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Humanitarian implications of the Russia – Ukraine War

By Leela Ramdeen, Chair, CCSJ & Director, CREDI

The Institute of International Relations (IIR) at UWI, St Augustine and the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) invite you to participate in our joint virtual webinar entitled ‘Humanitarian Implications of the Russia – Ukraine War’, on Thursday, April 7 from 1– 3 p.m.

Please register via the following link. Encourage others to register also:

On Friday, March 25, Pope Francis led a “solemn Act of Consecration of humanity, and Russia and Ukraine in particular, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”.

The consecration took place on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, which is a significant date in the calendar of the Catholic Church (see Luke 1:26–38), commemorating the visit of the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, during which he informed her that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The Holy Father asked the Mother of God “to lift up the hearts of those who are afflicted by the cruelty of war”. And he prayed: “May the Act of Consecration to her Immaculate Heart bring peace to the world.”

Archbishop Jason Gordon joined bishops, priests, the faithful and many Christians around the world in what Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland referred to as a “powerful global act of prayerful solidarity for peace in the world, and especially between Russia and Ukraine”.

During the Mass, Archbishop Gordon reminded us that we are to be “conduits of God’s peace” in the world. He says that while we pray for peace in Russia and Ukraine, this does not absolve us from our own actions that are sometimes so violent that it  adds to the violence of the world.

We are all sinners and contribute to the “bad” that is in the world. We need to find the way back to God. We must come to our Lady, undoer of knots, and pray and act for peace. See link to a Novena to her:

Download the full prayer for Pope Francis’ Act of Consecration in an easy-to-read format from CCSJ’s website –

He has rightly stated that “War is madness.” You will recall that on March 2, he renewed his invitation to people across the world to fast and pray on Ash Wednesday in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, “in order to be near to the suffering Ukrainian people, to be aware that we are all brothers and sisters, and to implore God for an end to the war”.

On March 23, he tweeted: “Let us ask the Lord of life to deliver us from war. Everything is lost with war. There is no victory in a war.

May the Lord send His Spirit to make us understand that war is a defeat of humanity.”

In his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship (FT), Pope Francis urges us to build a better, more just, and peaceful world. In order to do so, we need to raise our awareness of the issues that stand as obstacles to world peace. He says: “A love capable of transcending borders is the basis of what in every city and country can be called ‘social friendship.’ Genuine social friendship within a society makes true universal openness possible” (99, FT).

The IIR-CCSJ webinar on April 7 aims to assist us in this awareness-raising process.

Speakers at the webinar and their topics are as follows:


* Prof Katarzyna Pisarska, Chair, European Academy of Diplomacy

Topic: History/background and context of the Russia – Ukraine crisis.


* Sanjin Soldatic, Deputy Head of Delegation and Political Officer,  Delegation of the European Union to Trinidad and Tobago

Topic: The implications of the Russia – Ukraine crisis for migration and refugee issues in Europe.


* Archbishop Jason Gordon

Topic: The impact of the Russia – Ukraine crisis on Integral Human Development.


* Jewel Ali, Head of Office-Project Coordinator, International Organisation for Migration Trinidad and Tobago

Topic: The human rights of migrants and refugees and their violation in the Russia—Ukraine crisis.


* Leela Ramdeen, Chair of CCSJ and AMMR

Topic: Discrimination of non-nationals in the Russia – Ukraine crisis and the implications for cross border people-to-people exchanges.

Please join us.