November 16, 2005
Rome, Italy – St. John’s University Provost Julia A. Upton,
R.S.M., Ph.D. and Professors
Rev. Jean-Pierre Ruiz, S.T.D., Director of the Master of Arts
in Liberal Studies Program and Dr. Annalisa Saccà, Associate
Professor of Italian, traveled to Italy this past week to launch a
new two-year Master’s Program.
The program, a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies with a
concentration in Global Development and Social Justice, became a
reality with the signing of an articulation agreement by St. John’s
University and Caritas of Rome on November 7. Caritas is a
worldwide network of Roman Catholic relief, development, and social
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Dr. Upton and the St. John’s contingent met first with Cardinal
Camillo Ruini, Vicar of Pope Benedict XVI for the Vicariate of
Rome, at the Lateran Palace to explain specifics of the program.
Cardinal Ruini (who is President of the Honorary Committee for the
Global Development and Social Justice concentration) also expressed
the support of the Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops for this
initiative. The other co-sponsoring agencies in Italy
include: the Idente Study & Research Foundation, the Santa
Maria in Aquiro Foundation and the Tata Giovanni Foundation.
“I would like to thank all the partners in this effort as well
as St. John’s University for being able to dream together with us
about this worthy project,” said Idente Foundation President Father
José Ballesteros at a November 8 press conference in Rome.
The press conference took place in the Sala del Bologna at the
Senate of the Italian Republic. Caritas of Rome Research
Director Dr. Anna Clemente Rosi served as Master of Ceremonies for
the event, at which the speakers included Caritas Director
Monsignor Guerino Di Tora, St. John’s representatives Dr. Upton and
Father Ruiz; Father Ballesteros; Auxiliary Bishop Luigi Moretti,
Vicegerente of the Diocese of Rome; Dr. Paola Guerci, President of
the Santa Maria in Aquiro Foundation; and Dr. Anna Vittore of the
Tata Giovanni Foundation. Local and regional government
representatives also attended to express their support for this
“We have a history in Rome that began 10 years ago (with the St. John’s branch campus that offers M.B.A.
and M.A. programs since 1996) and are proud to expand our reach
with this wonderful program that will give students from all parts
of the globe a chance to study about social justice and develop
ways, with professional instruction by our faculty, to serve the
world with their learning,” Upton said.
“Everyone talks about globalization, but little attention has
been given to developing a spirituality of globalization,” said
Ruiz, who is directing this initiative. He added: “This
concentration is about developing an ethics of global solidarity
with its foundation in the Catholic Church’s emphasis on human
dignity and social justice.”
Caritas will fund 15 full scholarships each year for students
recruited from all parts of the globe, and five additional students
will be recruited by St. John’s University beginning in the summer
of 2006, for a total of 20 in each entering class.
The international group of students from Bolivia, Cameroon,
Chad, Kosovo, Philippines, Ghana, India, Thailand, Timor East,
Uganda and the United States will gather in Rome during summer 2006
for an orientation session which will kick off the two-year
concentration. Faculty teaching in the program will be drawn
from the schools and colleges of St. John’s University, with
additional adjunct faculty members who have been recommended by
Courses will be offered in person during summer sessions in
Rome, and via distance learning that will take advantage of the St.
John’s University Academic Computing
Initiative. Students in the Global Development and Social
Justice concentration will receive St. John’s University notebook
computers configured for wireless Internet access, and this will
make it possible for them to engage in e-learning from their
locations around the world.
Monsignor Di Tora spoke of the mission of Caritas and its
activities, and of how much the mission of Caritas and the mission
of St. John’s University have in common.
“I had my doubts until I visited St. John’s in New York in early
October. We have the same goals and are committed to bringing out
the social and human element of society which attracts us to the
curriculum in social justice and development that this master’s
program offers,” Di Tora added.
For more details on the new Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
concentration in Global Development and Social Justice, please call
Dominic Scianna, Director of Media Relations at 718-990-6185 or
e-mail requests for information to Master of Arts in Liberal
Studies Program Secretary Lois