Major new role for Sister Deirdre at UN

Sister Deirdre Mullan from Derry - new role at UN headquarters in New York.
Sister Deirdre Mullan from Derry - new role at UN headquarters in New York.

A Derry nun who has been representing the Mercy order at the United Nations headquarters in New York has just stepped into a major new role there - executive director of The Partnership for Global Education, involving 125 religious organisations.

She is Sister Deirdre Mullan, a member of the Sisters of Mercy (Ireland), who’s from a well-known family in Derry city.

Sister Deirdre has been Director of Mercy Global Concern and UN representative of the worldwide Mercy Congregations at the UN for more than ten years.

She told the ‘Journal’; “I feel honoured at this appointment, particularly because I am passionate about education and I firmly believe it is a way out of poverty. That’s the foundation of the work I’ve been doing to develop a network of schools around the globe to provide scholarships for children in the developing world. So far I’ve been involved in finding funds for the building and running of fourteen schools in different parts of the world.

“I’m delighted that my own home city has been very much part of this project - the very first of these schools was built in Cambodia with the help of Miss Marguerite Hamiliton of Thornhill College and Mrs. Pauline Mc Daid at St. Cecilia’s College, Derry. Later St. Columb’s College, St Mary’s College and St. Brigid’s College, working with schools across the USA, provided much-needed resources, including bicycles, so that rural children could come to school.

“The schools have been sustained with the help of many generous people in the Derry area, as well as the Derry–Donegal Partnership, with the support of Sr Ann Doherty and Gerry Mc Connell and friends.”

Sister Deirdre, who holds a PhD in the Feminization of Poverty, has worked for many years on how an education can make a difference in the lives of girls and all children born into and living in poverty. She works closely with UN personnel and Sisters on the ground, monitoring progress and providing scholarships which support and enable change to take place.

She is the youngest daughter of the late Charles and Sarah Mullan (nee Redden). Her brother Don Mullan is a writer, film producer and humanitarian worker who wrote the books ‘Eyewitness Bloody Sunday’ and ‘Gordon Banks - the hero who could fly’. Other brothers are Liam, a local businessman, and Cathal, a nurse living in Cambridge. Her sister Moya is also a teacher and worked for many years in Kenya.

Sister Deirdre attended Holy Child Primary School, Saint Eugene’s Girls School and Thornhill College and taught at both Saint Mary’s College and Thornhill College before her posting to the United Nations.