Sr Jean Quinn Daughter of Wisdom has become the first Irish Woman to be appointed to the post of Executive Director of Unanima International based at the United Nations in New York.
Unanima International is a non government organisation based at the United Nations, in New York and its’ work focuses on supporting women, children, migrants (especially those effected by poverty) and the environment. It has more than 20,000 constituent members representing 21 female Religious Congregations across 80 countries.
Speaking on her appointment Sr. Jean said it is “an honour and a privilege to be asked to serve at this most challenging time when NGOs and Inter-Governmental Bodies are trying to co-ordinate efforts to tackle poverty and in particular the migrant crisis across the world”.
Sr. Jean founded Sophia Housing in 1997 as a national organisation, which cares and supports people with complex mental health and addiction needs who are also homeless. Denis Doherty (chairperson of Sophia) in congratulating Jean on her appointment stated that “20 years after Jean had the vision and leadership to establish an organisation that not only sought to respond to people’s housing needs but also sought to create an innovative model to care for those experiencing homelessness she now embarks on this new journey; for us in Sophia we are fortunate that she continues to serve and play a leadership role on our Board of Directors while at the same time using her considerable leadership skills at an international level”. Tony O’Riordan (CEO of Sophia) praising Jean on her new appointment stated “we are very proud as all Irish people should be of Jean achievements and the active and strong link with Sophia”.
Sr. Jean who has moved to New York as part of her new role but continues to play an active part in Sophia “ for me there is a clear thread running through my current role and the work of Sophia; Sophia focuses on supporting people who are recovering from the trauma and hurt that they have experienced as a result of poverty and homelessness; Unanima International while focused on the global level takes its strength from its member organisations who are working on the ground to tackle and address the effects of poverty; it is only because of them that I can speak with authority in the various settings and contexts and the United Nations. Tackling injustice permeates the entire work of Unanima International and advocating for a right to a home of one’s own and the support services needed to recover from homelessness was always a driving force in Sophia”