Dean of Canterbury announces closer collaboration with the United Nations’ humanitarian agenda

The Very Reverend Dr. Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury paid a courtesy call to His Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki–moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York on 27 October 2015.  The Dean of Canterbury also met with Mr. Amir Dossal, President and CEO of the Global Partnerships Forum, with aims to develop a strategy to help further the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals.  The GPF is honoured to be working with the Canterbury Cathedral to develop a global outreach strategy that will engage faith-based communities in concrete action to achieve the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

You can read the full press release below:

Dean of Canterbury announces closer collaboration with the United Nations’ humanitarian agenda

CANTERBURY, England and NEW YORK, USA – October 30, 2015 – The Very Reverend Dr. Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury, met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday 27th October 2015, to discuss areas of mutual collaboration between the United Nations and Canterbury Cathedral, the Mother Church of the world-wide Anglican Communion comprising 85 million Christians across the world.

The Secretary-General very graciously welcomed the engagement of the Anglican Communion in the work of the United Nations.  He underscored the importance and ambition of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) adopted at the United Nations Summit in September 2016.  The SDGs address major global challenges facing society, including poverty, hunger, inequality, injustice and conflicts, climate, etc.  The Secretary-General under-scored the importance of dialogue, mutual respect and understanding of peoples and cultures from around the world.   He stressed the importance of strong leadership and positive engagement, especially the role of faith based communities, pointing out that in the current economic and political environment religious leaders had a major role.  It was very important for leaders of all faiths to work together to help the underprivileged.  Issues of poverty, hunger, education, health, environment and climate change can best be addressed through partnerships and alliances.  In this regard he welcomed the commitment of the Anglican Church to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as Climate Change, pointing out that 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have a direct impact on the climate and the environment.  He thus looks forward to working with the international community in attaining a positive outcome at the Paris Summit later this year. 

The Very Revd. Dr. Robert Willis thanked the Secretary-General for taking the time to meet with him and assured him that the Anglican Church remains steadfastly committed to supporting the UN’s humanitarian agenda.  Dr. Willis mentioned that members of the Anglican Episcopal family have deep spiritual values in helping men, women and children throughout the world and that its social mission is very closely aligned with that of the United Nations.  Over the years its members have both funded and supported many projects and programmes to address inequities and inequalities around the world.

Dr. Willis thanked the Secretary-General for his words of appreciation and assured him that his message would resonate very positively among Anglicans across the world.  He briefed the Secretary-General that Canterbury Cathedral in its regular courses brings together current and future Church leaders from around the world, and that such a forum would be a good way to convey the UN’s message for peace and harmony in the world.  

Dr. Willis further stated that Canterbury Cathedral would work with the Global Partnerships Forum, under the leadership of its President and CEO, Mr. Amir Dossal, to develop a global advocacy and outreach strategy to support the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including climate change.  This effort would be a way to engage the Anglican Communion, as well as other faith based communities, to raise awareness of the UN’s challenges and opportunities, and highlight the need for concrete action to address imbalances in society, by ‘investing’ in the underprivileged.  Such an approach could serve as a building block for creating harmonious societies.

Separately, The Very Revd. Dr. Willis expressed his deep appreciation for the work of Lady Sondes and the Lees Court Estate in focusing attention on the global development agenda.  He and Mr. Dossal reaffirmed that The Countess Sondes would be key to the international diplomacy process.


Canterbury Cathedral, Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  The Cathedral is both a holy place and part of a World Heritage Site.  It is the home of a community of people who seek to make the Cathedral a place of welcome, beauty and holiness.

About the Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion is an international association of churches consisting of the Church of England and of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with it.  The status of full communion means, ideally, that there is mutual agreement on essential doctrines and that full participation in the sacramental life of each church is available to all communicant Anglicans.

The Anglican Alliance is a platform for those across the Anglican Communion who work for a world free of poverty and injustice, to be a voice for the voiceless, to reconcile those in conflict, and to safeguard the earth.  It is an excellent example of how co-operative working and sharing across the Anglican/Episcopal world can amplify impact and positive change.

The Global Partnerships Forum is a unique not-for-profit knowledge platform, providing changemakers with the tools to build innovative partnerships.  It convenes thought leaders and practitioners from across sectors to address challenges around the world and foster economic growth.  Working to support the goals and objectives of the United Nations, the GPF aspires to move the needle from aid to investment—using the power of partnerships—to accelerate achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

The Lees Court Estate has been described as the finest Estate in Kent, and has been in the Sondes family for the past 700 years.  Lees Court Estate is managed in a way that respects the local community and Church, acknowledging that it provides important jobs and homes for many families and above all ensuring that this way of life is able to continue. 

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