Augustinians at the United Nations
The Augustinian Order has become an accredited Non-Governmental Organization (N.G.O.) at the United Nations.
The Augustinian presence at the U.N. is an instrument for implementing values of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the international forum. The Order's mission at the U.N. is to make ever more fruitful the common life witness it bears and the pastoral works promoting education and literacy, economic and social developoment, and human rights, in accord with traditional Catholic social teaching.
Jesús Guzmán, O.S.A., the first full-time Augustinian Representative at the U.N., supported by Midwest Augustinian John Paul Szura, O.S.A., with more than 20 years of U.N. experience, established a strong presence at the global organization's world headquarters. Since 2006, the U.N. team in New York has also included Jack Deegan, O.S.A. and Hilary Tagliaferro, O.S.A. Emeka Obiezu, O.S.A. became head of the Augustinian N.G.O. team in 2010.
The Augustinian N.G.O. seeks to encourage awareness and prepare Augustinians for their mission of educating and promoting human rights and a Culture of Peace, and to familiarize the laity with the declarations, projects and activities of the U.N., particularly in the fields of education, human rights and the eradication of hunger.
Similar to many other Catholic religious and lay groups, the Order of St. Augustine has taken on an association as a Non-Governmental Organization (N.G.O.) with the United Nations. This relationship grants our Order a special official presence a the U.N.
The Holy See maintains Permanent Observer status at the U.N. in order to speak out on issues involving human rights, justice, religious freedom, peace and development, and attempts to promote respectfully and without fear, Gospel principles as found in the social teaching of the Catholic Church.
As experience has shown, many global policies are formulated in the public forum that the U.N. provides.
The result of some of those policies greatly influences the need for much of the charitable work that the Order is involved in throughout the world.
Wisdom dictates that the Augustinians must become more aware of global realities, and more involved in the formulation of global policies, to foster structural change--a matter of justice--and thereby substantially reduce the need for exercising charity.
As Augustine said in his commentary on the First Letter of John, You give bread to a hungry person; but it would be better were no one hungry, and you could give it to no one. You clothe a naked person. Would that all were clothed and this necessity did not exist! (8,8)
Augustinians have two main goals in doing this:
To bear witness at the U.N.--and thus to the world--to the Christian values that St. Augustine held dear
To enrich the members of the Order with greater global awareness, providing international, worldwide perspectives so necessary today for Church and Order renewal and for effective ministry in the modern world.
The Augustinian Order's U.N. Team works to promote these goals. This international team currently includes
Emeka Obiezu, O.S.A. (Nigeria)
Jack Deegan, O.S.A. (United States)
Jesús Guzmán, O.S.A. (Mexico)
Hilary Tagliferro, O.S.A. (Malta)
We hope Augustinian ministries throughout the world will stand committed to the wider understanding of human rights promoted by the U.N. and by the Catholic Church--an understanding that embraces the right to life, to food, to water, to health care, to shelter, to security in old age or retirement, to information, to participation in government.
Yes, through our Order's U.N. presence, we Augustinians hope to work with many other Catholic organizations at the U.N., religious and lay, to encourage within the Church a truly global view of our human family.
In turn, we can then help enliven the world through our prayer and ministries, empowered by Jesus and inspired by the thinking of St. Augustine.
Order Promotes UN Culture of Peace
The 2002 General Chapter of the Order of St. Augustine decided that the Augustinian presence at the United Nations (U.N.) will focus special attention on the movement referred to as the Culture of Peace.
Culture of Peace is a movement developed in a series of documents sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (U.N.E.S.C.O.).
The Program of Action for the Culture of Peace was adopted in 1999. The years 2001 - 2010 have been proclaimed theInternational Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.
Jack Deegan, O.S.A. and Hilary Tagliaferro, O.S.A., the Augustinian team at the U.N., and Midwest Augustinian John Paul Szura, O.S.A. are promoting the Associated School Project, an educational program for elementary and secondary schools that will focus on the creation of the culture of peace.
Culture of Peace is a movement based on six attitudes and values or keys that are meant to give rise to a world of respect, peace and justice. The keys are
Respect for every human being's life and dignity
Rejection of violence in all its forms (physical, social, sexual, economic, psychological), especially that violence which affects the vulnerable, such as children
Sharing of resources to put an end to exclusion
The defense of one's freedom to express one's views, opting to engage in dialogue as opposed to rejection
Responsible consumerism that will foster respect for life and the balance of nature.
Help to develop one's local community and give special attention to the promotion of democratic principles and the inclusion of women to create solidarity.
These values parallel basic Christian moral tenets, and are given concrete expression in traditional Catholic social teaching. It is hoped that, by the adoption and implementation of these principles on a broad basis, a Culture of Peace can be promoted.
Culture of Peace considers education as the means to achieve its goal. It asserts that the first step to getting the people to adopt the key principles is to help them to be aware of problems, not just in their communities but also in the world at large.
Along with the educational programs, the U.N. team will encourage teachers in Augustinian educational institutions to incorporate culture of peace education into lesson plans on a regular basis. They will also make an effort to keep Augustinian parishes and communities informed of global events that affect the creation of the culture of peace.
Learn How Your School Can Be Part of ASP - Culture of Peace
We especially recommend that schools consider association with the Culture of Peace Program through participation in the Associated School Project Network. Specific information regarding associating an academic institution with the Culture of Peace movement may be obtained from
Rev. John Paul Szura, O.S.A. Request information by E-mail