SSND Interaction at the United Nations
By Sister Ethel Howley SSND, UN-NGO Representative 1993 – 2002
As School Sisters of Notre Dame, we make every effort to “deepen our consciousness of who we are in relationship with the Triune God, one another, and God’s amazing universe.” (Directional Statement Love Gives Everything) We look to the UN for peace among nations, which was the dream of its initiators. In spite of many wars within countries and between countries since 1945, we have not experienced a world war. We need to come together as brothers and sisters in one global community, rather than as nations competing for one another’s resources. Currently the world is called upon by Pope Francis to look after our common home, planet Earth.
The UN has provided opportunities for dialogue on global anxieties among world leaders in all countries. It has established agencies and commissions to provide research and experts on the environment; human rights for children, women, and indigenous peoples; peace and disarmament; development and its financing. It has also included interactions with people from Civil Society Organizations.
SSND has been a UN-NGO since 1993, but we have been involved with educating young people for 187 years. Our efforts expanded from kindergartens to the universities, from Germany to 30 some countries. In recent years, SSNDs have come with secondary school and university students and teachers from five continents to the UN for the Commission on the Status of Women, Commission on Social Development and other suitable experiences. Each time these participants returned home bringing new insights into global issues, and memories of new friends from other cultures to their schools, families, and neighborhoods. SSNDs continue with renewed motivation to “educate, advocate, and act in collaboration with others for the dignity of life and the care of all creation.” (Directional Statement Love Gives Everything)