On November, 7-10, 2019, the International Board of Directors of Franciscans International (FI) met in New York, USA, for the third stage of the celebration of the 30th anniversary FI’s recognition as a “non-governmental organization” (NGO) accredited with the United Nations (UN).
The meeting provided an opportunity to evaluate the progress of FI. Such an evaluation is normally made during the annual meeting in New York.
Early on the morning of November 7, six representatives of the Franciscan families; a representative from the Anglican Franciscan fraternity; the president of the FI International Board of Directors; the FI Executive Director; the FI Representative in New York; and the FI Director of Communications, met in the office of the UN Secretary-General, His Excellency António Manuel DE OLIVEIRA GUTERRES. During the twenty-minute audience, the Secretary General discussed his own personal relationship with the Franciscan friars, which began in his youth. Speaking about the UN’s main work for world peace, His Excellency acknowledged the achievements of both faith-based and civil associations. He noted that the UN continues to rely on such cooperation and is grateful for it.
The President of the FI International Council, Friar Joe ROZANSKY, OFM, spoke about three goals the NGO has achieved in the last four years. Among the projects it has carried out, he mentioned “saving witch children in Benin”, “the handbook on poverty and human rights” and “connecting the dots”. Regarding the work done in Benin, UNICEF has accepted FI’s results as an excellent model that should be adopted by the United Nations in order to defend and promote human rights.
In the afternoon, the Board began the first session of its meeting. It determined scheduling and issues to be studied.
On Friday November 8, friars and nuns from various Franciscan families gathered in St. Francis Hall to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary. The guest of honor was Her Excellency Helena del Carmen YÁNEZ LOZA, representing the UN Ambassador to Ecuador. In her report, she praised the Franciscan charism especially in the context of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.
After the celebration, the Board moved to the OFM Provincial House of the Province of the Holy Name of Jesus to continue their work.
Friar Joseph BLAY, Delegate General for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation