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UTS and the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women

New York –International Women’s Day was on 8 March, with the theme: Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.

“Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.” UN Secretary-General, António Guterres.

Then came the sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12 to 23 March 2018. Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attended the session. The main theme: Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.

Members of the UTS community including staff, faculty, alumnae and alumni were active, attending the CSW62 events, the side events (activities organized outside the formal program of the session of the Commission) and the parallel events surrounding CSW62 (organized by NGO CSW62 Forum taking place outside United Nations premises). Many of the parallel events took place in the 4W43 building.

Rev. Emiljun Rapada (UTS’17) president of the Filipino International Community in America (FICA), hosted and was emcee of a three-hour forum in the UTS library at 4W43 in Manhattan. 

The forum featured women leaders from the Philippines. One speaker, the president of the Women’s Federation for World Peace-Philippines, Merly Barlaan, said  “The real work is on the ground and not in the halls of the UN,” and further, “Development actually begins with consciousness change. Women needed to break the old thoughts of inferiority or fear. If we do that, our creativity just comes out and we can do much. There is actually so much to do at the village level. Women as mothers should be able to embrace our roles and responsibilities which are enormous.”

Dr. Frank Kaufmann (UTS’79), who is currently teaching a class at UTS entitled Peace building and the UN, commended the work of the Filipino women leaders.“Our aspirations would be the equality of everyone before God,” said Kaufmann. “Every woman is an expression of God, then we liberate the whole world and bring dignity to the world.”

Alumnae, Roshan D’Souza (UTS’04) and Jeanne Carroll (UTS’87) working with Women’s Federation for World Peace International (WFWPI) volunteered to support multiple CSW62 events, organize side events, and also to provide hospitality for many of WFWPI’s international attendees.

  • March 14, Japan Society, NYC CSW62 Side Event – “Fostering Hope for Rural Women and Girls Through Integration and Education: Challenges and Impact.” Sponsored by the WFWPI
  • March 16, 2018  UN Church Center, 2nd. Floor, 777 UN Plaza NY.Parallel event – “Engaging the Rural Family: The Vital Role of Education.” Sponsored by the WFWPI and co-sponsored by The Guild of Service.
  • March 17-18, 2018 – Horizon Summit: “Rising Side By Side.” Global Women’s Peace Award Presentation. 4W43. New York. Sponsored by WFWPI and WFWP-USA.
  • March 18, 2018 – 6.00 p.m.- 9.00 p.m. – WFWPI CSW62 Closing banquet 4W43, NewYork

UTS alumnus and UTS Trustee, Dr. Thomas Ward (UTS’81) was a featured guest speaker at the parallel event – “Engaging the Rural Family: The Vital Role of Education.”

UTS Director of Recruitment, Mrs. Joy Theriot was on the overall planning committee for NGO CSW and Chair of the NGO CSW Forum Rally held on Friday March 16 at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.

For many of the events that Joy was involved with, she was ably assisted by UTS student volunteer Famidah Dirampaten.

Others from the UTS community included Tamara Starr-Perry, currently taking courses through UTS Online. She said of her experience at CSW62, “This is my third year attending and am blown away every time! It’s amazing to see women from around the world who not only want to see change, but are actively working hard within their own communities to make an impact. I was so inspired that I’m already starting to invite women to attend next year’s event!”

Also Rita and Tom Baldwin (UTS’86) who remarked: “Thank you for the effort that was invested in the Horizon Summit. Ambassador Chowdhury was an excellent choice for the Global Women’s Peace Award. The panel members on Peace Leadership challenged us with proven strategies. The capacity building sessions covered a wide range of topics and proven methods for peace leadership. The introductory video gave a catching overview of the vision of WFWP. The interns gave a good introduction to encourage young people to volunteer.”