Oct 04, 2016
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
Moldovan ambassador Natalia Gherman, a candidate for election as United Nations secretary-general, has highlighted the potential of faith-based organizations such as the Seventh-day Adventist Church to promote peace, development, and human rights around the world. In her comments, made during a visit to the Adventist world church headquarters earlier this month, Gherman praised the church’s global commitment to health care, education and humanitarian assistance.
“I believe the potential not only of the private sector, but also of the non-governmental sector, is not now being used sufficiently,” she told a group of Adventist leaders. “Organizations such as yours represent a lot of resources and expertise, without which I believe we will never deliver the UN’s sustainable development goals and human rights agenda.”
Gherman is a former foreign minister and deputy prime minister for the eastern European country of Moldova, located between Romania and Ukraine. As a career diplomat she has held many key posts throughout Europe, and at one time represented Moldova to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
During her visit to the Adventist Church headquarters, Gherman spoke candidly about the hardships her country has faced in the decades since it gained independence following the breakup of the Soviet Union. “In spite of our rich history and heritage, we had to start from scratch 25 years ago and to build a state anew—and it’s not an easy task,” she said. “We started from extreme poverty and have only recently reached the status of a middle income country.” This experience, she said, parallels that of many nations around the world still struggling to establish political and economic stability. Grappling with these challenges within her own country, she added, has strengthened her commitment to promoting global security and development through the UN.
Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, also addressed the group saying that he had been impressed by the ambassador’s clear commitment to serving humanity, as well as her breadth of understanding and humility of spirit.
He shared with Gherman a passage from Scripture, which, he said, provides essential guidance for those who hold high office. “And what does the Lord require of you?” said Wilson, quoting from Micah 6:8. “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Ganoune Diop, public affairs and religious liberty director for the Adventist world church, gave Gherman an overview of the Church’s portfolio of services. “These, which we offer to the whole human family, reveal remarkable intersections with many of the goals and values of the United Nations,” he said. He noted the church’s global network of schools and educational institutions, its hospitals and medical centers, and its more than a century of promoting religious freedom as a fundamental human right.