International Day of Democracy

In the current global context, it is more relevant than ever to use this day to review the state of democracy in the world. As the United Nations points out, “Democracy is a process as well as a goal, and only with the full participation and support of the international community, national governing bodies, civil society and individuals can the democratic ideal be made a universal reality.”

In the spirit of the UN, democracy provides a natural environment for the protection and realization of human rights. Therefore, great vigilance is required to counter certain elements that may threaten the right to true and verified information, to free elections and to the freedom of individuals.

This is a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the crucial role of educating people to develop critical thinking skills and to better understand the issues. All of the educational work of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) and other teaching religious congregations in North America and around the world is aimed at helping people to become empowered, to access higher education, and to become, in some measure, agents of social change.

Even today, everyone can take part in a campaign to raise awareness of democracy. You could devise a series of questions on this theme (e.g.: Is democracy good for everyone? | Which voting result has given you the most pleasure so far?), print them out on small cards and post them in various places.

A workshop on women’s right to vote, a quiz and a panel discussion are other ways of talking about democracy and helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 16), whose theme is “Peace, justice and effective institutions”.

View the UN video released at the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, focusing specifically on SDG 16: UN Video