Paul Farmer to speak on international aid and accompaniment

Author: Elizabeth Rankin

Paul Farmer speaks at a Kellogg Institute event Paul Farmer speaks at a Kellogg Institute event

Renowned physician and anthropologist Dr. Paul Farmer, widely known for his work on global health, human rights and the consequences of social inequality, will deliver the lecture “Taking up the Challenges of Poverty: Why Accompaniment Matters” at 7 p.m. April 19 (Tuesday). Hosted by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, the lecture is free and open to the public. It will be held in DeBartolo Hall, Room 101, with a reception to follow in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies Great Hall.

In his address, Farmer, the co-founder and chief strategist of Partners In Health (PIH), will describe his 30-year journey of innovation in global health. In particular, he will discuss “accompaniment,” a model for international development that promotes sustainable partnerships and investment in local and national institutions.

“Accompaniment begins most simply with the idea of walking with those in need, with radical implications for individuals, the aid community and the policy arena,” said Kellogg Director Paolo Carozza.

“Introduced to him through the work of our own Father Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P., this notion of accompaniment has long inspired Paul Farmer and infuses the broader work of Partners In Health. We have a remarkable opportunity to learn from his inspirational work, and together collaborate in an ongoing dialogue and book project.”

The public lecture is the culmination of “From Aid to Accompaniment,” a three-day series of interrelated events hosted by the Kellogg Institute. Convening innovators of the accompaniment approach, the series investigates the policy and practice of accompaniment as a transformative paradigm for foreign assistance.

A select group of scholars and practitioners will discuss a book manuscript that uses the concept of accompaniment to re-envision the delivery of foreign aid. Authored by Farmer and other practitioners, the volume is edited by Kellogg Executive Director Steve Reifenberg and Jennie Weiss Block, chief adviser to Farmer.

“Putting accompaniment into practice is not easy,” said Reifenberg. “It has been tremendously rewarding to partner with Paul Farmer, PIH and other practitioners and scholars as we attempt to articulate what accompaniment means in the lives of practitioners and the people they serve. We think this will be an inspirational volume, which will help individuals and institutions to operationalize accompaniment in practice.”

In 2011, Farmer accepted what is now known as the Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Human Development and Solidarity on behalf of Partners In Health. Presented by the Kellogg Institute’s Ford Program, the award honors individuals or organizations that stand in solidarity with those in deepest need. The ceremony allowed him to reconnect with Father Gustavo and led to an ongoing dialogue. The results include “In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez” (Orbis, 2013) as well as the current “From Aid to Accompaniment” project.

In addition to his work with PIH, Farmer is Kolokotrones University Professor and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and U.N. special adviser to the secretary-general on Community-Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti. He earned his Ph.D. and M.D. at Harvard University.

The Kellogg Institute for International Studies, an integral part of the University of Notre Dame’s new Keough School of Global Affairs, is an interdisciplinary community of scholars and students from across the University and around the world that promotes research, provides educational opportunities and builds links related to two topics critical to our world — democracy and human development.

Contact: Beth Simpson Hlabse, Kellogg Institute, 574-631-0663,