This summer, the Loretto Community was able to continue our wonderful relationship with the Temple of Understanding NGO at the United Nations. The Temple of Understanding is a inter-religious organization founded by Juliet Hollister in 1960. This organization educates youths about promoting peace and justice, advocating for tolerance and respect amongst different religions, and working towards global citizenship and peaceful coexistence. This summer, the Temple of Understanding program at the UN hosted eighteen interns, who spent their summer learning about the United Nations as well as focusing on a project that they are passionate about, including subjects such as healthcare, environmental protection, poverty, and international conflict, to name a few. The Loretto Community here at the UN was asked to present about our work at the UN as well as within our general community to the summer interns in order to give them a broader understanding of some of the work that religious communities do at the United Nations. The Loretto Community was also asked to attend the presentations of the Temple of Understanding interns at the end of the summer, where we listened to the topics that they had chosen to focus on.
In addition to these presentations and personal meetings, both the Temple of Understanding program and the Loretto Community had the opportunity to attend the United Nations High-Level Political Forum, where we heard from representatives from around the world about the progress that so many countries have made in regards to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly this year’s theme, which was Sustainable Development. The Temple of Understanding kindly extended an invitation to the Loretto Community to sit in on one of their own meetings about nuclear disarmament in the context of international conflict, where we heard from experts in the field who are working tirelessly to make the world a safer and more peaceful place. We are so thankful for our relationship with the Temple of Understanding group at the UN, and we look forward to future events and meetings with them!