by: Patrick Fernandez ’20

Last March 13, Fordham IPED hosted the Swanstrom-Baerwald Award Ceremony. Together with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Fordham awarded John Briggs (IPED ’09) in honor of his work in the service of faith through the promotion of international peace and development in Guatemala. He is currently the head of programming for Catholic Relief Services in Guatemala where he leads CRS’s work in sustainable agriculture, nutrition, emergency response, education, youth development, and migration in the country.

The ceremony started with an opening prayer from Rev. Fr. Jose-Luiz Salazar SJ, director of Fordham’s Campus Ministry.

Fr. Salazar leading the prayer for the ceremony. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

University President, Rev. Fr. Joseph McShane SJ, gave the welcome remarks highlighting how the work of John Briggs at CRS is close to the heart and mission of Fordham.

Fr. McShane delivering his opening remarks. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Dr. Schwalbenberg, director of the IPED Program, then introduced the award. Established in honor of Bishop Edward E. Swanstrom and his mentor Prof. Friedrich Baerwald, the award celebrates over a decade of collaboration between Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED) and serves to honor their legacy.

Dr. Schwalbenberg introducing the award. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

His Excellency, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, officially conferred the award to Mr. John Briggs.

Abp. Auza conferring the award to Mr. Briggs. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Mr. Briggs then gave his lecture about his work in Guatemala highlighting the challenges faced by the region, but also the hope for its future. He talked about the severe droughts and floods, but also of the resilience and multidimensional work being done in the region.

Mr. John Briggs giving his lecture on CRS and Guatemala. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Closing remarks were given by Ms. Maureen McCullough, CRS Northeast Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. She emphasized on the importance of the anniversaries of Fordham IPED, of CRS, and of the partnership between the two institutions.

Ms. McCullough giving the closing remarks. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

A dinner reception, then followed at the Butler Commons of Duane Hall.

Dinner Reception at Butler Commons

The Fr. John F. Hurley SJ Commendation award was also given to Tom Dobbins (Fordham Law ’90) for his work as Justice and Peace Coordinator for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

Tom Dobbins receiving the Fr. John F. Hurley SJ Commendation Award

New York Seminarians, Matthew Breslin and Deacon Walter Genito was also awarded the Fordham-CRS Travel Fellowship to Malawi and Ghana to witness and study the incredible work done by CRS in those regions.

Seminarian Matthew Breslin receiving the Fordham-CRS Travel Fellowship