WOMEN AND ART: TRANSFORMING SUFFERING PRODUCED BY HOLOCAUSTS

Glòria Rognoni Planas

Glòria Rognoni Planas

Glòria Rognoni Planas, from Sant Cugat del Vallès near Barcelona, attended March’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) as part of our NGO delegation. At a CSW side event an artist spoke about helping women deal with suffering through art. Glòria, a former actress and current Director of the social theater group Femarec, shares her perceptions of this event “which confirms how Art is capable of not only making the artist grow but also the beholder”.

Painting by Anne Kantor Kellett

Painting by Anne
Kantor Kellett

Glòria writes, “Anne Kantor Kellett was raised by parents who survived the Holocaust. She says that her mother always transmitted to her the pain she had suffered. She showed us an impressive photo where you can see the deep, indefinite, sad, lost look of her mother. Moved by the genocide in Rwanda, Anne decided to go there to help the survivors. When she got into contact with them, it was like finding her own family. ‘When you have no family, other survivors become your family.’ She finds that same lost look of her mother’s in the face of a man. She shows us the picture: impressive, it is exactly the same look… She tells us that the suffering produced by holocausts, wherever they take place, is the same for all human beings who suffer them.

Sculpture by Anne Kantor Kellett

Sculpture by
Anne Kantor Kellett

She evokes all her emotions in art. She takes photographs, paints abstract pictures, and also sculpts.

Her wooden sculptures, quite impressive, also reflect that same suffering, but each sculpture liberates a little of the suffering. She shows us pictures in which the necks are long and tortuous and hold up heads in pain.

Anne makes us note the evolution: the last photo of this series shows half of a woman’s body, also with a very long neck, below which you can see the lungs and the ribs, but the woman is looking up, and next to the lungs spring two wings of hope. That, she states, is how she feels now and how she wishes to transmit her evolution. At the end she shows yet another picture of one of her abstract paintings, a very large canvas with strong strokes of brown and black on the left side. At the right there is a large red stain. In front of the painting is her thirteen-year old son, with a luminous gaze. Anne says that the gaze of her son is also through art and is how she looks at life now.”  www.kantorkellett.com

(Article translated from Spanish by Guillermo Ayesa Igoa)

OPENING OF THE 69TH UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

General Assembly 2Each September, after summer holidays, the United Nations becomes a hub of activity again with the meetings surrounding the opening of the General Assembly which this year takes place on September 16. The new president of the Assembly, Sam Kahamba Kutesa, comes from Uganda and is currently Uganda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. He proposed as the theme of the 69th session: ‘Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda.’ He said this underscores the need to agree on the post-2015 agenda and also ensure its implementation. He emphasized the need “to address the means of implementation, in terms of financial resources, technology development, transfer and capacity-building,” including a strengthened global partnership. Kutesa also expressed commitment to reaching a global agreement on climate change, and advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Each year another region has the opportunity to choose a candidate for presiding over the General Assembly. Then the 193 member states draw lots to see which delegation will occupy the first seat. This year it will be Cuba. Other states will follow in English alphabetical order.

Monday, 22 – Tuesday, 23 September High-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
Monday, 22 September
1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Special session of the General Assembly on the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development
Tuesday, 23 September “Climate Summit 2014″ convened by the Secretary-General
Wednesday, 24 September “General Debate” (statements from any of the 193 members who wish)

General Assembly Committees, at which NGOs are present and active, begin on October 7.

SEPTEMBER 21: CELEBRATE THE RIGHT OF PEOPLES TO PEACE

Peace Day

 

Some ways to observe the International Day of Peace September 21:

  • Contact your local education leaders and advocate for a peace education program.
  • Choose to reconcile with someone who has offended you.
  • Volunteer or contribute to an organization whose mission is peace.
  • Read a book or watch a film on the theme of peace and reflect with others.
  • Sing along with Reba McEntire and “Pray for Peace”: youtube.com/watch?v=YHbv4M8d3As
  • Attend PEACE is the FUTURE / September 7-9, Antwerp, Belgium:    santegidio.be/pif/en/
  • Learn more: peaceoneday.org/ (Choose your language)


Please tell me where peace is sold and I will go there to buy some for my country.
Small girl in Afghanistan

UN AGENCIES APPRECIATE WORKING WITH FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS

The last few years have led to a reassessment of the role of faith in development efforts. The influence of religion is rising in most parts of the developing world. This, in turn, has increased the role of faith-based organizations (FBOs) in development and public life. Because of their deep ties to local communities, their partnerships with powerful religious institutions and FBOs, and their role as cultural influencers, religious leaders (RLs) have also become key stakeholders in development efforts.” – United Nations Development Program Draft Guidelines for Working with Faith-Based Organizations.

Mary Jo FBO articleMany UN Agencies and Permanent Missions have recognized and value the fact that local grassroots communities trust religious NGOs. Religious NGOs are known for efforts to listen and learn from the people they serve; that is why they can act as intermediaries of change for the better in a variety of issues. They find effective ways to educate children, especially girls, in rural and marginal areas. As with many other NGOs they are known for being able to operate “on a shoestring” and are often supported and subsidized by the international faith community. Providing food and shelter is not enough; building the capacity to develop potential in those that they serve is essential, so that leadership soon springs from the population served. The following qualities are recognized by agencies as qualities evidenced by religious NGOs:

  • Long-term sustainable presence: Religious institutions are generally very sustainable. They build and are a crucial repository of long-term social ties.
  • Motivated voluntary service: Religious have a high level of commitment. They motivate action through emphasis on compassion and service; unity and interconnectedness; justice and reconciliation. They see volunteering as part of their calling.

Encouragement of civil society advocacy: FBOs and RLs have extensive networks of congregations, affiliates, organizations, and individuals. These horizontally and vertically organized networks often constitute remarkable channels of communication as well as human and financial resources. These large national constituencies offer the potential to work powerfully in advocacy and reconciliation.

YOUTH AND MIGRATION

In 2010, there were an estimated 27 million international migrants between the ages of 15-24 among the 214 million migrants worldwide. About three times as many young migrants move within their country for reasons of escaping poverty, conflict, the results of climate change, or, in general, to seek a better life. The decision to migrate, with or without family, is not an easy one to make.

Mary Jo youth & mig articleThe World Youth Report presents issues of young migrants in their own words. It relates situations: pre-journey, in transit, concerns and challenges in the country of destination, and the experience of returning home. The report was prepared in consultation groups of various countries as young migrants express their own perspectives on how migration affects them. It was written with a view to designing specific interventions that address unique vulnerabilities of the young and to help them realize their hopes and aspirations. Illustrated by youth who joined in the discussions, with maps detailing routes of movement, the online version is available at: http://tinyurl.com/pe4d4gx

VISITING THE UN: LEARNING INTERNATIONALITY ON MANY LEVELS

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Group discussion

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Smiling participants

Twenty-one Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from Africa and Latin America participated in a 3-day UN orientation in early July. Along with support staff, they listened to informed and inspiring NGOs speak on Sustainable Development Goals, Mining, Financing for Development, and Girls’ Rights; learned about the UN structure and our SNDatUN Office; and celebrated networking and advocacy on local, national, and international levels. Time for conversation was woven into the workshop format as sisters shared stories and insights on issues from their various countries and ministries. In addition to NGO presentations and group discussions, participants spent a day touring the UN and observing government meetings. Sisters connected across cultures and languages, experienced the international flavor of the UN, and identified ways to network around global issues and engage others when they return home.

NOTRE DAME MISSION VOLUNTEERS: A NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM MAKING A DIFFERENCE

NDMVA logoFounded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and funded through a partnership with AmeriCorps, Notre Dame Mission Volunteers (NDMVA) has grown from just 6 members to more than 400. Volunteers are recruited each year from local communities and college campuses across the United States. NDMVA members work to empower the economically disadvantaged and oppressed through education and personal hands-on support.

NDMVA LA 2012

NDMVA Los Angeles 2012

They tutor children and adults, organize after-school activities, and model and teach conflict resolution and parental effectiveness. Volunteers currently serve in 23 cities in the United States and in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Nigeria.

For more information, go to www.ndmva.org/

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