June 01, 2009

Sister Diedre Mullan, RSM, addresses U.N. participants.

WMW Collegians Participate in U.N. Conference

Students from two Mercy-sponsored institutions of higher education in the West Midwest Community recently participated in a "Mercy Meets the United Nations" conference held at the U.N. May 19-21. Six students from Saint Xavier University, Chicago, and three students from College of Saint Mary, Omaha, joined their counterparts from five other Mercy-sponsored colleges and universities for an intense immersion into global affairs with emphasis on the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, the Sisters of Mercy's Critical Concerns, and Catholic social teaching.

Students and their accompanying faculty and staff members visited the U.N.'s building, sat in on sessions of the Indigenous Peoples Conference while in session, heard speakers on such topics as trafficking, sustainability, and global spirituality, and enjoyed some free time to explore New York City. Keynote speaker Sister Deirdre Mullan, RSM, director of Mercy Global Concern, the Sister of Mercy Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) at the U.N., focused her presentation on the connections between historical Mercy values and contemporary global issues. Small groups of the conference participants also met with diplomats in the U.N. delegations from Kenya, Belize, Guyana, and the United States - all nations with a significant Sisters of Mercy presence.

"Mercy Meets the United Nations" was sponsored by the Conference for Mercy Higher Education (CMHE), the entity which now exercises sponsorship responsibilities for Mercy colleges and universities in the U.S. Dr. Moya Dittmeier, director of CMHE, collaborated with the Partnership for Global Justice to arrange the program and secure access to the U.N.

Overall there were about 35 student participants; six staff members; and four faculty members who took part in the conference. In addition to their students, SXU had one faculty member and one staff person participate (including Sister Joy Clough, SXU's Office for University Mission and Heritage). Other institutions represented were: Carlow University (Pittsburgh), Georgian Court University (NJ), Gwynedd-Mercy College (PA), Misericordia University (Dallas, PA), St. Joseph College (CT), and St. Joseph's College (ME). Mission directors and student affairs personnel at the various colleges/universities were among the key planners of the conference.

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