Celebrating 30 Years of Loretto at the UN
This year we recognize and celebrate 30 years of Loretto presence at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. During that time we have garnered consultative status with both the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Department of Global Communications (DGC) at the U.N., which enables Loretto to share stories of our work — and that of our colleagues and Sister communities — with global policymakers.
We bring the experience of those in vulnerable situations to decision-making arenas and provide input into the global policymaking process. This might take the form of organizing meetings, hosting events, drafting advocacy briefs, providing oral statements and/or sending urgent appeals to the Human Rights Council or Sustainable Development processes. Since we are small, we do this work in collaboration with other groups in New York, and we also represent the Sisters of the Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs) of Dubuque, Iowa.
For the past 30 years, grounded in our faith tradition and guided by providence, Loretto has focused on rights for migrants, gender justice, environmental sustainability, poverty eradication, nuclear disarmament and more. We seek to shift both local and global political, social, economic, ecological and cultural systems that cause and perpetuate climate change, environmental degradation, poverty, inequality, biodiversity loss, injustice and conflict.
In addition to advocacy work, we also educate ourselves and our many students and friends about the history and current work of the U.N. For example, many Loretto Community members undoubtedly have joined and will join others around the globe with peace walks, floating paper lanterns, origami peace cranes and/or prayers to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9). This year, as we reflect on the 355,000 lives lost in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the present threat that nuclear warfare poses, it is heartening to know that the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) came into force on Jan. 22 of this year. This treaty had been adopted at U.N. headquarters in New York City on July 7, 2017, and opened for signatures at the General Assembly that September.
As we work to garner support for the United States to participate in the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, there are many resources available:
- If you wish to follow the implementation of the TPNW, and our movement toward a world free of nuclear weapons, see: https://banmonitor.org/
- Do you work with youth? In early 2020, the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs, with generous financial support from the government of Germany, put out the call to young people ages 18 to 24 across the globe to apply to be a Youth Champion for Disarmament. More than 6,500 youth applied, and 10 were selected for this innovative learning program aimed at empowering the Champions to work for disarmament in their communities. Read more about the winners and their work here: https://www.youth4disarmament.org/youth-champions-disarmament.
- Finally, here’s a link to a brief video from our Loretto UN Representative Beth Blissman that features information about the TPNW: https://youtu.be/TWMctk1mdGc
If you are interested in learning more about Loretto at the UN, please visit our web pages where you can find information about our mission, past and current projects, and how to get involved. To keep up with our activities, follow our social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.