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Notre Dame Schools delegation represents U.S. at global human fraternity conference in Abu Dhabi
TRAVELING TO TRANSFORM THE WORLD: Members of the Notre Dame Schools delegation to the global Celebration of Human Fraternity in Abu Dhabi include NDES student Peter Bates; freshman John Kellis; junior Elizabeth Dailey; freshmen Adam Kellis, Brian Bates, and Marysa Kellis; sophomore Sarah Dailey; senior Luke Petersen; junior Kelly McGraw; freshman Lauren McGraw; and NDES student Kate Williams.

Eleven students and seven adults from Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin and Notre Dame Elementary traveled to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last week to represent the United States at a global conference on human fraternity.

Even the Vatican News Agency took notice of our delegation's trip to the conference, which marked the one-year anniversary of the promulgation of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, which Pope Francis and the Grand Iman of Al-Azhar signed during the pope's historic visit to the UAE last February. 

    
  Junior Kelly McGraw engages in conversation with an educator from the UAE during the global conference on human fraternity in Abu Dhabi.
 
 
  Freshmen Brian Bates, Adam Kellis, and John Kellis chat with Ms. Becky Anderson, managing editor of CNN Abu Dhabi, following the conference program.
 
 
  Freshman Marysa Kelis and student delegates from around the world discuss how every person can work to promote world peace and human fraternity.

Our Notre Dame Schools were invited to represent the United States and the U.S. Catholic Church at the Abu Dhabi gathering by His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States. The UAE Embassy in Washington, DC, graciously funded the trip at no cost to NDCL or NDES.

Members of the delegation included senior Luke Petersen; juniors Elizabeth Dailey and Kelly McGraw; sophomore Sarah Dailey; freshmen Brian Bates, Adam Kellis, John Kellis, Marysa Kellis, and Lauren McGraw; and NDES students Kate Williams and Peter Bates.

Adults in the group were Notre Dame Schools President Dr. Michael Bates, Mr. Matt Dailey, Mrs. Kristin Dailey, Dr. Michael Kellis, Mr. Shawn McGraw, Mrs. Lisa Petersen, and Mrs. Barbara Williams.<

While in the UAE, the delegation visited Catholic and public K-12 schools as well as
New York University Abu Dhabi. The group's itinerary featured cultural and religious sites, including the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Linda Saranita McHugh '77, Chief Human Resource Officer for the Cleveland Clinic, the group also visited the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Mrs. McHugh is a member of the Notre Dame Schools Board of Directors.

“Pope Francis’ visit to the UAE last year showed the power of interfaith dialogue and religious inclusion,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba. “We hope our support for Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School opens doors to new connections and helps increase understanding.”

Last fall NDCL received a $250,000 donation from the UAE Embassy to help fund the purchase of new classroom furniture in every classroom. In addition to the furniture, the gift supports NDCL programs to encourage global engagement and interreligious dialogue.

“As a Catholic community, we are inspired by the pope’s example to engage in dialogue with other religious traditions,” said Dr. Bates, who with Principal Mr. Joseph A. Waler visited the UAE as guests of Ambassador Al Otaiba in November.

Prior to that trip, NDCL welcomed a delegation from the embassy to our campus in September. Embassy officials, Emirati college students, and NDCL students and educators watched The Peace Visit, a National Geographic documentary about Pope Francis' visit to the UAE as a springboard for conversations on how to promote peace in our world.

“Our relationship with the people of the United Arab Emirates supports our mission and is consistent with our desire to embrace diversity and inclusion, reminding us that we are all God’s children,” Dr. Bates explained.

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