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Religious Women to Hold First Advocacy Forum
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The inaugural UISG Advocacy Forum is set to make history on October 23-24, 2023, in Rome. Under the theme "Religious Women: Leadership and Development," this groundbreaking event will bring together Catholic women religious from across the globe for a transformative dialogue with representatives from various sectors, including governments, intergovernmental agencies, Vatican institutions, faith groups, civil society, private sector organizations, academia, and the media.
Photo credit: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen
The International Union of Superiors General (UISG) is at the helm of this initiative, aiming to harness the collective power of religious women to address pressing global challenges. As part of the broader synodal process of the Catholic Church, the Forum seeks to outline a collaborative action plan for advocacy that can drive systemic change and confront key issues for the sustainable development of societies and our planet.
The Forum will tackle a range of vital topics that influence the harmonious development of societies and the planet. These include climate change and biodiversity loss, poverty alleviation, unemployment reduction, social inequality, forced migration, human trafficking, health crises, and the protection of human rights.
Sister Patricia Murray, Executive Secretary at UISG, emphasizes the crucial role Catholic sisters play in addressing the world's most pressing humanitarian and development challenges. "Catholic sisters are on the frontlines of the worldâ€ s most urgent humanitarian and development challenges," Sister Patricia states. "Through centuries of supporting marginalized and vulnerable communities, accompanying their suffering, and sharing in their struggles for empowerment and justice, sisters have developed an exceptional model of community engagement, making their grassroots networks a key piece of the international development puzzle."
UISG believes that these networks must be linked with global decision-makers to unlock their potential and promote genuinely sustainable, systemic change. This visionary approach underpins the foundation of the first-ever UISG Advocacy Forum.
UISG, serving as the umbrella organization for leaders of Catholic women's congregations, represents an impressive 1,903 member groups with headquarters in 97 countries, collectively embodying over 600,000 Catholic sisters worldwide. This event, conducted in collaboration with the Global Solidarity Fund, will take place at the Jesuit Curia in Rome.
This Forum culminates a process that began over three years ago in July 2020, when UISG launched the "Sisters Advocating Globally" initiative in partnership with the Global Solidarity Fund. The primary goals of this initiative are to establish a network of dedicated Sisters committed to social and environmental advocacy, promote communication and collaboration with partners, and create spaces for reflective discussions on key themes in international development.
The UISG Advocacy Forum 2023 is not just a gathering; it's a catalyst for change, bringing together the passion and dedication of Catholic sisters and their allies from around the world to drive progress toward a more sustainable and just future for all. Through this historic event, religious women are poised to continue leading the way in creating a better world for generations to come.