April 08, 2014

Soup and Substance: Let's Live Lent!

The Soup and Substance Series is offered at Mercy International Centre each Wednesday in Lent under the banner of the Inter-congregational Religious on Eco-Justice in Ireland. The themes of Cosmology/Eco Justice & Human Trafficking are the two issues which MGA addresses globally.

Programme and Speaker 9 April

Using Your Investments for Social Change -Pat Zerega - Mercy Investment Services

Mercy Investment Services is a non-profit public benefit corporation. Mercy Investment Services was established to provide socially responsible investment advisory and money management services so as to enhance the financial resources of program participants.

The idea behind the program is that, by combining their assets, participants may obtain lower costs for the investment of their funds. In light of the Sisters of Mercy's concern for women and underrepresented populations, Mercy Investment Services has adopted board diversity as one of its shareholder advocacy priorities, and a way of increasing diversity.
Mercy Investment Services is one of 300 members of the Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of faith and values-driven organizations who view the management of their investments as a powerful catalyst for social change. Through the lens of faith, ICCR builds a more just and sustainable world by integrating social values into corporate and investor action, thereby promoting more sustainable and just practices.

Pat Zerega joined Mercy Investment Services as director of shareholder advocacy in 2011 and became senior director of shareholder advocacy in 2013. Pat has many years of experience in corporate social responsibility, both with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and as an independent consultant.

Pat previously served as director of the AIDS Interfaith Care Teams in Pittsburgh She is active in the Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility, as well as serving on the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance HIV Strategy Committee; Goodweave USA Board of Directors; Isaiah Funds Board of Managers and Residential Care Services Board of Directors.

Programme and Speaker: 2 April

Ireland and the Environment – Where Are We Going? (EU Environmental Law & Policy in Ireland)
Andrew Jackson - Natural Environment Officer, An Taisce

An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland, is a voluntary membership-based organisation. It is protecting and preserving Ireland’s heritage since 1948. An Taisce is the only environmental charity with a formal role in the planning process in Ireland. An Taisce also has a role in heritage conservation and in education. Its Environmental Education Unit is responsible for developing and operating some of Ireland's most popular and successful environmental programmes, among them are Green Schools, National Spring Clean Campaign and Blue Flag beaches.

Andrew Jackson is the Natural Environment Officer with An Taisce. Andrew holds a B.A. in law from Oxford University, an LL.M. from Cambridge University, and an M.Sc. in biodiversity and conservation from Trinity College Dublin. He recently defended his PhD thesis at TCD on the history of EU nature conservation policy, and the light this history sheds on contemporary land use conflicts. Andrew lectures on topics relating to environmental policy and law at TCD and UCD, and works full-time as Natural Environment Officer/in-house solicitor with An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland.


Programme and Speaker: 26 March

Protecting Children from Exploitation is the fourth session of Soup & Substance 2014 and will be presented by Tanya Ward, Chief Executive Children’s Rights Alliance

Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 100 organisations working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Children’s Rights Alliance works to secure the rights of all children in Ireland by seeking the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The Alliance advocates for the necessary changes in Ireland’s laws, policies and services and holds the Government to account for their obligations to children and young people.

The Children’s Rights Alliance advocacy work includes monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of Government policies, legislation and practices on the lives of children and preparing submissions, reports and briefing papers outlining their findings and recommendations.

Tanya Ward joined the as Chief Executive in January 2012. Between November 2003 and December 2011, Tanya served as Deputy Director at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL). Tanya also worked in a research/policy campaign for the Irish Centre for Migration Studies and the Irish Refugee Council. While working as a consultant for the Curriculum Development Unit, Tanya was part of the Department of Education’s team on its contribution to the National Action Plan Against Racism. In recent years, Tanya was elected to the Executive Board of the International Federation of Human Rights and took part in human rights missions. She has a keen interest in and extensive experience of international human rights monitoring and lectures widely on the topic.

Programme and Speaker: 19 March

Debts Door – A Global Justice Perspective on the Debt Crisis is the topic of the third session of Soup & Substance 2014, to be presented by Nessa Ní Chasaide.

Nessa Ní Chasaide is the co-ordinator of The Debt & Development Coalition Ireland (DDCI), an association of organisations and individuals who share a deep concern about debt injustice and the injustice of the global financial system.

The Coalition was established in 1993 by a number of development, faith based and solidarity groups in Ireland, who were concerned about the devastating effects debt has on Southern countries.

Over 80 organisations are now members of DDCI. The Coalition is funded through its member organisations, member individuals and donor organisations. DDCI is also an active member of Debt Justice Action which campaigns against the unjustly socialised banking debt in Ireland.

Nessa Ní Chasaide has been working in the global justice sector for over 15 years. She has worked with Trócaire in Dublin and Kenya, with Oxfam Ireland and with Dóchas. She has been the co-ordinator of Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (DDCI) since 2006, campaigning for an end to the financial exploitation of countries, in the global South and now in Europe too.

Programme and Speaker: 12 March

Catherine Brennan SSL is the chairperson of Eco-Congregation Ireland, an inter-denominational project operating under the auspices of the Church and Society Forum – a standing committee of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting.

The vision of the Eco-Congregation is to see the Churches of all denominations throughout Ireland- north and south- celebrate God’s creation, recognise the interdependence of all creation, and care for it in their life and mission and through member’s personal lifestyles. It aims, therefore, to encourage churches to re-discover the connection between the environment and Christian faith.

Sr Catherine will speak on the topic: Fostering Environmental Awareness/Action in the Community

Programme and Speakers: 5 March

Lent is a time of conversion, when we are called to repent, to change our ways and to 'be the change' (Gandhi). In this first session of Soup and Substance meetings on Wednesday, 5 March, through an abridged version of the Be the Change Programme, Roisin O'Brien & Luarena McCormick rsm will invite participants to take up the challenge in bringing about an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on this planet.. (Be the Change Programme)

The Be the Change Programme is a transformative journey that educates people on the challenges and possibilities of this moment in time and the role they can play in creating a new future.

Luarena McCormick is a Sister of Mercy, living in Inchicore in Dublin. She is a retired teacher who has a keen interest in ecology and our place in the web of life. She trained as a Be the Change facilitator in Somerset, England and has since presented the programme in many venues.

Roisin O Brien is a retired teacher living in Portumna. She has learned from her involvement with the Be The Change Programme that everything is connected. She loves to share and discuss what was for her an epiphany moment when she first experienced Be The Change.

  Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm - Assistant Director Mercy Global Action

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