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International Solidarity Days – November 2023

November 10—World Science Day for Peace and Development

The World Science Day for Peace and Development calls attention to the critical role that science plays in helping us to better understand planet Earth, our common home.  This day also honors science’s role in  creating sustainable development through international cooperation, education and implementation for the common good.  The current corona virus pandemic has certainly demonstrated how quickly science can respond to global crisis needs. 

In just a little over a year, cooperative international research was able to result in rapid development and testing of a vaccine to protect populations across the globe.  However, many remain unvaccinated.  Global distribution and vaccination efforts remain painfully slow, while thousands die each day awaiting access to these scientific breakthroughs. 

The theme of World Science Day on 10 November 2023 is: Building trust in science

The role of science in shaping our collective future can only be fulfilled when there is trust in science. It is trust in science that fuels the development and application of evidence-based solutions to our world’s multifaceted challenges. Trust in science is a complex issue. It affects the way in which scientists operate and the way science is perceived by society. Also, enhancing trust in science strengthens science-based policy decisions and society’s support for their application.

Science has also made access to clean water and efficient, safe and sustainable farming possible.  Likewise, solar and wind energy technologies are now a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuel but remain unavailable to many poor populations that could benefit most from their use.  What remains uncertain is the political will for international cooperation to enhance access to these advances.  If we are serious about eradicating extreme poverty, we must work diligently to protect the environment and address global climate change.  Time is quickly running out. 

The objectives of World Science Day for Peace and Development are:

  • To strengthen public awareness of and respect for the role of science in building peaceful and sustainable societies
  • To promote national and international solidarity for shared science among countries
  • To renew national and international commitments for the use of science for the benefit of societies
  • To draw attention to the challenges faced by science and to raise support for the scientific endeavor.

Holy One, we pray for scientists who have dedicated their lives to improving the quality of life for all earth’s creatures.  Give them wisdom as they work for the common good.  Inspire us all to implement the advances of science in a way that sustains and respects our planet’s diversity, and addresses the needs of the poorest among us.

November 20—Universal Children’s Day

On November 20, 1959 the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.  On this day, people around the world are asked to remember the vulnerability of children and calls on all of us to actively work to protect the rights of children.  Every child has the right to adequate food, basic healthcare, shelter,  education, love and a stable, caring and nurturing environment in which to grow and develop. 

Too often, children are exploited for cheap labor, abused sexually, denied education, and deprived of adequate food and healthcare.  Every child deserves the opportunity to develop his/her full potential.  In this way, they will be able to contribute to building a flourishing future for themselves and for Earth itself.  Investing in our future means investing in each child.   

Let us pray for the children of the world.  Bless families who struggle to provide food, shelter, education and healthcare for their children.  Open our hearts to contribute in whatever way we can to the care and sustenance of children in our own countries and around the world.  Protect children, surround them with love, keep them safe and give them wisdom as they journey through life. 

November 25—International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Worldwide, violence against women affects approximately 1 of every 3 women at some time in her life.  Because women are often viewed as less than fully human, a woman’s right to equality and respect is often not protected.  Most of the violence against women is hidden within families and society, and sometimes even justified by cultural and/or religious norms.  This day is a day to bring violence against women out into the open and to denounce it as the violation of human rights that it is. 

It is also a day to identify cultural and religious teachings and practices that are often used to justify such abuse and to demand equality for women in all aspects of life and at all levels of decision-making.   Most of all, this is a day for all women to call for equal protection under the law.  We urge all of us to wear orange on that day to call attention to the global effort to eliminate all forms of violence against women.

Spirit of God, we ask you to strengthen and comfort all women who suffer from sexual, psychological or      physical violence.  Open our hearts and our eyes to see the suffering of so many women and give us the courage to demand and act for justice for all of them.  Help us in our quest for equal protection for women under the law, no matter their economic status, their educational level or their country of residence.  Inspire us to unmask violence against women wherever it exists and to dismantle structures that justify it or allow this violence to persist. 

November 29—International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

This date of November 29th was chosen because of its meaning and significance to the Palestinian people. On that day in 1947, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II), which came to be known as the Partition Resolution. This resolution called for the partitioning of Palestine into two states—Israel and Palestine.  This International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is a day to bring international attention to the fact that today, only Israel exists as a state. 

The Palestinian territories have still not gained internationally recognized status as a state and continue to be occupied and their borders controlled by Israel.  The question of a homeland state for the Palestinian people still remains unresolved, while Israel continues to build and expand settlements in what is considered Palestinian territory.  Over 3 million Palestinian refugees continue to live in extreme poverty and hopelessness.  Their despair and suffering continue to cause outbreaks of violence towards Israelis, and violent retaliation by Israel against the Palestinians. These conflicts make peace negotiations almost impossible.  Until a just solution is found, peace will remain elusive.  The UN continues its commitment to bring about a just peace in the region that protects and acknowledges the rights of the Palestinian people.

We pray for the Palestinian people who continue to suffer from poverty, foreign occupation and retaliatory violence.  We pray that leaders of both Palestinians and Israelis will courageously put down their weapons and listen to one another with openness.  May they meet and work together to build understanding and trust, after many decades of distrust and violence. May they seek to understand one another’s needs and build bridges of understanding rather than walls of separation. May all parties come to realize that their mutual future security and economic flourishing depend on negotiation, respect and cooperation.  God, bless this Holy Land with true and lasting peace with justice.