Wednesday, April 14, 2010

SMU staff, students to attend Lasallian Convocation at the U.N.

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University students and a staff member will attend the Lasallian Convocation on the Rights of the Child April 25-27 at the United Nations in New York City.

Tim Gossen, dean of students, and students Shannon Nelson and Danielle Strebel will join with other representatives of Lasallian schools and colleges in the United States and Toronto, Canada, in their call for universal ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, which administers about 1,000 Lasallian educational ministries throughout the world, has advocated for the human rights and guiding principles enshrined in the 1989 CRC treaty, which provides legal and moral standards for the rights of children. The Convention emphasizes the rights of children to survival; to develop to their full potential; to protection from abuse, neglect, discrimination, and exploitation; and to participate in family, cultural, and social life. This complements the Institute’s mission of providing human and Christian education to the young, especially those who are poor and marginalized.

The Convention was largely negotiated during the Reagan administration. During the 10 years of negotiations, the U.S. influenced nearly every substantive provision and proposed more articles on freedom of speech, association, assembly, and privacy than all other governments combined. Today, the United States and Somalia remain the only UN member-states who have not ratified the treaty.

The Lasallian Convocation at the UN is part of a global effort to promote a culture of action on behalf of the rights of children within the Lasallian world. The three-day event is packed with activities and presentations that are designed to inform, educate and inspire the way Lasallians think, judge, decide, and act as individuals within the community. The Catholic Church’s Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN has endorsed this gathering and will deliver an address to the assembly.

The Lasallian Convocation at the United Nations on the Rights of the Child is facilitated by the U.S.-Toronto Region of the Brothers of the Christian Schools in partnership with the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Inc., formally associated with the UN Department of Public Information and an NGO in operational relations with UNESCO.