4th Annual Interfaith Remembrance Service Honors Foremothers Alongside UN Commission on the Status of Women

March 23, 2018

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is an international conference held at UN Headquarters. Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attend the session. Women from all over the world gather around the UN to attend and participate in many events, panels and programs, as well as engage in networking and collaborating opportunities with each other.

Grove Harris, (far left), one of the program planners (Temple of Understanding), Sakena Yacoobi, Joni Carly (URI), Monica Willard (URI), Denise Scotto and Betty Lyons, and women gathered for the 4th Annual Interfaith Service of Remambrance held annually in conjunction with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

The 4th Annual CSW Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Gratitude was held Tillman Chapel, 777 United Nations Plaza, on Friday, March 16, 2018. The Women’s Task Force of the Parliament of World Religions was a co-sponsor of the event which honored women who dedicated their lives to the principles and work of the UN, and for whom expressions of remembrance and gratitude were shared.

Trustee Kusumita Pedersen shared her reflection of Eleanor Roosevelt, who was instrumental in supporting the UN and oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which celebrates its 70th Anniversary.

Sakena Yacoobi, a Parliament keynote speaker, offered a moving reflection on the women in Afghanistan, who lost their lives to violence, and have had it radically altered by violence.

Trustee Elizabeth Ursic, Chair of the Parliament’s Women’s Task Force, shared about the upcoming Toronto Parliament and the prominent position which women and women’s issues will have in the Toronto conference.

Trustee Audrey Kitagawa was on the planning committee for this service, and program emcee. She also gave the closing remarks.

Trustees Andras Corban-Arthen, Chris Peters, and Bruce Knotts attended the service.

Moving remarks were offered by women in prominent positions of sister organizations. Reverend Dionne Boissiere, Chaplain of the Church Center for the United Nations gave the welcome and opening remarks. Monica Willard (URI UN Representative), spoke about the Book of Remembrance which encapsulates the women who have been honored in the past interfaith services of remembrance and gratitude.
Betty Lyons of the Onondaga Nation spoke about Indigenous women who supported the creation of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Carl Murrell spoke about Bernice Cosey Pulley, a well known figure around the UN, who was was active in the YWCA, and within the UN affiliated NGO community. Denise Scotto shared her reflections on the prominent women who worked within various UN agencies and departments who passed, as well as the unexpected passing last year of the former Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.

Land Acknowledgment

The Parliament of the World's Religions acknowledges it is situated on the traditional homelands of the Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi), Hoocąk (Winnebago/Ho’Chunk), Jiwere (Otoe), Nutachi (Missouria), and Baxoje (Iowas); Kiash Matchitiwuk (Menominee); Meshkwahkîha (Meskwaki); Asâkîwaki (Sauk); Myaamiaki (Miami), Waayaahtanwaki (Wea), and Peeyankihšiaki (Piankashaw); Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo); Inoka (Illini Confederacy); Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), and Odawak (Odawa).

PoWR recognizes the region we now call Chicago remains home to a diversity of Indigenous peoples today and this land upon which we walk, live, and play continues to be Indigenous land.

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