Conference responds to global efforts to care for the planet and the poor

Author: Joan Fallon

For the Planet and the Poor

For the Planet and the Poor, the first major conference organized by the University of Notre Dame’s new Keough School of Global Affairs, will open with a keynote panel, “A Surprising Convergence, a Moment of Opportunity,” at 6 p.m. on April 4 (Monday) in Jordan Auditorium, Mendoza College of Business.

Keynote speakers will include Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs; Most Rev. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the Holy See; A. Atiq Rahman, executive director, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies; Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University; and Sara Sievers, Keough School Associate Dean for Policy and Practice.

The conference will continue April 5-6 (Tuesday-Wednesday) with a series of panels in the auditorium of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies. These panels will feature more than 30 speakers from the academy and the worlds of development policy and practice, government, the Church and other faith-based organizations. Speakers will address global economic development, sustainability, global health, ecology and faith, quality education, the role of universities, and global partnerships.

According to Appleby, the conference was inspired by the convergence, in 2015, of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, with the adoption by the United Nations of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“This is a remarkable moment in the history of global efforts to eliminate extreme poverty and preserve the natural environment," said Appleby.

“Never before have international development organizations, governments, the Church and other religious organizations been so closely aligned in a campaign to address some of the most daunting challenges facing humanity and the planet.

“This conference will bring together students and faculty with leading thinkers to reflect on the events of the previous year and chart a way forward.”

For the Planet and the Poor is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend the whole conference or individual sessions.

In keeping with Notre Dame’s mission to place scholarship in service to the common good, the new Keough School of Global Affairs will prepare students for effective and ethical leadership in governments, international organizations and the private sector.

Contact: Michael Talbot, Keough School of Global Affairs, 574-631-7667,