14 January 2012
With the support of United Nations Delegations from the United States, USSR, Cyprus, France, Libya, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Chile and Rwanda, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations meeting at the United Nations from March 4 to March 22, 1985 recommended by consensus that the Economic and Social Council grant the request of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council of North and South America for Category I Consultative Status.
This is the highest category in consultative status at the United Nations. To date, the Muslim League is the only other religious organization that has Category I Status. The Archdiocesan Council can now submit papers, be granted hearings and propose agenda items for consideration by the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiaries (The Human Rights Commission, UNESCO, etc.).
Mrs. Lila Prounis, with the approval of His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos and the encouragement of Fr. Karloutsos, Fr. Droumouras, and Fr. Efthimious applied for consultative status in 1982 and prepared a nine page report which she presented to the NGO Committee.
On March 15, 1985, testifying before the committee composed of delegations from 19 countries, Mrs. Lila Prounis stated that the Archdiocesan Council is an international organization dedicated to supporting programs in developing countries. Its principal aims are to administer the religious, cultural and academic needs of 579 Greek Orthodox communities throughout North and South America. It is a humanitarian, family-oriented body concerned with the well-being of the person, and the improvement of the social and living conditions of all people. It is concerned with education, the welfare of children throughout the world, human rights, youth, the status of women, the aging, disabled persons and the elimination of hunger. It had raised funds for the famine in Ethiopia, and also provided assistance in cases of natural disasters. Mrs. Prounis further pointed out that the Archdiocesan Council can provide expertise in Education, Child Care, Youth, Aged, Religious Liberty and Welfare to the United Nations.
In recommending that the Economic and Social Council grant Category I Status to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council of North and South America, the NGO Committee members agreed that its activities were relevant to a wide range of the Economic and SOcial Council as well as of other United Nations organs.
For the past eight years, the Archdiocese has been accredited as an NGO to the Department of Public Affairs which provides weekly briefings on UN matters. This information can be disseminated to local constituencies.