COVID Vaccination Challenges: Ethical Imperatives and Local Realities
This article was used with permission from Georgetown University’s Berkley Center. The original article and full webinar can be found here: https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/events/covid-vaccination-challenges-ethical-imperatives-and-local-realities
As implementation of national and global COVID-19 vaccination campaigns moves into higher gear, there is much to learn from lived, ongoing experience of religious communities. These lessons have applications from very local to global situations, reaching from agendas of communities and congregations to the G20 leadership, placing new demands for cooperation and partnerships. Issues of equitable allocations and access, practical mechanisms to meet urgent and complex logistic challenges, communications about needs and process, and addressing doubts and fears are playing out in real time, as are relationships between government entities and religious communities. Religious roles are interwoven into each challenge, drawing on religious leaders as trusted messengers and on practical options such as offering vaccination sites.
This event linked local experiences to the broader COVID-19 emergencies. It focused on how local experience can give rise to global solutions, drawing on representative experiences in Washington, DC (home of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University), and in the western United States, a base of the G20 Interfaith Forum. It built on ongoing explorations of faith responses to the COVID-19 emergencies, highlighting the importance of faith engagement especially in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Mohamed Elsanousi, part of a U.S. nationwide interreligious coalition focused on the urgent COVID-19 vaccination campaign, outlined that effort. Sharon Eubank, who leads Latter-day Saint Charities, highlighted local dimensions of the crisis in the western United States and how this has led to links with global humanitarian operations. Close to home Berkley Center Senior Research Fellow Rev. Gerard McGlone, S.J., spoke to the experience of Georgetown's Jesuit community. The discussion explored both emerging lessons and how they might apply globally, in a context where "no one is safe until everyone is safe." Berkley Center Senior Fellow Katherine Marshall moderated the conversation.
This event was co-sponsored by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University; G20 Interfaith Forum; International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University; Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose, Giovanni XXIII; World Faiths Development Dialogue; and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities.
Fortifying Families Webinar Series
During this time of virtual engagement, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—represented by Latter-day Saint Charities in New York, Geneva, and the European Union Office in Brussels—is presenting a webinar series on issues pertaining to the family.
The family is the fundamental unit of society. Strong, stable, and healthy families sustain strong, stable, and healthy societies. This series explores contemporary issues affecting today's families, significant ways families provide solutions to social ills, and suggested policies to strengthen families.
The main audience for this series includes those who work with the United Nations and the European Union: diplomats, staff, and nongovernmental organizations. Last week’s episode featured Sharon Eubank, president of Latter-day Saint Charities, and Lolis María Salas Montes, executive director of the Directorate for Children, Youth and Family (DINAF) with the government of Honduras. Ms. Eubank started by sharing best practices of faith-based organizations working with governments on humanitarian projects. In such partnerships, governments can help navigate red tape, while faith-based humanitarian organizations bring grassroots communities and volunteers to help carry out projects. Ms. Salas described how her own nation has benefited from the humanitarian response by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other faith-based humanitarian actors.
Ms. Salas explained how important it is that human rights—and the rights of children and youth in particular—be preserved, especially when family structures are under significant pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also highlighted how humanitarian organizations can provide needed support to families during such challenging times. Ms. Eubank pointed out that humanitarian aid can be a strength but that such aid must be properly structured, with the goal of helping families to become self-reliant.
Both Ms. Eubank and Ms. Salas addressed the role of media, including social media, in helping to provide for families in need. Ms. Salas indicated that the media can benefit families by drawing attention to the rights of children and youth and to the many challenges and dangers they face. Ms. Eubank noted that media plays a role that no one else plays and emphasized that "when media serves an agenda that is something other than the truth, all of society is poorer from it."
Find webinar episodes and more at facebook.com/fortifyingfamilies/.
Common Ground with Multinational Partners
In September 2015, governments, international leaders, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from across the world adopted 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to address some of the most pressing global needs. To help accomplish these SDGs, Latter-day Saint Charities leverages resources through partnerships around the world. Many of our efforts will be highlighted throughout the coming year.
At the same time, as an accredited NGO to the United Nations (UN), Latter-day Saint Charities participates in various UN councils and commissions to promote partnerships between governments and faith-based humanitarian organizations. This page will be updated regularly to showcase engagement on the international level.
Sister Sharon Eubank participated in the final plenary panel of the G20 Interfaith Forum, which was arranged by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She discussed the role of Latter-day Saint Charities in the ongoing humanitarian effort to combat COVID-19 globally. She also participated in a panel during the Civil Society 20 summit.
At the UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children event held in December 2019, Joy D. Jones, Primary General President, spoke during a panel to advocate on behalf of all the world’s children in providing basic life-sustaining resources and educational opportunities.
For the first time, Latter-day Saint Charities played a formal role in the September 2019 session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Bishop Gérald Caussé delivered a keynote address at an event focused on advancing education for displaced populations. Sister Eubank also moderated a panel at the event.
In August 2019, Latter-day Saint Charities was an active participant in the United Nations Civil Society Conference hosted in Salt Lake City, contributing to plenary sessions, workshops, service projects, and entertainment. Over 5,000 representatives from NGOs around the world attended the conference.
Just one week after being sustained as Relief Society General President, Jean B. Bingham spoke at the UN in April 2017 to discuss the role of faith-based organizations in refugee resettlement and integration. She also used the trip to meet with diplomats, UN officials, and organizations dedicated to improving the lives of refugees.
In December 2016, President Bingham—then a member of the Primary General Presidency—spoke at an event organized by UNICEF. She discussed cooperative efforts to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.
Sister Neill F. Marriott, then Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, participated in the 2016 Commission on the Status of Women. She spoke on the role of faith organizations in fostering leadership skills in young women and girls.
For the first time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the subject of the annual Focus on Faith briefing. This briefing was organized by the Department of Global Communications at the UN. Church representatives, including Sister Eubank, spoke about the origins and present activities of the Church and Latter-day Saint Charities.
On March 6, 2013, Sister Sharon Eubank (in her role as director within Latter-day Saint Charities) addressed the Commission on the Status of Women. At this event, she discussed the extensive work Latter-day Saint Charities does to improve the lives of women worldwide.