MONTREAL — With thousands of people from around the world, Sister Roma De Robertis participated in the 2016 World Social Forum (WSF) held here Aug. 9-14.
A former Saskatoon diocesan editor for the Prairie Messenger, she is co-ordinator of justice, peace and integrity of creation ministry among Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception and Associates. De Robertis is a member of the SCIC leadership circle based in Saint John, N.B. The SCIC also invited Maria Olalde to participate in the WSF. Originally from Colombia, she is a political science student at the University of New Brunswick Saint John.
For the first time, the WSF was held in the Global North, gathering civil society (non-governmental) organizations, social movements, activists and engaged citizens. They celebrated the theme, “Another world is needed. Together, it is possible!” Also in Montreal, De Robertis participated in the ecumenical World Forum on Theology and Liberation (WFTL) held Aug. 8-13 with the theme, “Resist, Hope, Invent: Another World is Possible!”
The first WSF was held in 2001 in Brazil in response to rapid expansion of globalization policies creating exclusion, poverty and environmental degradation. The Montreal forum offered more than 1,000 presentations and activities in French, English and Spanish focusing on social justice, peace, human rights, climate justice and ecological sustainability. The presence, wisdom and rights of indigenous peoples were highlighted, as was the urgent need to recognize and change colonial attitudes, policies, practices and legislation.
De Robertis is a member of the JPIC Atlantic network. Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation is a service of the Canadian Religious Conference which participated in the theological forum. Based in Montreal, the religious conference includes leaders and members from women’s and men’s religious communities across Canada.
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace was an official WSF partner, with a strong emphasis on youth participation and international guest speakers. Also engaged on forum panels and in workshops and creative events were leaders from KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.