Dominican Sisters International at the UN

31 March 2019 | General Interest

Sr Jill OP


         Dominican Sisters at UN's CSW63

Twelve Dominican Sisters from around the world attended the UN's CSW63 in New York City in March 2019. The Sisters came from Chile, Norway, Spain, Cameroon, Rwanda, Bolivia, Australia and various states of USA. We stayed at The Mariandale Centre at Ossining NY run by the Dominican Sisters of Hope; we travelled each day by train to Grand Central Station along the beautiful Hudson River!

Each year the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN holds a conference concurrent with the celebration of International Women's Day for non-government organisations (NGO's). In recent decades the theme of the conference has been around the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The 2019 conference explored how social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure is supporting the goals of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

         Looking up at UN                                     UN General Assembly

Over two weeks, hundreds of events were staged at the UN itself and at venues around the east side of New York. The events were in the form of presentations, book launches, documentary films, major addresses, advocacy training, consultations, fairs and caucus sessions. The choices each day were challenging! I went to events that had an Australian focus, an Asian-Pacific connection, or were on issues troubling women today.


                       DSI NGO Headquarters NYC                            Waiting to register

The saddest session was given by two women defectors from North Korea. (This country has the worst human rights record in relation to women). The most surprising report was from Rwanda where gender equity and the empowerment of women has progressed astoundingly. The most challenging report came from a group called Catholics for Human Rights.

During the fortnight, I took time out for three 'side-events': a tour of the UN facility, a pilgrimage to Ground Zero and reflection time in the UN's special Meditation Room. Dag Hammarskjold designed and supervised the furnishing of this unique place:

Meditation Room

'This is a room devoted to peace
and those who are giving their lives for peace.
It is a room of quiet
where only thoughts should speak.'