Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nuevas apps combaten la trata de personas

Al haber más de 1 millón de aplicaciones en las tiendas de Apple y Android, sería fácil asumir que nos acercamos al límite de los desarrolladores en cuanto a capacidad de nuevas creaciones. Sería un error.
El último ejemplo es el de las aplicaciones destinadas a combatir el tráfico de personas. Sí, existen, y surgen más a medida que los emprendedores sociales intentan usar la tecnología para combatir lo que consideran las fuerzas del mal.
Un grupo de organismos gubernamentales y fundaciones privadas llamado Asociación para la Libertad ha creado una competencia denominada "Repensar las cadenas de oferta". El nombre no es muy seductor, pero lo que concita atención es el premio de 500,000 dólares que se otorgará a las mejores soluciones tecnológicas para combatir el uso de mano de obra esclava. Los finalistas se darán a conocer el mes próximo.
La generación de conciencia entre las compañías globales respecto de los abusos laborales y las nuevas leyes que exigen medidas para garantizar las prácticas laborales justas en el conjunto de las cadenas de oferta da impulso a un nuevo sector de tecnologías que contribuyen al cumplimiento de esas normas. La competencia también tiene por objeto atraer a los innovadores que trabajan en tecnologías relacionadas, dijo Catherine Chen, directora a cargo de inversiones de Humanity United, uno de los pilares clave de la competencia.
"Se han abordado problemas análogos en muchas instancias", dijo Chen. "Podría tratarse de minerales conflictivos, de determinar la fuente de infecciones por E. coli, de dinero móvil, pagos digitales, todo ese tipo de cosas. Queremos que la comunidad de solucionadores de problemas se concentre en este desafío específico y que vea que hay muchas oportunidades".
Humanity United es una organización de bienestar social que crearon en 2005 Pam y Pierre Omidvar, el fundador de eBay Inc. También apoyan la competencia la Righteous Persons Foundation de Steven Spielberg y la iniciativa 10,000 Women de Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Leer más

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Peacemaking in Peru

(An article from our friends and sisters over at Women's Global Connection)
(By Nicole Foy) As most of our Women’s Global Connection/UIW immersion trip travelers were leaving to come home from Peru, Sr. Martha Ann Kirk stayed behind and was gearing up for one of her (and our!) favorite things: educating others about how societies thrive when they focus on promoting women’s rights, education, and peacemaking.
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Sr. Martha Ann pictured
About 70 people attended the event at Lima’s Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, including local citizens, students, faculty and Turkish people. The story of how Martha Ann was tapped for the presentation is an interesting story of collaboration and teamwork.
Imam Beytullah Cholak of the San Antonio branch of the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest (DIS) informed the Inca Dialogue Society in Lima that Martha Ann, a member of the DIS advisory board would be on an immersion trip in the region this month. Kadir Keskin of the DIS collaborated with CCVI Sr. Katty Huanuco, the Director of the Incarnate Word Sisters International Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Office, to organize a program.
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Laura Vargas pictured
The event also included Laura Vargas, the executive secretary of the Interreligious Council of Peru, a part of International Religions for Peace. Sponsoring organizations included Asociación de Amistad Perú Turquia,  the Gulen Institute, Inca Sociedad de Diálogo, Peace Islands Institute, and Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.
In her speech, Martha Ann quoted former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, who noted that studies have shown that “there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality. No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health – including the prevention of HIV/AIDS. No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation. And I would also venture that no policy is more important in preventing conflict, or in achieving reconciliation after a conflict has ended.”
As usual, Martha Ann is a diplomat for peace wherever she goes!
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Sezai Kara, of Asociación de Amistad Perú Turquia, Martha Ann Kirk, CCVI, and
Kadir Keskin, president of AAPT Inca Sociedad de Diálogo 
The Muslims who hosted the program in Lima are part of the Service (Hizmet) Movement, which has been inspired by Turkish scholar Mr. Fethullah Gulen.  The day of the presentation in Lima, the French newspaper Le Monde published a moving op-ed by Gulen who called for Muslims to become more active in countering ignorance of their faith. The following is a quote from his article: “Our responsibility as Muslim citizens is to be part of the solution despite our grievances. If we want to defend the life and civil liberties of Muslims around the world, and the peace and tranquility of every human regardless of their faith, we must act now to tackle the violent extremism problem in all its dimensions: political, economic, social and religious. By setting virtuous examples through our lives, by discrediting and marginalizing the extremist interpretations of religious sources, by staying vigilant toward their impact on our youth, and by incorporating democratic values early in education, we can counter violence and terrorism as well as totalitarian ideologies that lead to them.”
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Incarnate Word Associate member, Martha Zea, Sr. Martha Ann, and
Laura Vargas, executive secretary of Religions for Peace in Peru.
Martha Ann is the author of the book “Iraqi Women of Three Generations: Challenges, Education, and Hopes for Peace.” She has found discrimination against women to be entrenched there, but has been inspired by the Hizmet education movement as a counter to such ignorance. She explained that young women educated in the Hizmet schools have self-confidence and leadership skills. They also have learned  dialogue, forgiveness, reconciliation, and social responsibility.   
Read more about the trip and other WGC trips at their travel blog: 

Advocates for Migrants Rights Gather at US-Mexico border for 'Posada'

By Nancy Wiechec
Catholic News Service
NOGALES, Mexico (CNS) — Kenia Salas, about to play the role of Mary in a Christmastime commemoration popular across Mexico, said she imagines Mary as a woman of strength.
“I think she was worried about her baby,” Salas, 17, said before participating in the “posada” along the U.S.-Mexico border. “I think she probably was a little scared because she was about to give birth and she was in pain. But I also think she was happy. She knew what she was doing was for God, and that made her strong.”
Advocates for migrants gathered for the traditional re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter before the birth of Christ. The roles of Mary, Joseph and an angel were played by Salas and other members of Kino Teens, who work with the Kino Border Initiative in its ministry to migrants.
Joining the procession along the border fence were Bishops Jose Leopoldo Gonzalez of Nogales and Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona. Their dioceses include the area of “ambos Nogales,” the separated American and Mexican cities of Nogales.
The crowd included the Nolan family from Incarnation Parish in Palos Heights, Ill. Elizabeth Nolan, 17, had taken part in a Kino Teens border immersion program in the summer. She said she wanted the rest of her family to see firsthand the border city and be able talk with migrants and to hear their stories.  “Seeing the border and crossing over shows how close we are and yet how far apart we really are,” she said.  
Along the “posada” procession route, the group heard recordings of migrants telling their accounts of separation and struggle.  In one recording, a woman weeps for her children as she tells of her Arizona workplace being raided by sheriff deputies. She was jailed and deported, separated from her husband and 11- and 18-year-old sons.  “They took away our spirit,” she said. “You feel like you can do nothing. It’s not easy being separated from your children and your family.”
Following the testimony, the “posada” group reflected on what it means to be family. Someone read a quote from Pope Francis: “The family the Catholic Church defends is a reality wanted by God. It is a gift of God that brings to people, as well as to societies, joy, peace stability, happiness.”
The posada, which began near the DeConcini Port of Entry, ended at the “comedor,” the kitchen and dining hall of the Aid Center for Deported Migrants run by the Kino Border Initiative. Deported men, women and children are fed hot meals there each night. This night was no exception. After helping serve the meal, Bishop Kicanas reflected on what it means for people of faith to come together to support each other regardless of borders.
“This time of year is a beautiful time for families on both sides of our border to come together, to walk together, to share together, to pray together,” he said. “That’s what this ‘posada’ has been, an opportunity for us from Nogales, Sonora, the new diocese, and the Diocese of Tucson and the Diocese of Phoenix to walk together. That’s what the Lord is calling us to do and what this beautiful season reminds us about.”
Like so many migrants and refugees today, he said, Mary and Joseph were poor people, and they simply desired a place of comfort and safety for their child.
“The people who are seeking a better way of life remind us of ourselves. Every parent wants to care for their child, every parent wants to have opportunity for their child. That’s really the driving force of migration.
“It’s important for nations of the world to find ways to welcome the stranger, to welcome those who are fleeing violence, to welcome those who are trying to find a better way of life,” he said.

Desigualdad Extrema en America Latina

OXFAM_7MX-01En América Latina y el Caribe el 1% más rico de la población posee el 41% de la riqueza. Si se mantiene esta tendencia, en sólo 8 años este 1% acaparará más riqueza que el 99% restante, contribuyendo a un aumento exponencial del número de personas pobres en la región y echando por la borda los avances en la reducción de pobreza monetaria de los últimos 10 años.

Éste y otros, son los alarmantes datos que arroja el informe de desigualdad de LAC titulado “Privilegios que niegan derechos. Desigualdad extrema y secuestro de la democracia en ALC”, que vio la luz el pasado 30 de septiembre del 2015.

 El informe es la base de la campaña IGUALES en Latinoamérica y el Caribe, y construye una narrativa latinoamericana del problema de la desigualdad económica, al mismo tiempo que aporta al debate nueva información, enfoques y establece la postura regional en el tema de la desigualdad.

OXFAM_13MX-01“América Latina y el Caribe logró una reducción de la pobreza en la última década a diferencia de otras regiones del mundo. Pero esta tendencia ya se ha roto y se están viendo cambios que ahondan la brecha entre ricos y pobres. Ahora que la economía no va a crecer al mismo ritmo en los próximos años, debemos asegurarnos de repartir mejor la renta y la riqueza. Si no lo hacemos, tendremos 200 millones de personas en riesgo de ser pobres de nuevo” afirma Rosa Cañete Alonso, coordinadora de la campaña IGUALES de Oxfam en América Latina y el Caribe.

Friday, December 18, 2015

International Migrants Day

Affirm the Human Rights of ALL Migrants

On International Migrants Day today, NNIRR (National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights) has issued "A Call to Affirm the Human Rights of All Migrants," a national statement signed by 300 organizations and individuals across the country.
The statement speaks to the urgency of committing to and upholding human rights for migrants: "While there is a growing awareness of the precarious situation of migrants and refugees around the world, hostile and xenophobic voices continue to spew hate, foment distrust, and call for discriminatory and exclusionary policies and actions to divide populations and demonize migrants and their families."
Today also marks the 25th anniversary of the United Nations' International Convention on the Protection of Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, also known as the Migrant Workers Convention (MWC), approved by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 1990, and which affirms human rights for all migrants regardless of citizenship or immigration status.
The NNIRR statement urges U.S. ratification of the migrant convention, enhanced avenues for refugees and asylum-seekers, and support for human rights at international borders, saying that "safe passage across borders is critical for those whose very lives are at stake."
Click here to read A Call to Affirm the Human Rights of All Migrants.
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Share your messages for migrants rights and justice today
Post photos and messages to Facebook, Twitter and other social media throughout today, International Migrants Day. Use hashtages: #IMD2015, #CMW2015, #migrantsrights @NNIRRNetwork
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International Migrants Day Statements and Resources
Migrant Forum in Asia Statement on International Migrants Day. "...Given that migrants are extremely vulnerable to human rights abuses, it is unfortunate that wealthy states that pontificate on human rights should balk at the prospect of offering basic protections to those who need recognition of these rights the most."
Public Services International. "...We need to transcend the rhetoric of fear of migrants and fight xenophobia and intolerance."
International Trade Union Confederation. "Millions of people are seeking the economic and social opportunities denied them due to poverty and lack of development, with women migrating in equal numbers to men in search of work."
United Methodist Women: Migrants Deserve Better. "As the line between migrant and refugee becomes increasingly blurred, we must call for humane and respectful U.S. immigration policies."
United Nations' experts on migrant human rights. "All migrants, regardless of their status, must be able to seek access to justice and to social services such as health care, education, police, social services, public housing, labour inspectors and other public service agents, without fear of being denounced to immigration enforcement authorities, detained and deported."
Message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "We must expand safe channels for regular migration, including for family reunification, labour mobility at all skill levels, greater resettlement opportunities, and educational opportunities for children and adults..."
International Labour Organization: new report on global estimates on migrant workers.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

El lago Poopó, el segundo más grande de Bolivia, se convierte en un desierto

El segundo lago más grande de Bolivia, el Poopó, está en un proceso de desertización en la zona andina del país debido al ‪#‎cambioclimático‬, los fenómenos de El Niño y la Niña y la contaminación minera.
El ingeniero agrónomo Milton Pérez, de la Universidad Técnica de Oruro (UTO), y el dirigente campesino Valerio Rojas, afirmaron a la agencia Efe que durante una inspección realizada este viernes al lugar se comprobó que el Poopó ahora “es un lago sin vida”.
El Poopó está situado en el departamento de Oruro y se considera como el segundo más grande de Bolivia, después del Titicaca, que está compartido con el Perú.
“El monitoreo aplicado al Poopó estableció que hoy está casi seco”, dijo Pérez, que investigó el comportamiento del lago. Se trata de un ecosistema muy frágil, que tiene una profundidad muy baja, de 1.5 a 4 metros, y que sufrió la reducción de sus aguas debido a varios fenómenos climáticos. Leer más

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


You can help support human rights and care for the environment by remembering these tips:  buy fair trade whenever possible, when store shopping support local businesses, recycle wrapping paper or better yet use old newspapers or self-decorated paper bags instead, make a present yourself instead of buying something from the store, consider as a present giving your time and talents to help out a friend or family member (coupon book), etc., or donate to a charity that works to uplift human rights and/or protect the environment in honor of your friend or family member. 

Did you know you can support the Congregation this Christmas while shopping online at for presents?  You can, through Amazon Smile!  It works just like the regular Amazon, but by going through first, and searching for “Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word” and selecting that as your charity.  Then, from every purchase you make on Amazon .5% will be donated back to the Congregation.

We also encourage you to consider giving an alternative Christmas gift this year through Women’s Global Connection (WGC). This year, WGC invites you to do something different when thinking about what to give that person who already has it all. Give more than a gift to one person; give to better a family’s daily lives and change the future for people in places such as Tanzania and Peru.  WGC’s Alternative Program is a way to transform the lives of others in the name of your loved ones. You can help alleviate poverty by supporting access to clean water, funding education, or building family businesses. See what your donation in the name of a loved one could do at 

Have a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Congregational JPIC Office!

Go into all the world,
and preach the gospel
to every creature.

-Mark 16,15-


During an immersion trip with students and faculty of IWU, Sr. Martha Ann will be a panelist on a presentation in Lima entitled “Finding Peace through Education.”  This event is sponsored by the Congregational JPIC Office together with other interreligious institutions.  There will be space provided for conversations and reflection to strengthen education for peace in our society.  It will be held on December 17th at 7pm in Lima, Peru. 

A Candle Light Silent Vigil for “those suffering from violence, the families and the countries, the victims and perpetrators, ourselves and the others” was held Nov. 22, 2015, 5:30-6:30 pm at the University of the Incarnate Word. About a hundred people quietly and slowly walked around the Peace Pole.

As the gathering concluded, people who speak another language were invited to share the words on the Peace Pole “May peace prevail on earth.” As people were speaking in Spanish, Azerbaijani, French, Nepali, German, Arabic, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Swahili, Urdu, Hindi, Turkish, Celtic, Assamese, American Sign Language, English, and other languages, many felt a sense that people of other countries should not be feared, but recognized as companions seeking peace. Dr. Lupita Nath, UIW History professor, who extensively researches refugees and leads students helping refugees with Catholic Charities, said  “San Antonio has been a safe haven for refugees and San Antonio have always come to support and help them adjust to life in America. The refugees who are here and those who are coming need our support at this difficult time. Please pray for peace and safety.”

The vigil was co-sponsored by CAIR-TX, SA (Council on American Islamic Relations, San Antonio, TX); Catholic Church; Christ Lutheran Church of Alamo Heights; Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation; Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, UIW; Episcopal Church of Reconciliation; Dialogue Institute of the Southwest, SA; Incarnate Word Sisters International Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Committee; Pax Christi, SA; Raindrop Women’s Association; SA Coalition Against Genocide;  SA Community of Congregations;  SA Muslim Women’s Association; SA Peace Center; Sol Center at University Presbyterian Church; Temple Beth El; UIW Honors Program; Voice for South Asians Against Family Violence and for Healthy Relationships- Awaaz San Antonio; and hosted by the University of the Incarnate Word.

PRAYER:  We ask, O God, for the grace to be our best selves. We ask for the vision to be builders of the human community rather than its destroyers. We ask for the humility as a people to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.  Give us the strength it takes to listen rather than to judge, to trust rather than to fear, to try again and again to make peace even when peace eludes us.   Amen