Last 100 years have brought world agenda to protect people and life
The last 100 years seem to be the most remarkable in history. They began with the worst of times and ended with visions and goals to establish the best of times.
Exactly one-hundred years ago, on Nov. 11, 1918, a horrific war that left 9 million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded officially came to an end. It was called the "War to End All Wars," although many historians believe it never really ended.
It did, however, lead to the founding of the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.
Thus began in earnest the world's conversation on preventing war through a world peace-keeping organization.
Sadly, too few countries were ready to pledge united support. It would take another World War, 21 years later, one that killed an estimated 60 to 80 million people, to convince nations of the dire necessity for a peace-keeping body.
Fortunately, two great men conceived a plan in the middle of World War II and in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean for bringing the nations together.
U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in December 1941 to discuss plans for a stronger organization to replace the League of Nations. They conceived of a Charter that would help end the present war and prevent future wars.
Roosevelt privately suggested to Churchill that the name of the future organization be the United Nations.
In January 1942, the major allied powers, along with 22 other states, agreed to work together to bring an end to World War II and committed in principle to the establishment of the United Nations after the war.
Just months after the war ended in 1945, 50 countries formed the United Nations, dedicated to maintaining international peace and security.
Thus began a new age for humanity.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of what might be considered the most important document in history, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
A towering achievement for humankind, it set out for the first time our aspirations as a human family. The underlying causes of war finally began to be addressed.
As our world has become more crowded and complex, our shared problems and opportunities as a family call us to greater cooperation. Multiple world crises have called our species to a new stage of maturity.
In 2015, we answered the call. Following what was called the most inclusive and transparent process in UN history, involving millions of people throughout the world, a monumental treaty was signed by all 193 member nations on behalf of their peoples. It is the Global Sustainable Development Goals.
It sets out a world agenda for protecting all people and forms of life, outlining 17 goals, so people everywhere can be part of creating a safe, sustainable, equitable, prosperous world where all life can flourish.
We urge everyone to become part of this movement by becoming familiar with the goals, supporting them and celebrating them as the viable path to lasting peace, enabling our human family to survive and thrive.
Anne Bosserman, Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
Teresa McCann, religious education director at St. Joseph Parish - Otis Orchards
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, November, 2018