Paul Farmer, Rev. Gustavo Gutiérrez to launch 'In the Company of the Poor' book

Author: Elizabeth Rankin

Paul Farmer, left, and Rev. Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P. Paul Farmer, left, and Rev. Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P.

A pioneer in global health and a path-breaking theologian explore their common option for the poor in a new book drawn from their respective writings, using as a springboard public and private conversations hosted by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez” (Orbis Press, 2013) will have its public launch at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 (Tuesday) in McKenna Hall Auditorium on the Notre Dame campus. The book discussion is open to the public and will be available by live stream. Students at dozens of colleges and universities across the country are planning to attend remotely.

“What is really exciting about this book is that it features a dialogue between two giant figures in their fields — Farmer in global health and Gutiérrez in liberation theology,” said Kellogg Institute Executive Director Steve Reifenberg. “It offers those who know of the work of one the opportunity to learn about the work of the other. Both have so much to teach us about human development.”

"In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez

The book came about in no small part because of a fortuitous encounter on the Notre Dame campus.

When Farmer accepted the Notre Dame Award for International Human Development and Solidarity on behalf of Partners In Health in spring 2011, he had the opportunity to reconnect with one of his heroes — Rev. Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P., the John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Theology and a Kellogg Institute faculty fellow, whose work had long inspired his own.

That fall, Farmer returned for a public dialogue with Gutiérrez arranged by the Kellogg Institute, “Re-imagining Accompaniment: Global Health and Liberation Theology.” That discussion, which continued in the days that followed, forms the core of the new work.

Introduced by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Farmer will present the book at the launch with commentary by Gutiérrez, Orbis Books editor-in-chief Robert Ellsberg and Ophelia Dahl, the executive director and cofounder, with Farmer, of Partners In Health. (See speaker biographies here.)

The book launch is not the end of Farmer and Gutiérrez’s collaboration. They will also take part in a workshop for scholars and practitioners of international development to discuss Farmer’s concept of “accompaniment” as the guiding principle for engagement with the poor around the world. A future book, tentatively titled “From Aid to Accompaniment,” is planned.

Contact: Steve Reifenberg, Kellogg Institute Executive Director, 574-631-0517,