I was fortunate enough to a/end the ERI Training in Human Rights and International Advocacy in Geneva, Switzerland this past May. Edmund Rice International (ERI) is an NGO with consulta7ve status at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and the UN headquarters in New York. It is committed to advocacy on behalf of children and young people who are marginalized because of poverty, legal status, environmental degradation or conÃ¯Â¬â€šict. Our facilitators were Br. Brian Bond, CFC, Br. Tino D’Abreu, CFC, Br. Kevin Mullan, CFC and Br. Bernard Gazire FPM with a special presentation from Br. Kevin Cawley, CFC from the New York ERI oÃ¯Â¬Æ’ce. Other than myself, participants from various countries such as India, Kenya, Australia, Nigeria, Ghana and the Philippines were present.
The two-week program was an intense training that gave us insight into the workings, departments, issues, partnerships, terms and recourses of the United Nations. Along with teaching sessions, activities, meetings with other NGO’s, group discussions and presentations from the International Labor Organization and Ireland’s Permanent Missions, we were able to a/end a Universal Periodic Review for the counties of CÃƒÂ´te d’lvoire and Albania at the United Nations.
This program has made me more aware of the capacity and functions of the United Nations in Geneva, particularly its crucial role on working for peace, human rights, the well-being of all and promoting sustainable development through the adopted Sustainable Development Goals and their conjunction with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There is always more to learn, but I feel be/er equipped to inform the students and adults that I interact with of the importance of knowing how the UN and its broader array of mechanisms operate. Perhaps most importantly, I am excited for the possibilities that each of us have to engage with advocacy at local and international levels. As an Edmund Rice Community we all have the responsibility to advocate for the voiceless in our schools, our communities, our nation and our world.
I am humbled and honored to have been able to participate in this training. I thank all those who supported and encouraged me to have this opportunity.