International conference to address plight of migrants

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Exploring the spiritual and physical needs, the suffering, and the contributions of Mexican migrants will be the focus of “Migration and Theology: An International Conference” Sept. 19 to 22 (Sunday to Wednesday) at the University of Notre Dame.p. Co-sponsored by Notre Dames Institute for Latino Studies and the Department of Theology, the conference will bring together scholars, clergy, lay workers, parishioners, migrants and social justice activists to address the plight of modern migrants, a largely unexplored theme in theology. “Migration and Theology” will provide information on the day-to-day reality of migrants, including their experiences in crossing the border, in order to guide pastoral efforts to welcome, serve and defend their human rights.p. The three-day conference will unite scholars from various fields to provide an interdisciplinary perspective on the cultural, political, economic, legal and social marginalization experienced by many Mexican immigrantsboth legal and illegalwho currently comprise 13 percent of the nations workforce.p. Among the invited speakers at the conference are:p. • Rev. Gustavo Gutiérrez, John Cardinal OHara Professor of Theology at Notre Dame and author of the foundational text for liberation theology, “A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation,” who will present a lecture titled “Poverty, Migration and Option for the Poor.”p. • Donald Kerwin, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the nations largest network of nonprofit immigration services, on “U.S. Immigration Policy: Perspectives and New Developments.”p. • Juan Rivera, associate professor of accountancy, and Lee Tavis, C.R. Smith Emeritus Professor of Finance, both of Notre Dame, on “The NAFTA Effect on Migration Movements of the Rural Poor: The Case of Mexico.”p. • Rev. Virgilio Elizondo, visiting professor in the Institute for Latino Studies and of theology at Notre Dame and an expert in U.S. Latino religious thought, on “Migration and ‘Mestizajé: Struggles and Challenges of the Children of Immigrants.”p. • Jorge Bustamante, Eugene Conley Professor of Sociology at Notre Dame; Juan Méndez, president of the International Centre for Transitional Justice and professor of law at Notre Dame; Claudia Smith, founder of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation; and Graziano Battistella, director of the Scalabrini International Migration Institute in Rome, on “Human Rights and the Right to Migrate.”p. A complete schedule of speakers and events for the conference is available on the Web at .p. p.

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