generation Equality Forum Action Coalitions, civil society, private sector, sports associations, youth groups, universities and schools are inter alia encouraged to take actions such as:

  • Coordinate orange events and activities
  • Roll out a digital campaign focusing the work of women’s rights activists, survivors, human rights defenders etc
  • Wear the colour orange, and “orange” virtual spaces e.g. websites, social media accounts etc, from 25 November and throughout the 16 days until 10 December.

You can read Dr Milaki’s full report in the November 2022 edition of the IPA Justice Contact Update.

(Image, UN: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news-stories/in-focus/2022/11/in-focus-16-days-of-activism-against-gender-based-violence)

COP 15, Montreal, 2022

The United Nations Biodiversity Conference will run from 7-19 December 2022.

“In delivering on biodiversity, we deliver on climate, on pollution, on the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, and on the food and energy system transformation. So let us ensure that this COP will be remembered as the moment we finally set our societies and economies on the path to rebuilding the biodiversity upon which we all rely.” – Inger Andersen, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director.

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The COP 15 conference will be held in Montreal, Quebec, the seat of the UN CBD Secretariat. COP 15 will focus on protecting nature and halting biodiversity loss around the world. The Government of Canada’s priority is to ensure that COP 15 is a success for nature.

You can read more about the conference on the COP15 website.

Presentation Day 2022

We celebrate Presentation Day every year on 21 November.

“We too are invited to follow in Nano’s footsteps and fan into flame the gift of God in our own lives and in our own time. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of the soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy towards others – are both acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. Do Not Lose Heart” – Christina Pinkola Estes

You can download the Presentation Day Novena for 2022 here.

COP 27, Egypt, 2022

News from the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

On Friday 18 November, on behalf of the EU, European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans unveiled a proposal to establish a ‘loss and damage fund’ which would be targeted at countries which were the most vulnerable. Discussions about this proposal are expected to continue.

“Let’s act now or never. We don’t need any more talks because we know the situation,” said Sr. Durstyne Farnan, an Adrian Dominican sister from Michigan. Read more about her protests here.

The COP – or Conference of Parties – has met 26 times to tackle the challenge of global climate change. COP 26 took place in Glasgow in 2022, and COP 27 took place place in Egypt, from 6-18 November 2022, when it assumed Presidency of the COP.

One of the IPA pillars is our commitment in relation to care of the earth. We appreciate the importance of multilateral events like this as a way to take collective action, from government representatives to NGOs, to address the issues facing us all.

On Thursday 3 November, the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), released a statement to “reflect and clarify the response of Catholic Sisters for the environmental challenges of our time”. You can read the full statement here.

“From Stockholm, Rio, Bali, Kyoto, Durban, Paris, Katowice, Glasgow to Sharm El-Sheikh”- COP27.eg

Science from sources such as IPCC has given us the information and evidence we need to make conscious choices to transform our world and bring us back from the brink of ecological disaster. But we need to act now.

It is worth repeating here what we say on our Care of the Earth page:

“In all countries with an IPA presence those at work live the Laudato Si message raising local and international awareness of how the SDGs are lived out in our collective care for creation. Our Presentation work so often demands that we accompany those who are left furthest behind. In our care for creation we involve those affected most and affected first by the worst effects of climate change and enduring poverty during this declared climate and biodiversity emergency. 

“We honour and advance the rights of the earth in our work to spread the message of the IPCC reports on climate change. We translate the macro message into micro actions that are examples of carbon capture that mitigate and slow climate change. Presentation examples can be seen in our bog restoration and conservation in Lixnaw Co. Kerry  or in the work of Erin Earth in Wagga Wagga Australia where an intergenerational approach welcomes involves all age groups and all communities in demonstrating sustainable living in local communities. To reduce our carbon footprint is our commitment to walk lightly on the earth and to think and act proactively in this regard is to ensure that the ability of future generations to live sustainably is not compromised.”

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The final programme and agenda for COP27 is still in the process of being finalised at the time of writing so please visit the COP27 website for the latest information as it becomes available.