" I am come so that they may have life and have it to the full. " John 10:10

Ursulines at the United Nations - December 2016

United Nations and The Religious NGO
Sister Jane Quinlan
December 2016

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9
I am writing as the representative for the NGO of the Ursulines of Tildonk. As a group of Sisters, with a membership of over 1,000 religious women dedicated to serving others we show our life-long commitment to effect change in favour of the development of people.
We are concerned about how we can better foster the development of civil society across the globe in the service of people.
What is an NGO?
A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any local, national or international citizens’ group which does not work for profit. NGOs work in fields as diverse as law, refugee work, human rights and disarmament.

We Ursulines have had NGO status since 1998 and are a recognized group of dedicated catholic women who are joined together.
We make a difference in society through the witness of our life, a life of shared partnership for the benefit of human kind.
One of the many advantages of being affiliated with the UN is that we have a grounds pass, allowing us to use the library, have access to documents in the DPI Resource Center, attend briefings, conferences and give input in committees.
We aspire to the same goals as the UN: A world without war, a world without hunger, a world without poverty and a world where children can be happy.
The UN is like a Club with the Secretary General at the top.
He has to be very sensitive to cultural differences. The new Secretary General is Antonio Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal. Mr. Guterres, 67, ran the United Nations refugee agency for 10 years. He will succeed the current secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, whose second five-year term expired at the end of 2016. 
The UN was started after WW II.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the US president when the UN began. He gave it the name of the United Nations. The Charter was signed by 51 countries in June 1945 in San Francisco, but was ratified Oct 24, 1945 UN DAY.
Today all 193 Member States agree to follow the principles.
A flag for each country flies outside the UN building in NY header-logo
I find it is easy to keep in touch with the happenings at the UN through communications from the DPI
(Department of Public Information) office of the UN, as well as Webtv.un.org which enables me to follow briefings without traveling to NY. It is very helpful and keeps me in touch with important issues.
Many agree that
the UN is a complicated organization covering every imaginable area from agriculture to aviation, from environment to health, from International monetary Fund to labor, from refugees to telecommunications.
We see the value of working together with UN agencies (
UNICEF, Working group on Girls, UNDP) to teach about human rights and to strengthen our ability for advocacy.
An example of how the UN and NGOs are ready to help when disaster strikes was shown to me in 2002.
A major volcano erupted and caused unimaginable damage to Goma in North Kivu, DRC. The UN was there to rebuild the roads, schools, water supplies and refugee resettlement camps. An NGO from Ireland "Concern" was there to set up a lab.
The majority of our sisters are trained educators, but we are involved in a wide variety of services to people in India, Guyana, the US, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Belgium.
Our outreach
includes serving in formal and informal education; community-based and institutional health services; rural development; youth work; empowerment of persons living in poverty and of women.
In September 2015 a major step forward was taken by the UN in the form of adopting 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) entitled, “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
All member states adopted the agenda which is built on the eight Millennium Goals and aims to eradicate extreme poverty and leave no-one behind. The SDGs set an agenda for us as an NGO.
To show the importance of the SDG agenda, the
Ursulines have launched an art contest in the schools where we teach. We are challenging children from 8-14 from the US, to the DRCongo to Belgium and India to illustrate one of the 17 goals.
Recognition will be given to individuals and schools. …
"Children are our leaders of tomorrow".
A task we face as an international NGO is how to help our members develop advocacy skills to effect change.
By educating and informing our members they in turn contribute to their own localities and governments.
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There is a special group of women and men religious who represent their congregations at the United Nations in New York. 
RUN (Religious at the UN) is doing research to determine if a significant number of their members throughout the world are interested in an envisioned justice project.
The responses will be a major factor in RUN’s decisions about whether and how to proceed in planning this project.
We Ursulines were among the founding group of RUN.
RUN has grown from about 10 to more than 45 congregations represented.
To conclude, Our 2014 Direction Statement holds true for us;
We contribute to making our world more peaceful:
“We adapt to the needs of our time s and we become messengers of joy, peace and hope especially to the vulnerable.”

Sister Jane Quinlan
December 2016