October 13, 2009
Rev. Drew Christiansen, H.E. Mr.
Oscar de Rojas and a Live Concert by National Performing Artists
The Vincentian Chair of Social Justice Sixth Biennial Poverty
Conference will convene on October 17 at St. John’s University’s
Queens campus. The conference titled, “Extreme Wealth and Poverty
and the ‘Virtue of Enough,’” will utilize lectures, workshops and
panel discussions that will include International Ambassadors and
St. John’s faculty during the day-long program from 9:00 a.m. –
4:30 p.m. Registration is still open.
Highlights include opening presentations by two experts in the
field of social justice and development– Rev. Drew Christiansen,
S.J., Editor-in-Chief of America, and H.E. Mr. Oscar de Rojas,
former Director, United Nations Financing for Development.
“We are thrilled to have such accomplished speakers as keynoter’s
to share their wisdom and insight at this year’s conference,” said
Sr. Margaret John Kelly, D.C., Executive Director for the
Vincentian Center for Church and Society at St. John’s University.
“It is fitting that this event coincides with the celebration of
the 350th anniversary of the deaths of St. Vincent de Paul and St.
Louise de Marillac – who worked with all classes to assure “enough”
for poor and marginalized persons.”
conference agenda will culminate with a unique closing to the day’s
activities featuring national performing artists Elizabeth and
Joseph Mahowald. The husband and wife couple will stage a live
Social Justice Concert to “Engage the Imagination” – with
appropriate Broadway music and lyrics that draw hearts and minds to
the common good.
“We had several conversations with the Vincentian Center at St.
John’s about creating a concert based on Catholic social justice
issues,” said Joseph Mahowald, regarding the creation of this
special performance for the Biennial Poverty Conference. “It was a
challenge because social justice is such a broad area and we only
have a short amount of time to tell the story with our performance.
My boldest hope is that the participants in the conference find a
renewed sense of duty and drive for their passion for justice. –
and take a short journey with us to reignite that passion.”
Rev. Drew Christiansen will speak to "the cultural forces that have
brought us to this current ethical crisis and the challenge of the
Christian virtue of 'enough.” Editor-in-Chief of the national
Jesuit weekly America since 2005, Father Christiansen is a
recognized authority on Catholic Social Ethics and has been an
important part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
efforts to educate Catholics and promote peace and environmental
de Rojas will lecture on "Poverty and Wealth and The Hope of Just
and Integral Development in a Globalizing World." He recently
retired after serving for 10 years as the first Director of the
Financing for Development Secretariat in the United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Before joining the U.N.,
Mr. de Rojas served for 27 years in the Venezuelan Foreign Service,
attaining the rank of Ambassador. He held senior-level posts
in his country’s diplomatic missions at the U.N. headquarters in
N.Y., Geneva and Paris, as well as in the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs itself in Caracas.
Following the keynote presentations, a panel of UN Ambassadors will
discuss perspectives on “Global Awareness, The Financial Crisis,
MDG’s and People Who Are Poor.” Afternoon workshops will allow
participants to engage in dialogue with experts in the field of
Credit, the Environment, Measuring Poverty, Literacy, Migration and
Mental Health in these stressful times.
Six St. John’s University faculty members will moderate and conduct
these workshops for the conference. They include: Vincent
DiLorenzo, J.D.(Law), Raphael Javier, Ph.D. (Psychology), Brett
Blake, Ph.D. (Education) Sue Ford, Ph.D. (Pharmacy), Jean-Pierre
Ruiz, S.T.D. (Theology) and Charles Clark, Ph.D.
In this current financial crisis, many are asking, “How much is
enough?” “Is there enough for all?” The conference examines the
global financial crisis from an ethical and economic perspective
and accepts the challenge of Pope Benedict in “Caritas in Veritate”
to shape a new vision for the future. Living with “enough” will be
possible and necessary in the “new “globalization. Continuing the
mission of Saints Vincent and Louise, the afternoon workshops
showcase efforts to address systemic poverty, and analyze models of
social transformation and integral development through the paradigm
of Catholic Social Thought.
More details on the Sixth Annual Biennial Poverty Conference can be
obtained by visiting the Vincentian Center for Church and Society
web site at http://vincenter.org
or by calling (718) 990-1612. Media interested in attending the
Biennial Poverty Conference can contact Elizabeth Reilly, Assistant
Media Relations Director by calling (718) 990-5789 or e-mail
inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.