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Fordham Event Will Help Shape Vatican Views on Global Poverty and Development


On Sept. 26, high-level church officials—including the Vatican secretary of state—will come to Fordham for a two-day conference that will help inform Pope Francis about the needs of the developing world.

The conference, “Poverty and Development: A Catholic Perspective,” is one of three being cosponsored around the world by Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, the Vatican foundation created by St. John Paul II to promote Catholic social teaching.

Representatives from each of the three conferences will present findings to Pope Francis in the spring.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state for the Holy See.
Photo credit: Wikicommons

The conference will highlight poverty and development issues raised by the pontiff and help the Catholic community decide how best to address them, said Henry Schwalbenberg, Ph.D., associate professor of economics and director of Fordham’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development, which is co-sponsoring the event.

“It’s to inform each other about what’s going on, say in Haiti, or in Syria, or Rwanda, and how we should be responding—are we doing enough, are we not doing enough, should we really be thinking more about this?” he said. “It’s trying to highlight these issues for the leadership of the church, and for everybody else in the church.”

The first conference was held in Rome and the third will be held in Dublin, Ireland, Schwalbenberg said. The Fordham conference, taking place at the Corrigan Conference Center on the Lincoln Center campus, begins at noon Friday, Sept. 26, and lasts through Saturday, Sept. 27. Ticket information and a schedule are posted online at the registration page for the event. See also Fordham’s online notice for alumni.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state for the Holy See, will speak at a dinner event being held Friday evening at Inside Park at St. Bart’s restaurant on Park Avenue.

Presentations will be given by church officials as well as scholars and experts from Fordham and elsewhere. Speakers include Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, C.S., GSAS ’67, papal nuncio to the UN in Geneva; and Roméo Dallaire, who was commander of UN peacekeeping forces during the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s.

Speakers will talk about the response to emergencies in the developing world, the Catholic view of development, immigration issues, and other topics. Metropolitan Jean Clément Jeanbart, archbishop of Aleppo, Syria, will speak about humanitarian responses to the crisis in Syria.


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