13 November 2007


Edmund Rice International announced its presence in Geneva by successfully staging a symposium entitled "Losing the Head, Finding the Heart", which was attended by Edmund Rice inspired educators responsible for tertiary education in Europe, North America, India, Papua New Guinea, and Australia .

The theme of the symposium was prompted by a recognition that too often those involved in the work of social justice and human rights remain at the head level, preoccupied with ideas, analysis and the search for solutions. Without denying the importance of this approach, it was also seen to be important to engage the heart especially if it is hoped to mobilise more people in the struggle for dignity and justice for all members of the human family.

Over five days, the participants listened to presentations by guest speakers, engaged in open-forum conversations, and made action plans to better promote the Edmund Rice vision of education as a catalyst for social justice and human rights.

The main outcomes of the symposium were the drafting of a Statement expressing the participants’ support for Edmund Rice International and the establishment of a process leading to the formation of a Working Group to provide guidance and assistance to Edmund Rice International in developing a relevant and effective advocacy focus especially around the right to education one of the fundamental rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Chairman Professor Muredach Dynan and one of the speakers Irish diplomat Dr Noel Dorr, at the symposium

12 November 2007


Unfortunately once again Australia is witnessing an election campaign in which the major parties seem more interested in appealing to voters’ greed and self-interest rather than providing a vision for the nation that encompasses the common good of both all those who live in Australia and those who share our planet.

Perhaps that reflects the kind of society Australia has become?

Fortunately some voices continue to be raised that remind voters of issues of the common good that deserve consideration when deciding how to cast a vote.

The Queensland based Social Action Office has prepared a briefing entitled Refresh Australia which focuses on climate change policy, indigenous Australia, and industrial relations policies in particular, the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council website has a useful leaflet entitled "A Vote for Social Justice" available for download and Polmin has prepared a special election announcement of its "Common Good" publication which is available for download at the above website.

Those still making up their minds about how to cast their vote may be interested in the three-minute online quiz which will rate the candidates in your electorate according to the issues that concern you and then send you an individual 'how to vote' card.


At their first international conference on human trafficking, Catholic Sisters from 26 countries and all continents gathered in Rome last month and issued a Statement to the World on the issue of trafficking in persons – a modern day form of slavery.

The statement identifies various forms of trafficking, expresses support for and solidarity with the victims, usually women and children, calls on traffickers and those who create the demand for trafficked people to cease their exploitation, calls on governments to create and implement policies and strong legislation to combat trafficking, urges religious leaders to end religious practices and customs that discriminate against women and girls and to denounce all forms of injustice and violence perpetrated against victims of trafficking, and finally appeals to all people of good will to open their hearts to victims and to address the underlying causes of this evil - poverty, gender inequality, discrimination, greed and corruption.

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