September 30, 2015
In collaboration with NYU Global Spiritual Life, NYU Washington, DC and NYU Buenos Aires hosted a panel discussion on the theme: “Social Justice and Religion in the Age of Pope Francis”. The event will brought together community activists, religious leaders, policy makers and other stakeholders to discuss themes of social justice and interfaith collaboration.
Since his papalization, Pope Francis has been an advocate for underserved populations (the sick, the incarcerated, addicts, children, political refugees, and the youth) and has created a wave of new attention to social justice and climate issues in the global arena. This panel explored these issues from a multi-faith perspective and examined some of the challenges and triumphs of a faith-based response to social change.
Pope Francis visited the USA from September 22-27, 2015, and his itinerary revealed a balance between statesmanship, religious ceremony, and social action that is characteristic of his formation and decision. The majority of his work as Archbishop in Buenos Aires was not only to promote religious values but also to do hands on fieldwork himself in the poverty-ridden areas around the city. In this sense, the priests that worked then and still work today among the poor and marginalized are, for Pope Francis, a cause for continued dedication and constant preoccupation. Pope Francis has also given tangible and clear evidence that sharing a space of reflection and communication with other religious traditions around the world is of vital importance for an existential and political equilibrium.
Marina Artusa is a journalist doing a Ph.D. in Sociology at Univeristà di Bologna (Italy). She got a BA in Literature from Universidad Católica Argentina and a MS at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (US). She taught Journalism at New York University in Buenos Aires and this semester will give a workshop about Social Media and New Journalism. She is a Magazine Writing professor at the Master's program Clarin newspaper runs with Columbia University and Univesità di Bologna. Before moving to Italy in 2012, she was the Managing Editor for Clarin's Sunday Magazine, the largest publication in Argentina. Since then, she works for Clarin from Italy as one of its foreign correspondents.
Gustavo Oscar Carrara was born on May 24, 1973, in Buenos Aires. Though he was not yet a year old at the time, his life was marked by the 1974 paramilitary’s murder of an emblematic priest, Father Carlos Mugica, who had dedicated his life of service to the marginalized shantytown dwellers and to the “Priests for the Third World” movement. Gustavo entered the seminary in 1986 and was ordained a priest some 20 years ago. He has dedicated his life of service to the shantytown number 1-11-14, one of the poorest in Buenos Aires, where nearly 40,000 people live in miserable conditions. The parish is known “Santa Maria Madre del Pueblo,” and Gustavo inherited this mission and a community library from Father Rodolfo Ricciardelli, one of the first priests to choose to live in the shantytown along with the community they serve. Father Carrara lives in shantytown 1-11-14, and, in addition to his work with and for the community, he also is a mentor to younger priests who choose this path, such as Fathers Hernán Morelli and Nicolás Angellotti.
John spent nearly ten years as an education reporter before leaving journalism to blend his passion for writing, politics and faith. Previously, he served as Communications Director at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and was an Assistant Director for Media Relations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He has appeared on MSNBC, written for the National Catholic Reporter, Washington Post “On Faith,” U.S. Catholic,the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and is frequently quoted in national media outlets. John blogs about Catholic issues at Bold Faith Type. Catholic nuns, Jesuit priests and journalism professors at Columbia University taught John to think critically and seek justice. He believes that religion is infinitely complex and fascinating, especially when you throw politics into the mix. John enjoys helping faith leaders communicate in a sound-bite culture and broadening a values debate that has been distorted by the Religious Right. When he is away from the office, John and his wife Timi spend time chasing after their toddler, the indomitable Sophie Rose, going crazy at University of Maryland (Terps) basketball games and visiting family in Baltimore.
John has recently authored a book: The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope's Challenge to the American Catholic Church
Saif Inam is MPAC's Policy Analyst in the Washington, DC, office. A native of Atlanta, Inam has a bachelor's degree in Business Economics and Public Policy from George Washington University and a law degree from Georgia State University.
Inam's career experience includes time in both a federal agency and the legislative branch. Along with interning at the Department of the Interior, Inam has interned in both the House and Senate, most currently for civil rights-icon Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.
Inam engages members of Congress and their staff on legislation and current affairs, organizes briefings on various domestic and foreign policy issues for the Capitol Hill community, and creates memos and policy papers for policy-makers.
Since autumn 2012, Vicky Kiechel has taught Globalizing Social Activism: Sustainable Development in Urban Areas at New York University’s Washington, DC global site. An architect and DC native, Vicky serves as architect to organizations in need of affordable sustainable design, such as the Washington, DC Capitol Hill School Libraries Project and the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She also teaches sustainable design and urbanism at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC, where she received the Most Innovative Green Teacher of the Year award, and works for the Cadmus Group, a public good consultancy. Her areas of interest include the politics and design of public space, urban social movements, climate justice, and the role of human culture in sustainability.
Rabbi Ernesto Yattah is the Dean of the Abraham Joshua Heschel Rabbinical School at the Seminario Rabínico Lationamericano Marshall T. Meyer, where he also teaches Bible and Jewish Philosophy. Rabbi Yattah received his BA in Comparative Religions at Columbia University in 1987. He also received a BA in Bible and an MA in Judaic Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, where he also was also ordained as a rabbi in 1989. He worked as the Assistant and Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Yeshurun of Houston, Texas, between 1989 and 1998. He served as President of the Houston Rabbinical Association between 1996 and 1997. Back in his native Argentina, between 1999 and today, Rabbi Yattah has worked as a volunteer in different community settings, such as Chalom Community Center, where he served as its rabbi, and the New Home for the Elderly Ledor Vador as a member of its Founding Board of Directors. He participates actively of the Interreligious Dialogue in the City of Buenos Aires.