Connecting at the UN
By S. Romina Sapinoso
For the past two months, I had the blessing and the privilege of being part of the Sisters of Charity Federation United Nations NGO in New York City, New York, as an intern. During this time, I had the opportunity to know more of the United Nations system, have a more in-depth take on world issues, get a sense of the history that has given way to policies and development goals as we know them now, and the different movements and ways in which countries, governments and civil society are working to achieve these goals.
Navigating the UN took quite a bit of time and I am pretty sure I barely scratched the surface of learning. Quite a bit of my time was spent attending the many committees that work on various issues. It was encouraging to connect with other religious organizations working together to add to the voices that are petitioning for the plight of those on the margins. The two big commissions also happened during my time at the UN: the Commission for Social Development and the Commission on the Status of Women. It was a wonderful opportunity to be inspired and connected to so many around the world who are seeking to create space for peace, cooperation and the uplifting of those on the margins – women and girls, immigrants, indigenous people, those caught in the violence of war and conflict, and many others. Watching and hearing about grassroots nonprofits and various groups initiating projects to alleviate suffering and answer needs reminded me of how our own ministries in our local communities, especially those who were started by women religious, have done the same life-changing work.
For me the UN exists because of the work that is being done on the ground by so many and in turn, the UN empowers and supports the work by advocating for and providing a high level forum by which we can come together and influence policies in every country to bend towards human rights and sustainability.
This experience has given me much faith and hope in humanity and our desire to truly care for one another. Sometimes, the daily grind of justice and direct service work can make us lose sight of the many others who are in solidarity with us across the world. The UN represents the best of humankind and serves as a good reminder of what we are capable of when we come together as brothers and sisters to one another.