ICMICA Newsletter No 7 September 2008
Welcome to our seventh European Newsletter, which is largely based on news from the International Congress and 30th Plenary Assembly in Nairobi. Comments and contributions, particularly from federations and secretariats, are most welcome to email@example.com
The European Liaison Committee met in Nairobi before the Assembly and the following elections were confirmed by the Assembly: Vice President - Philippe Ledouble (France); ELC members - Austria, Catalonia, Italy, Hungary, Newman Association (UK), and KIK (Poland) and the Women's Vision Group. As our current Chaplain, Fr Luis Maria, will now be the International Chaplain, the ELC will require a new European Chaplain. The next ELC meeting will be from 28th -30th November.
The following is a brief summary of the European report to the Plenary Assembly.
There are 26 federations in Europe of which 15 are subscribing members and work
has been done to extend representation to other countries. Apart from the numerous
local and national events in the various federations ELC meetings have been
held as follows:-
2004 Frankfurt - where it was hoped to meet up with the German federations; 2005 Bilbao where the meeting was held alongside a symposium on Jacques Maritain; 2006 Prague where the first meeting of the European women's group took place, Marseille again alongside the MCC conference and Venice where a major conference was held in conjunction with MEIC on the expansion of the European Union with particular reference to Turkey. 2007: Brussels where meetings were held with the Nuncio to the EU and the General Secretary of COMECE; Rome where the ELC met during the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of ICMICA; Athens which gave a very different perspective on ecumenical relations. 2008: Celje (Slovenia) where the Women's Vision group organised a symposium on gender equality.
Also a European newsletter was introduced, the Women's Vision group formed and Council of Europe representation strengthened. The European Co-ordinator had also visited federations in Eastern Europe, attended conferences in various parts of Europe and had produced a discussion paper on "From Venice to Athens" based on ELC meetings and other major conferences in Europe.
The Newman Association will mark the Year of St Paul with our ninth Newman Pilgrimage Paul and Barnabas in Cyprus in April/May 2009. - Besides, it is expected that Pope Benedict will soon announce the beatification of our patron, Cardinal John Henry Newman.
During the Nairobi Assembly it was agreed that the current Women's Vision group from Europe, co-ordinated by Annemarie Weinzettl from Vienna, will become the International Secretariat on Gender Issues.
The Secretariat for Scientific Questions is open to all concerned with the relations between science and the Catholic faith. Further information available from Dr Peter Hodgson firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Secretariat for Catholic Engineers, Agronomists and Industry Officials holds meetings every two to three years.
The European Federation of Christian Teachers (SIESC) held their 54th Conference in Agrigento, Sicily in July with 100 participants from 16 European countries. The theme of the conference was on spirituality and intercultural understanding in education. The history of Sicily, connecting peoples and religions, provided examples of the intercultural and inter-religious dialogue necessary today. A dialogue between a Buddhist woman, a Muslim imam, a Catholic priest and a Jewish woman emphasised the value of different cultures living together. Starting from the myths of Sicily, Domenico Amoroso raised the Myth of Europe today. Don Carlo Nanni spoke on Christian spirituality and education in a multicultural environment. During the subsequent visits, delegates saw many examples of the adoption of artistic achievements by the different invaders of Sicily over the centuries.
Pax Romana has been represented at the UN in New York by a regular series of interns from St Thomas University School of Law, Miami. The project, which is overseen by Professor Mark Wolff, the main representative to the UN, has grown since its inception in 2005 and now comprises five full time interns per semester. All the interns are attached to permanent missions to the UN such as South Africa, USA and the Holy See and also work on individual projects related to the aims of Pax Romana. Further information from email@example.com
Pax Romana has worked closely with other NGOs in Geneva in the new Human Rights Council established in 2006 and with its predecessor the Commission on Human Rights. Another aspect of the work in Geneva is the membership, with IMCS, of the Youth Consultative Group of the International Labour Organisation. Pax Romana has also been invited to preparatory sessions for ECOSOC activities in Bangkok and New York. In connection with the reform of the UN, Pax Romana was selected as a representative of Civil Society and also became vice president of CONGO. (The internship programme at the UN in Geneva is mentioned below).
Elizabeth Pomberger has been the Pax Romana representative at the UN in Vienna since 1985. The main thrust of her work is in connection with the crime prevention and criminal justice activities based at the UN in Vienna. As with the teams at the UN in New York and Geneva, the detailed list of work done by Elizabeth in Vienna is far too long to mention in this limited space.
Pax Romana's representation at UNESCO is a joint activity with IMCS. Again the list of activities is far too long to summarise but mention should be made of the funding obtained for a Pax Romana session in Nairobi in 2007 on cultural diversity and peace. Also the important work with other NGOs and UNESCO on Intercultural Dialogue for Peace and Youth should be mentioned. Further information from firstname.lastname@example.org
Pax Romana's delegation to the Council of Europe has changed and it is hoped to involve members of different federations to work on the main themes of the Conference of INGOs at the Council of Europe. - The next meeting of the ELC will be at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in November.
The 30th Pax Romana Statutory Assembly was held in the Catholic University
of Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya in July 2008. After a lively opening Mass,
the Assembly was preceded by an international congress on "Global Governance,
Global Justice: Africa as a symbol and as a reality" Over 300 delegates
were welcomed by the Cardinal and other local and international dignitaries
before the formal opening by the Speaker of the Kenyan National Assembly. The
keynote lecture was given by Professor Wangari Mathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace
Laureate. She gave a lively talk brimming with her own enthusiasm for environmental
issues especially the Green Belt Movement where women's groups were involved
in planting trees across Africa to conserve the environment and improve their
quality of life. For details of the remaining congress sessions see the Pax
Heavy rain interrupted the planned exposure programme but this provided an opportunity for regional and International Council meetings before the Statutory Assembly. Several Assembly items appear elsewhere in this newsletter but mention must be made of the impressive reports of the work of Pax Romana in different continents and particularly the work of Pax Romana representatives at the UN and other agencies (q.v). The other important issue was the precarious financial situation and the urgent need for all federations to pay any outstanding subscriptions.
On a personal note, some of us were able to visit East Soweto in Kibera, a shanty town in the middle of Nairobi. Here we saw some of the wonderful work of the local youth group which has been supported financially by the Kenyan federation.
The new international team comprises;
President Javier Iguiniz (Peru)
Secretary General Lawrencia Kyung (Korea)
International Chaplain Fr Luis Maria Goikoetxea (Basque Country.)
The new Pax Romana office in Geneva is at 3 rue de Varembe, 4th Floor, 1302 Geneva - CP 161 Geneva 20.
The Pax Romana-ICMICA annual Human Rights Internship Program took place in Geneva in June. Another Session of the programme will be held from 5th-30th September 2008.
With all best wishes
Kevin Lambert (on behalf of ELC)