In 1989, the humble idea of having a Franciscan voice at the UN was officially approved, giving rise to Franciscans International (FI).
In its thirty years of existence, our Franciscan NGO at the UN has always stood upon the human rights platform to advocate for the protection of the vulnerable, the forgotten and our wounded earth. The global vision of Franciscans International promotes a world which respects human dignity, shares its resources equitably, sustains the environment, and a world in which all nations and peoples live in peace. The FI approach at the UN is inspired and distinguished by our Franciscan values of humility, reconciliation, fraternity and justice.
The 30th anniversary is being celebrated in three phases: in Geneva (March 2019), in Rome/Assisi (July 2019) and in New York (November 2019).
The first part, in Geneva, was simple but had some impressive highlights. On March 15, 2019, there was a cocktail party at the office to express gratitude and congratulations. Those present included various ambassadors, UN dignitaries, diplomats, NGO personnel, as well as some Dominicans, Presentation Brothers, and Christian Brothers who have desks at the FI office. OFM Minister General Michael PERRY represented the Conference of the Franciscan Family (CFF). The International Board of Directors (IBD) was represented by Friar Joseph ROZANSKY, OFM; Friar Joseph BLAY, OFM Conv.; Friar Jim DONEGAN, OFM Cap.; and Ms. Ruth MARCUS, OFS.
In his keynote address, Friar Michael PERRY underlined our Franciscan focus on the three “Ps”: Poor, Peace and Planet. Friar Markus HEINZE, OFM, the FI Executive Director, expressed profound gratitude to its founding members, the Franciscan Ministers General, the donors and the FI staff. Friar Joseph ROZANSKY, OFM, President of the International Board of Directors (IBD), expressed the good rapport that exists between the IBD and the FI staff, while Sandra RATJEN, Assistant Executive Director, shared some of the dynamics of FI advocacy at the UN.
The Geneva celebration culminated with Mass celebrated in the church of St. Nicholas de Flüe in Geneva. It was presided over by the Most Reverend Ivan JURKOVIČ, Permanent Observer to the U.N. in Geneva for the Holy See. Friar Michael PERRY gave the homily. At the end of the Mass, he presented a plaque of St. Francis and the Sultan to the International Board of Directors on behalf of the CFF.
Friar Joseph BLAY, Delegate General for GPIC