Catherine Bordeau

Youth Outreach Coordinator for Franciscans International

This is an introduction to a program I am developing that will more actively involve Franciscan Youth with global issues; something to enhance your lives and promote Franciscan values.

First, a brief introduction to who we are at Franciscans International. FI is a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It is the only common ministry of the entire Franciscan Family.

We offer expert advice, make policy suggestions and monitor the implementation of UN agreements as we bring the experiences and insights of common people to those in positions of power. In the name of Franciscans worldwide, we advocate for the poor, for peacemaking and care of creation here at the United Nations.

Franciscan Youth International hopes that this campaign will allow Franciscan Youth to unite through reflection and action on particular phenomena of social injustice. This is a means of promoting student awareness of compelling global problems, providing ideas for opportunities to take action, and furthering the outreach of the Franciscan ministry. My goal is to coordinate with educators and Franciscan Youth leaders, high schools, colleges, and universities around the world, so that youth will be able to stand together in solidarity as Franciscan Youth.

Presently, we are developing brief information kits for students, including facts, stories, pictures, spiritual resources, FI involvement, UN involvement, and avenues for student involvement. We are hoping these kits will be useful to you or your contacts as educational and animation guides for youth.

Our Franciscan Youth web page is located at: <>. Let us know what you think. How could we feature your activities on FYI? The news section is updated daily. Email: <> to find out how youth can be recognized on Franciscan Youth International.

Please, feel free to pass this on to as many contacts as possible or email me with their contact information.

Catherine Bordeau

Youth Outreach Coordinator

Franciscans International NGO

United Nations

211 E. 43rd St. Suite 1100

New York, NY10017-4707


Franciscan Youth International


Franciscans International is a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations[1].  In the name of Franciscans worldwide, Franciscans International advocates for the poor, for justice, for peace and for all creation at the United Nations.

 Franciscans International aims to raise awareness within the Franciscan family, so that Franciscans can effectively address these areas of concern at the local and international levels. 

Franciscan Youth International (FYI) is a youth movement started by Franciscans International, initiated to inform and involve a younger voice in its work worldwide as part of a growing global movement working to include young people in world affairs.


FYI is intended for high school and college students, as well as educators and youth leaders to communicate and share ideas for positive change.  


Striving to educate, connect, and inspire youth to act and speak out for justice and peace at the local and international levels, FYI is a means of promoting youth awareness of compelling global problems, providing ideas and opportunities to take action and furthering the outreach of Franciscan ministry.


One way to get involved is through research.  FYI and Franciscans International are looking to connect with universities to assist the advocacy department with research papers.  Research ranges from UN treaty bodies to indigenous issues, transnational corporations, trafficking and the right to development, among other topics.  Contact FYI for a list of paper topics and other details at


Communication and Action

The FYI web site serves as a point of contact for Franciscan youth around the world, Franciscan colleges and universities and all people who are interested in Franciscan charism. 


The FYI website[2] has many resources that include a break down of some major international issues, information for youth about current events at the United Nations, daily updates regarding current international news and concrete ideas and opportunities to get involved in the social justice movement. 


The United Nations (UN) can be confusing.  FYI aspires to make UN concepts and terminology less technical and daunting allowing youth to learn more about the UN, international issues and the international community.


These resources are not only useful to young people, but can also be informative to educators and youth ministers keen on a practical focus towards youth involvement in social justice, peace and environmental issues.


The “youth” age group consists of ages 15-24.  Youth make up 20% of the world’s population.  This is a considerable voice; one that must be educated to speak out. 


Think Globally:  Act Locally. 

Knowledge is power – we can act together to “Name and Shame” governments that do not follow-up on international agreements, human rights violators and corporations that do not uphold the integrity of creation.    


Can we really make a difference?  Yes! 


Although, governments set policy and agree on programs for action, we can influence their decisions. 


Get the information you need to affect the world around you for social change.  


Remember, it takes only a small flame to start a raging fire. 


The first step is education.  Franciscan Youth International has many resources for youth and educators to take this step.  For example, each month there is a new theme for our educational toolkits.  The toolkits comprise of a compact introduction to an issue, reflection questions, concrete ways to get involved and resources for where to find more information. 


Currently, FYI is also offering youth leadership workshops.  The purpose of these workshops is not only to inform youth about social issues, but also to teach them to be actively involved in bringing these issues alive on their campuses and in their communities. 


Contact FYI to learn more about how to bring a workshop like this to your community!


System Change Begins from Within

Creative systemic change is whole system change. Whether at the individual level, the community, workplace or globally, systemic change can be measured as a shift in values, assumptions, beliefs and by a new awareness and new behaviours that incorporate and reflect the shift in perspective.  


Systemic change occurs when we become aware and understand systemic and ecological principles; become system thinkers and adopt a systemic perspective; and shift our thinking, life styles and organizational behaviours through grounding in systemic principles and values.


When we live according to the Franciscan Values, we are living and working towards sustainable systemic change, which upholds the unique dignity of each person and a kinship with all of creation.   


Challenge to Youth

What can you change within your own life to help better your world?  If everyone were to modify their lives just a little, it would make a huge difference.  FYI champions that youth learn more about the little things they can do to begin making a difference. 


Franciscan Youth in Action, also known as ‘Frac.tion’, features articles which recognize youth or youth groups that have undertaken projects for change in their communities. 


Contact Franciscan Youth International to nominate a youth or group who have endeavored to raise awareness among their peers, strived to better our environment, worked on a service trip, enriched on a pilgrimage, spoken out at a protest or worked directly with the poor or marginalized in some unique way or you tell us! 


To get in touch with Franciscan Youth International see the website at  Contact information including email addresses and postal addresses can be found there. 


[1] Franciscans International is the only common ministry of the entire Franciscan family.  As a non-governmental organization (NGO), Franciscans International offers expert advice, makes policy suggestions, monitors the implementation of UN agreements and also brings the experiences and insights of common people to those in positions of power. 

[2] Franciscan Youth International’s website is