Sunday, February 27, 2011

Looking Back Over an Amazing Week

Admittedly, by the end of the week my brain was on overload. I spent more time with more people from more countries, nations, societies, cultures, ethnicities, and religions from around the world than any other time in my life. In a compressed amount of time I  learned an incredible amount about our global humanity, the issues we face, the violence perpetrated against women and children, of despair and cynicsm that comes from the overwhelming onslaught of despair and abuse.

Across the board - from every workshop, from every person, from every issue - I learned that regardless of what policies, resolutions, treatisies, or laws are adopted, there is no mechanism of accountability for the implementation of these.

Here is a brief overview of how I spent the week:

Saturday, Feb. 19 I arrived at LaGuardia about 2:00 in the afternoon. I took SuperShuttle to my hotel and called Kim Robey, chair of AWE  (Anglican Women's Empowerment) to get a sense of what I could do to help her throughout the week.  Check out this link to learn more about why I was in NYC, AWE and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women . Saturday evening I had dinner with one of my RevGalBlogPal friends PC.

Sunday I attended the Ecumenical Women's Orientation at the United Nations Church Center. It was fabulous.

Monday I attended the NGO (Non-Governmental Organizations) orientation (AWE is an NGO) at the Salvation Army. The keynote speaker was Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary General to the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women and former President of Chile. She is amazing!

Tuesday I  participated in the
  • ecumenical worship at the UN Church Center and then to the Episcopal Church Center to watch the opening session of the UNCSW.
  • Later that day I attended NGO workshops on "Girl's Speak" facilitated by four girls (from Finland, Wisconsin, Vermont - an immigrant from the Congo, and Hong Kong). Each girl spoke with eloquence and intelligence about the issues girls face in the world today.
  • at 3:00 I returned to the Episcopal Church Center to attend the session with Katharine Jefforts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the spiritual leader of the Episcopal Church in 16 countries, including the United States. She spent an hour talking with us and answering our questions.
  • 4:00pm I attended the NGO workshop on the documentary "Men are Human, Women are Buffalo" on issues and responses to domestic violence in Thailand.
  • At 6:00pm I attended the NGO workshop on Compassionate Non-violent Communication (a review of this workshop can be found below).
  • I faciliated a conversation at the Episcopal Church between ordained women and women discerning a call to ordination on the issue of ordination and social activism. I found myself in conversation with women from 9am until 2pm.
  • At 2:00 I attended the NGO workshop on "NGO Leadership Skills". It turned out to be a basic leadership 101 workshop including issues of NGO workers wellbeing and self care - I already know every point they raised, so I learned nothing new in this one.
  • Wednesday evening I spent writing.
  • I attended a morning workshop on the Criminal Justice System and Domestic Violence sponsored by The Haven Wolverhampton. This workshop laid out the issues of law and domestic violence in Russia and Nigeria - and the very sad reality that there are no laws. I'll write more on the tragedy of DV and the efforts of NGO's to raise awareness and pressure governments to establish laws and safety measures for women and children.
  • The secomd workshop I attended on Thursday, Women's Political Participation in Leadership, Challenging Fundamentalisms,  was led by BAOBAB and Women's Leadership Partnership WLP. The room was filled with the energy and enthusiam of women grassroots leaders in Nigeria (primarily) who are working to change the condition of women in that country by raising up women who will serve in government leadership.
  • The third workshop I attended on Thursday was titled "Nonsexist Education and Human Rights" offered by CLADEM and AWID. It was in this workshop that I learned about "Substantive Equality." You'll have to Google it yourself to learn more since my effortst to link to it aren't working.
  • Thursday night I took the NYC subway south to The Village where I met up with a friend of mine. We had a quiet dinner and talked for hours before I took the subway back north and collapsed.
  • I attended a fabulous workshop offered by sociologist's that included the former UN Under-Secretary General, Ambassador Anwarul Chadhury titled "Women, Security and a Just Peace."
  • Corporate Responsibility, the Internet, and Sex Trafficking was the next workshop I attended. Among other statistics and concerns I learned about the grassroots effort (sucessful) to force Craigslist to remove it's multi-million dollar profit "Adult" sections which were a sites for prostitution and sex trafficking.
  • Friday evening I attended a workshop with Jean Shinoda Bolen called "Ecology and Feminism: Sacred Feminine, Circles, Valuing Girls and Trees" where I learned more about the related level of violence to women that is directly linked to violence against the land.
  • The final workshop I attended was the Beijing Circles. I helped faciliate a circle discussion and learned more about this group which is now sponsored by AWE.
  • Following that workshop I took the SuperShuttle back to LaGuardia and returned home. As you can see I have a lot to proces from this truly amazing week!


Barbara B. said...

Wow, that really does sound like an amazing week! What an opportunity!

Processing Counselor said...

I agree. Sounds amazing!

Diane said...

wow! I'd be in overload, too. but, what an opportunity! praying that more come your way.

Rev SS said...

what a gift .. would love to have been there with you! Look forward to reading ways we can speak and act on to help make positive steps forward

God is IN the Darkness

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