RMG – A new Salesian representative at the UN to carry forward activity to protect the most needy in institutional forums

10 August 2023

(ANS – Rome) – After five years of dedicated and attentive service as Representative of the Salesians of Don Bosco to the United Nations (UN), Fr Thomas Pallithanam has in recent weeks handed over to his Indian confrere Fr Mathew Thomas Panamkattu, who will replace him in this delicate and relevant position. On the occasion of this natural succession, the General Councillor for Youth Ministry, Fr Miguel Angel García Morcuende, has published a letter in the quarterly information bulletin of the Salesian representation at the UN, in which he pays tribute to Fr Pallithanam's service and takes the opportunity to recall the nature and significance of the Salesian action in protecting the weakest at international decision-making and institutional levels.

The General Councillor for Youth Ministry writes as follows:

Let me begin by quoting Fr. Timothy Ploch, SDB., “Since October 2018, Fr. Thomas has been an effective voice for those who have none at the highest global level. He has been a worthy channel of speaking truth to power by his strong advocacy for those groups usually left out of the global conversation: the young, the poor, women, displaced refugees.” (1st Quarter 2023 Newsletter- Salesians at the UN).

On behalf of the Rector Major and myself, I would like to express our sincere appreciation and thanks for the excellent work he has done. He has demonstrated a high degree of skill, responsibility, and enthusiasm for the Salesian mission. I particularly wish to congratulate him for his valuable collaboration and loyalty to the Salesian Congregation.

Fr. Thomas Pallithanam has identified essential elements of our advocacy work. Firstly, interaction (dialogue and/or confrontation) with decision-makers. Secondly, he has advocated for just relations, structural changes in society and the improvement of the situation of impoverished people, especially the youth.

The Rector Major has appointed a Salesian to succeed Fr. Thomas: Fr. Mathew Thomas Panamkattu from Bengaluru (Bangalore) Province, India (INK). He has a wealth of experience and was the National YaR Coordinator for 6 years and did a commendable job.

Our Salesian advocacy respects the experiences and perspectives of the people and groups most directly affected by injustice. Fr. Mathew Thomas will advocate for the poorest, the most marginalized, making their voices heard. Our option for the poorest young people leads us to judge the justice of structures, policies, and institutions by their impact on the reality of the most marginalized.

Our advocacy also values diversity and promotes inclusion. Our advocacy is done in collaboration with others who share our values, and by participating in networks and coalitions, we can advocate better together. Our advocacy considers differences across cultures and contexts rather than proposing one-size-fits-all approaches. Our advocacy creates connections between various levels of organization from local to international, and between different sectors or fields of action.

Our advocacy is based on communication, in a spirit of openness with all people of goodwill. Our advocacy programs always include evaluation to continuously learn how to serve better, without deviating from the mission of Don Bosco that has been entrusted to us.

Thank you very much for your commitment and availability, Fr. Thomas Pallithanam and Fr. Mathew Thomas!


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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