Reflection by Joan Chittister, Benedictine Sister, Co-Chair, Global Peace Initiative of Women
Sister Joan Chittister
Joan Chittister is an internationally known writer and lecturer and the executive director of Benetvision, a resource and research center for contemporary spirituality.
She currently serves as co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a partner organization of the UN, facilitating a worldwide network of women peace builders, particularly in Israel and Palestine. She was an advisor for the groundbreaking report, A Woman’s Nation, led by Maria Shriver (2009) and was a member of the TED prize-sponsored Council of Sages, an interfaith group that developed a Charter for Compassion (2009) being promulgated worldwide with all faith organizations.
She was a keynote speaker at the Asia-Pacific Breakthrough: Women, Faith and Development Summit to End Global Poverty as well as the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne, Australia last December. She wrote the book Beyond Beijing: the next step for women, after attending the Fourth UN Conference of Women in Beijing (1995) and the book: Heart of Flesh: a feminist spirituality for men and women.
Barbara Izquierdo, a mother of two, is a nationally recognized expert on hunger and poverty. She is a speaker, writer and photographer with Witnesses to Hunger. Witnesses to Hunger is an award winning national organization that works through women’s photography and testimony to ensure that people who know hunger and poverty first hand are actively participating in the national dialogue on poverty and public policy. As a community organizer, Barbie is prominently featured in the film, A Place at the Table. Her story and her activism are encouraging others to speak out about their experiences of trying to break the cycle of poverty. Barbie has spoken at the White House, the U.S. Senate and informed stories for the Washington Post, The Associated Press, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and WHYY Radio Times. Her photographs have been displayed in over twenty cities around the country as a part of the Witnesses to Hunger exhibit. Barbie has performed her story about growing up in poverty at the New York Metropolitan Museum as a featured storyteller with The Moth at the Met: American Stories. Previously, she worked for the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger as a food stamp outreach specialist. Barbie is currently a Presidential Scholar at Esperanza College in Philadelphia. She also speaks around the country about how regular citizens can become more involved in ending poverty.