Tag Archives: Conference

Recap and Response: New Approaches to International Food Security: On-the-ground Perspectives

By: Hannah Fort ‘20

International food security was one of the key issues addressed at the Reduce World Hunger: Pope Francis’ Call for New Approaches conference on September 28 th , 2018. Bill O’Keefe, the Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy at Catholic Relief Services (CRS), addressed this topic directly. He believes that integrated approaches should be the future of how organizations look at food security; multi-sectoral, multi-year programs are most needed but current programs are not set up to provide this.

Instead of working with households one-by-one, CRS has developed an Integral Human Development Framework which they hope to use to influence the systems and structures that households operate within. These systems and structures need to function in a way that allows people to thrive. CRS focuses on the most vulnerable people to help them find a pathway to prosperity. The issue threatening the food security of poor families and farmers worldwide is climate change, which needs long-term,
integrated methods. While emergency assistance is a part of what CRS does, they are looking for new approaches such as direct cash transfers in refugee camps, which they believe will help preserve human dignity.

Mr. O’Keefe giving on-the-ground perspectives in approaching the problem of food insecurity

Addressing climate change as a driver of food insecurity is imperative. Looking at the problem on a country-by-country basis has allowed CRS to implement programs that are geared towards the culture and the people. In Malawi, one of the world’s most densely populated and underdeveloped countries, CRS has implemented the Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) program. They have had around 250,000 participants so far and seen a 65% increase in organic growing matter. The El
Salvador Cacao Alliance has helped farmers recover from the loss of their coffee crop due to disease and insects sped along by climate change. Working together with the Salvadoran government on horticulture policy, 6,500 farmers are looking to plant the traditional cacao trees across 16,000 acres of land. Speaking on the sustainability of these projects, Bill O’Keefe says that the goal is to, “build a  capacity for support not dependent on us.”

Bill O’Keefe also offered his thoughts on impact investing. Taking private capital and investing it towards the world’s poorest, especially in health, youth employment, migrants/refugees, and climate change can make a big difference. Countries need to work together on these issues in an integrated way or we will never get ahead of the problem and always be chasing solutions.

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International Project: The Value of Human Rights on the Camino de Santiago

By: Robyn Emory Murray ’18

The Fordham delegation leaving on their first day of the Camino

Last month, three IPED students were invited to join the International Project on “The Value of Human Rights on the Camino de Santiago: Harnessing the power of tourism to promote cross-cultural dialogue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Benjamin Boltz (IPED ’19), Owen Fitzgerald (IPED ’18), Robyn Emory Murray (IPED ’18), and Evan Soloman (M.A., Ethics and Society), were chosen by Dr. Melissa Labonte to participate in the program, which consisted of three phases: online learning modules, walking the Camino de Santiago, and the concluding forum.

IPED students with Provost Freedman

The focus of the program, organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Helsinki España University Network, and the Compostela Group of Universities, was to reflect on human rights, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the value of tourism in achieving those goals. “Walking the Camino was incredible. The idea that people had been walking to Santiago de Compostela for hundreds of years along the routes that we were taking created this tangible connection with history and, for me, Christianity what I had never experienced before.” – Robyn Emory Murray

Owen, Evan, Robyn, and Axelle (KU Leuven) arrive in Santiago de Compostela

Student Owen Fitzgerald ’18 reflects: “Ultimately, this initiative helped me to garner broader knowledge of these rights that are intrinsic to all human beings and to gain a deeper understanding of the impact cross-cultural dialogue can have, especially in the context of tourism. For me, each of the 81 miles hiked served as an opportunity to reflect on these topics with other impassioned students – together on the same journey toward ensuring a more free and peaceful world.”

Countryside in Galicia, Spain

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Enrico La Viña ’19 Presented Research in Chicago

By: Enrico Antonio La Viña ’19

On 6 April 2018, I presented a poster on my research entitled “­­The Varieties of Populism in Southeast Asia: Comparing the Electoral Victories of Duterte and Widodo” at the annual Midwestern Political Science Association (MPSA) conference in Chicago. MPSA is a four-day academic conference, and it is one of the largest political science conferences in the world. The poster presentation was based on a paper that I wrote for my Comparative Political Analysis class under Dr. Ida Bastiaens.

Enrico presented his research on Southeast Asian Populism.

In my paper, I account for the differences in the populist practices of Joko Widodo of Indonesia and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. I argue that the level of confidence that voters have in the established democratic system is linked with the kind of populism that will emerge. An anti -establishment populist such as Duterte is more likely to succeed if citizens have become disillusioned with the system. Conversely, a relatively reformist populist such as Widodo is more likely to be elected if there is enough trust in the system. This paper addresses two gaps in the literature on populism. First, the populists of Asia do not neatly fit into the right-wing/left-wing populist typology. Second, most often cited explanations for populism– socio-economic inequality and cultural backlash– do not explain the variation in campaign promises regarding a revolt or reform of the system.

Enrico presented at the 76th Annual MPSA Conference.

This conference contributed in three ways to my professional development. First, I hope to eventually publish this study in an academic journal. The feedback I received will be of immense value as I prepare this study for publication. Second, I observed and interacted with prominent political scientists from around the world. I was therefore able to attend insightful presentations, understand recent developments in the field, and expand my network. Lastly, the experience of preparing for and delivering a presentation at a high-level conference will be invaluable in the future.

Attending this conference so early on in my academic career will certainly pay dividends in the long-run. I was honored to represent the FordhamInternational Political Economy and Development Program in the conference.

Enrico stands with the poster he presented in Chicago.

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An Ethical Compass for the Digital Age

March 15th-17th, 2018, Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice (CAPP) Foundation and Fordham University co-sponsored a conference with the theme “An Ethical Compass for the Digital Age”. The goal of the conference was to define, in practical terms, the role of ethics and Catholic Social Teaching in today’s economy. Business and professional leaders gathered together with academic economists and experts on Catholic Social Teaching to discuss the topic in depth. They discussed the role of data, communication in media, and a responsibility to the common good. The conference ended with the presentation of a draft framework on how the Church can respond to ethical issues of the digital age, with a focus on consumer ownership of data, possible regulations, and conversations around digital ethics. The results of this conference can prompt conversation and action within Catholic populations throughout the world.

  

    

 

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