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Global Ministries at the United Nations

The United Nations: “A Voice for All of Us”
Reflection by Nicki Amouri, Global Ministries intern at the UN and student at Union Theological Seminary in NY

October 24 is United Nations Day
Much of the United Nations' achievements in the last 62 years have reflected the core values of the world's religions. As people of faith, we must advocate for responsible United States policies toward the UN. To start, we all deserve to know much more about the United Nations! UN Day is an opportunity to organize educational and advocacy events about the UN.

 “The work of faith groups is extremely powerful.  Their continued support at the UN will mean more of a voice for all of us regarding issues surrounding poverty, women, peace and security, environmental sustainability, and the protection of human rights around the world.”
Nicki Amouri, Global Ministries intern at the UN (2012-2013) and student at Union Theological Seminary in NY
Why is Global Ministries present at the United Nations?
Global Ministries has a critical presence at the United Nations. Why? Religious groups are important for an active and concerned civil society.  Wider Church Ministries has long been accredited as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with the United Nations.  This status gives WCM- and by extension DOM and Global Ministries- the opportunity to address the United Nations on matters of international concern like global civil society, human rights, conflict resolution, and economic and development issues. As a participant in the religious community present at the UN your representatives participate in coordinated activities of the NGO community in relation to a variety of UN programs and conferences.

History at the United Nations
Our churches early on sought international peace and in 1945 called for the United Nations. They joined the Federal Council of Churches study "Six Pillars of Peace" which strongly influenced the UN Charter. Church policy statements have long supported the UN as it has sought to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war... to promote social progress and better standards of life" for all God's people.

First represented at the UN through the UCC Office for Church in Society and the Board for World Ministries, our churches are present today through the work of Justice and Witness Ministries and Wider Church/ Global Ministries as accredited members of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) community at the United Nations.

Who represents Global Ministries at the UN?
Although Global Ministries does not presently have a permanent office in New York, we maintain a presence at the United Nations. Derek Duncan, Program Associate for Global Advocacy and Education, is currently named the main representative at the UN. Rev. Margaret Blamberg is a long-term volunteer missionary commissioned as Minister for Global Witness at the UN.  In addition students from Union Theological Seminary can work as interns as part of their field placement program. By connecting relevant staff and programs with UN information and activities, and in partnership with several long-time New York-area volunteers, Global Ministries' interests are represented at various UN and NGO forums.

Students Interns from Union Theological Seminary
Global Ministries has developed an important program in partnership with Union Theological Seminary. Through its Field Education program up to two students may serve in year-long United Nations internships. The internship program accomplishes several goals: it provides the students, typically one a UCC and the other a Disciples member, the opportunity to engage in UN and NGO activities as a part of their theological education and preparation for ministry, it augments our presence at and connection to UN-related activities, and it advances our understanding of the work that religious NGOs' undertake in addressing the selected subjects of global policy that the students are following.

Collaboration with the Riverside Church in NY
Global Ministries and UCC Justice and Witness Ministries staff and volunteers relating to the UN meet periodically with Riverside Church staff and lay members of its Social Justice Commission who also engage in various UN NGO activities.  In 2005 they co-sponsored an event at the Riverside Church on "The Church and the UN: Partners Against Poverty."

Millennium Development Goals
Promoting and advancing the UN  Millennium Development Goals are a priority for our work in interpreting how the UN and the church work together.  Advancing MDGs such as greater water-related rights and development is an important component of the church's work with the ecumenical community at the UN. Global Ministries  Water for All! Campaign in 2005-2006 arose from this effort.  2005-1015 is the UN Decade on Water for Life.

Dates to Observe

September 21          International Day of Prayer for Peace  (An initiative of the World Council of Churches coinciding with the UN International Day of Peace)
"For peace, justice, and the welfare of all nations and peoples."

October 24                United Nations Day
"For the United Nations as a major resource for the settlement of disputes, for peaceful change, and for economic and social developments."

December 10           Human Rights Day 
"For a full implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights"

                        (Quotations from Minutes of the 1959 General Synod of the UCC)

Contacts at the UN

Derek Duncan
Associate for Global Advocacy and Education
Main NGO representative for Global Ministries
700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 736-3220

Websites For More Information

  Global Ministries
  United Church of Christ
  Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  UCC Justice website
  United Nations Millennium Development Goals
  The One Campaign

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