By: Anita Urassa, Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe (Province II)
Hi there, my name is Anita Urassa and here is my experience being a delegate for the first time at the UNCSW66. Currently I am working at Emmanuel Church in Geneva, Switzerland. Emmanuel Church is part of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches of Europe in Province ll. The Reverend Michael Rusk [Rector of Emmanuel] knew about my passion about sustainability and creating awareness about women’s issues. He recommended me to apply, which I did. Soon after, I got the call that I would be able to join the UNCSW66, which was definitely one of my highlights as of this year. Not only did I get to hear all about the stories and programs and policies to empower women, but also as a youth I got to raise the recommendations and issues raised by the youth.
Before the official opening of the UNCSW66, we had some Zoom calls with Lynnaia Main [Episcopal Church representative to the United Nations] and the Leadership team. They definitely prepared us very well for the conference. The first day was overwhelming for me, as I received a lot of information and I wasn’t particularly sure what was important, because I thought all of them were important. I needed to figure out the key information/ key message to take out of the general meeting and the side events. But after the first day, it definitely got easier, as I was able to gather the important message from all the speeches and storytelling. It was also amazing to start off the day (for me it was the afternoon due to the time zone) with the Ecumenical Women worship. The worship really set the tone before the conference as it brought inspiration, wisdom and power through all the events until the end of night. Every day we also had a delegation debrief. It was a way for all of us to summarize our day based on what we have enjoyed during the conference. It was also one of my favorite moments, as during the conference I got to hear about the other events that I wasn’t able to go to, but also to hear what my fellow delegates are getting out of the conference.
My favorite parts through the conference have been hearing stories from women and how they have tried to implement programs and policies to help them. I was also able to hear from different governments, youth, and big companies with how they are contributing to our theme. I am definitely going to take all the advocacy work, experience and all the things I have learnt and bring it back to my local community, my parish but also the Convocation of the Episcopal Churches in Europe. This experience has been amazing and I am honored to be a part of UNCSW 66. I would hope to come back again next time.
About the author: Anita Urassa, Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe (Province II) is the Climate Stewardship officer at Emmanuel Church in Geneva. She is also a member of the Creation & Climate Change ministry initiative and Creation Care Grassroots Network. Before joining Emmanuel Church, she was an undergraduate student studying BBA in Sustainability Management. Her passion for sustainability and climate action started in high school when she learned about the climate emergency and believes it’s up to us to reverse such process. As a young African woman, she has seen firsthand how environmental racism and disasters has affected women. She would like to use her experience and knowledge on the climate emergency and as young women to achieve her goal of achieving gender equality and women empowering all women in the context of climate change. Anita served as a delegate on the Presiding Bishop’s UNCSW 66 delegation.