The CSVGC-NY created the Annual Week of Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns during the UN anniversary week. Launched on 22-26 October 2007 at UN headquarters, the Week features a wide range of programs, organized by CSVGC-NY Working Groups that culminate in the Spirit of the UN Award Ceremony. Activities and programming are designed to demonstrate how the spiritual dimension ensures adherence to the values expressed in the UN Charter and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In honor of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations, the Week of Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns was created in October 2007 to foster the growth of a culture of peace in which “we, the peoples of the world”, can address together our common challenges in a holistic, positive and transformative way. The Week’s activities recognize that spirituality and adherence to universal values, such as those expressed in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are important keys to providing solutions to global concerns. The aims of the Week are designed to inspire and generate collective engagement in an annual worldwide celebration. Members of the UN community and the public are invited to participate.
In 2005 at United Nations Headquarters the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns – New York joined together with the Values Caucus, UN Department of Public Information, the UN Staff Recreation Council and numerous supporting organizations to present a special event call the Spirit of the United Nations: Markings for the Future – for the United Nations 60th Anniversary and the 100th Anniversary of the birth of the 2nd Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold. At this event the United Nations was honored by remembering its founders as well as celebrating the United Nations family by highlighting the true spirit of the United Nations, and in doing so, acknowledging the invaluable contributions of all those that make up the United Nations community.
This event inspired the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns (NY) (CSVGC-NY) to create “The Spirit of the United Nations” Award. The CSVGC-NY sees this award as an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge those individuals whose work is an expression of the core principles, spirit and vision on which the United Nations was founded. Each year an individual whose work demonstrates the vision and spirit of the United Nations and the Week of Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns, is selected to be the recipient of this award.
- Someone that has demonstrated the vision and spirit of the United Nations as expressed through the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Week of Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns.
- Someone that has done exemplary work in promoting spirituality and values at the United Nations and beyond and is widely recognized and highly respected for his/her collaborative work.
- Someone who has been working in the United Nations community for a minimum of 5 years or more.
In 2007, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, UN Under-Secretary General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) from 2002 to 2007 was the first recipient of “The Spirit of the United Nations” Award. This was a spontaneous expression of deep admiration of the civil society for his long-standing, positive, proactive and meritorious service to the United Nations and to humanity as Permanent Representative of Bangladesh and as UN high official.
In October 2008, the CSVGC-NY selected Ambassador Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the UN to be the recipient of the award. He was selected for his exemplary work in promoting spirituality and values at the United Nations.
In 2009 in recognition and acknowledgment of the growing spirit of cooperation, the Committee decided to expand “The Spirit of the United Nations” Award to three categories to better reflect the current movement within the UN system towards collaborative partnerships among Members States, UN System Officials and NGO Representatives.
The “The Spirit of the United Nations” Award is given in five categories:
1- UN Diplomat
2- UN System Official
3- NGO Representative affiliated with the UN through ECOSOC or DPI
5- Special Award
2009 awardees included Ambassador Augustine Mahiga, Permanent Representative of
Tanzania to the UN, UN System Official, Dr. Monica Sharma and UN NGO Representatives, Deborah Moldow, World Peace Prayer Society, and Monica Willard, United Religions Initiative, as well as Co-Chairs of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee.
In 2010 the awardees were H. E. Dr. T. Hamid Al-Bayati, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Iraq to the United Nations, Ms. Tsu-Wei Zoe Chang, United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women -Retired and Mr. Hiro Sakurai, Director, United Nations Liaison Office in New York of Soka Gakkai International (SGI).
2011 awardees included Ambassador Byrganym Aitimova, Permanent Representative of the
Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations; UN System Official, Ms. Susan Bastarrica,
UN Office of Human Resources Management; NGO Award, Sister Joan Kirby, Main UN
Representative of the Temple of Understanding and Former Chair of NGO DPI Executive
Committee, and Special Awardee Ms. Diane Williams, Founder and President of Source of
Synergy Foundation, and Founder and Chairperson Emerita of NGO Committee of
Spirituality,Values and Global Concerns-NY.
2012 awardees included Ambassador Lhatu Wangchuk, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations; UN System Official, Mr. James Sniffen, Programme Liasion Officer for UN Environment Programme-NY (UNEP); NGO Award, Ms. Pamela Kraft, Founder and Executive Director, Tribal Link; and Ms. Ray Acheson, NGO Representative and Director, Reaching Critical Will. In 2012, the Special Recognition of Achievement Award for Youth Outreach was added. The Youth Outreach Award was presented to Mr. Peter Stewart, Founder, Thanksgiving Foundation.
2013 awardees included Ambassador U Joy Ogwu, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations; UN System Official, Mrs. Lina Arellano; NGO Award, Mr. Munemori Ichinori Tsumagari, IRFF Japan; and Youth Award, Mr. Miroslav Polzer, International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges (IAAI Austria).
2014 awardees included Ambassador Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake, Permanent Representative of Honduras to the United Nations; UN System Official, Ms. Gay Rosenblum-Kumar, Executive Secretary, United Nations Interagency Framework Team for Preventive Action; NGO Award, Mr. Tairiku Okada, Spiritual Leader, Sukyo Mahikari; Youth Award, Ms. Mirian Vilela, Executive Director, The Earth Charter; and
Special Award, Ms. Sharon Hamilton-Getz, Chair Emeritus, CSVGC-NY.
2015 awardees included Ambassador Mrs. Edita Hrdá, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations; UN System Official, Dr. Azza Karam, Senior Advisor, Culture, at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); NGO Award, Ms. Lois A. Herman, Founder and Coordinator of WUNRN, The Women’s UN Report Network; Youth Award, Mr. Juan Chebly, Lead Adviser to the United Nations Environment Programme Secretariat of Governing Bodies and Mr. Austin Schiano, The World We Want 2015 Coordination Associate for the United Nations Millennium Campaign. During the Week of Spirituality, a Special Distinguished Spirit of the UN Award was presented to Mrs. Barbara Muller and the Late Dr. Robert Muller, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.