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Presbyterian Ministry at the UN celebrates United Nations Day


Oct. 24 commemorates 73rd anniversary of U.N. charter

 By Sue Rheem | Special to the Presbyterian News Service

PMUN staffers Sue Rheem, Ryan D. Smith, and Carson Smith Christine Mangale

LOUISVILLE – United Nations Day 2018 marks the 73rd anniversary of the U.N. charter that has been the foundation of the U.N.’s work since 1945. Originally created to promote world peace in the aftermath of World War II, the U.N.’s role has since grown to encompass protecting human rights, promoting social and economic development, and providing aid and comfort to countries and people around the world afflicted by famine, disaster and war. Oct. 24 has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948.

A number of events are scheduled at the U.N. headquarters in New York, including a reading of the charter, a flag-raising ceremony and a concert in the evening. The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations (PMUN) will commemorate the day along with the entire U.N. community.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a long history with the United Nations. “Presbyterians can celebrate the church’s own history in the creation of the U.N.,” said Ryan D. Smith, PMUN director. “We were at the drafting table for the charter itself and have continued and maintained our relationship with the U.N. from 1945 until today and we will do so in the future. For Presbyterians, it’s a reminder of where we’ve been and where we are going as a church.”

The PC(USA) has held special consultative status through the Economic and Social Council since 1998. This allows the Presbyterian voice to be heard on a worldwide stage, take part in advocacy work important to the church, attend conferences and network within a global organization.

This summer, PMUN produced a new Educational Resource Guide that highlights what the PC(USA) and its global church partners are doing to address the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. Presbyterian churches now have a new tool to energize and educate congregations around global issues such as poverty alleviation and climate change.

Hosting Presbyterian delegates next March at the U.N.

In March, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will be held at U.N. headquarters. PMUN will play an active role in hosting Presbyterian delegates.

“The Commission on the Status of Women is the place where governments from around the world talk about women’s rights and talk about it together. It’s the place where the global community asks what needs to be done to make women’s and girls’ lives better around the world,” said Smith. “This is an opportunity for Presbyterians to come and speak about their experiences and their truth to the global system. Other organizations, such as nonprofits, don’t really have the on-the-ground connections that the Presbyterian church does.”

In prior sessions, the CSW has focused on women’s and girls’ access to education and full employment, the empowerment of rural women and their role in eradicating poverty and hunger, and violence against women and girls. This year’s theme is “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.”

The deadline to register as a commission delegate is Nov. 1.

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