About Us



UNANIMA Founder and former Coordinator Catherine Ferguson makes an intervention at the UN.


At the meeting of the 2000 US Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), Catherine Ferguson SNJM invited any interested religious congregations to form a coalition NGO to advocate at the United Nations on behalf of women and children. In December 2001 six congregations met to develop a mission statement, budget, and the name, UNANIMA International.  The name begins with “UN” to represent the United Nations, and the “ANIMA” is from the Latin word for feminine “spirit” or “life principle.” It not only indicates that the organization is bringing the feminine spirit to the UN, but (as it brings to mind the word, “unanimous”) that it represents a group acting with one heart and mind.


Coalition Coordinator Michele Morek (right) attends a session of the 60th Commission on the Status of Women alongside Celine Paramundayil, MMS.

June 2002 marked the official corporate beginnings of the new coalition as a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of New York. At the meeting in September 2002 the board chose a two-year focus, accepted the Bylaws, chose a logo, and reviewed the first website.

By the fall of 2004 UNANIMA International was accepted for UN Department of Public Information Status, and on 21 July 2005 received special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Click here to visit the NGO branch of ECOSOC for more information.



Former board member and Catherine Ferguson Scholar, Maria Antonieta Trimpay speaks at a prayer service in celebration of UNANIMA’s 10th Anniversary in 2011.


In gratitude for Catherine Ferguson’s decade of leadership, an internship program was begun in her name in 2011. Each year, UNANIMA accepts about four Catherine Ferguson Scholars to spend a semester serving the coalition from our headquarters in New York City.


As of spring 2016, UNANIMA had 21 member communities with over 22,000 members in more than 80 countries throughout the world.