New Leaders: Culture of Encounter

New Leaders: Culture of Encounter


Sister Jean Quinn, DW, Executive Director of UNANIMA International


New Leaders UISG Campaign

The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened and exacerbated multidimensional inequalities. These complex, systemic, and interconnected global challenges have common roots, and they constrict communities’ livelihoods, access to much-needed protections, and human dignity. Sisters on the frontlines, working with these marginalised communities, are often best equipped to inform solutions based on the lived experiences of the people they serve.

They are the true experts, and their voices must be included in places of power. Agenda 2030 offers us a chance to recognize and address how the development and degradation of the planet impacts our environment, economies, and societies. It also gives us an opportunity to cultivate relationships with one another, and to inspire a “culture of encounter” in future generations of change-makers. Pope Francis, too, has pointed to this need for a culture of encounter.

For me, a culture of encounter means acknowledging painful injustices from the past and present, and engaging people with humility in spite of whatever political, social, and economic differences may divide us. Sisters and grassroots leaders do just that each day: with service and a charism of care, they confront the painful realities of poverty, homelessness, socio-economic remnants of colonialism, and growing inequalities.

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