The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Social Justice Conference to be held

St. John’s University will hold the fifth biennial Vincentian Chair of Social Justice Conference, enttitled “The Just and Moral Society: From Ideal to Reality,” at Bent Hall on Saturday, October 13.

This one day conference calls together policy makers, faculty, service providers, church leaders and students in order to explore the foundations and criteria of a “Just and Moral Society.”

Since 1999, the Vincentian Center for Church and Society has hosted conferences that aim to create more than just intellectual dialogue within the University.

“It’s special because they bring in people committed to working with the poor and promoting social justice in the community and in the world,” said Mary Ann Dantuono, Associate Director of the Vincentian Center.

Students will have the opportunity to network among peers and faculty, while engaging in panel discussions, presentations, and exhibits.

The conference offers six workshops that focus on social issues and ways to eradicate poverty, but students can only attend two of the workshops.

“It’s not a pure academic conference,” added Dantuono, “but the idea is to find out what we have to do individually and collectively to make the world a better place.”

Following the workshops, a presentation titled “From 21 Century Slavery to Human Freedom: Call to Global Solidarity” will be delivered by Simon Aban Deng.

Deng, a refugee of southern Sudan, is the founder of the “Sudan Freedom Walk,” as well as a consultant to the United Nations Human Rights Council, in an effort to end slavery and the genocide in Sudan.

Other keynote presentations include Rev. John J. Coughlin, Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School.
Alongside panelists, Coughlin will discuss the ethical and legal concepts that frame the foundations of a Just and Moral Society, according to a university press release.

Panelists include Veronica M. White, the Executive Director of the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity and Oscar de Rojas, Director of the Financing for Development Office in the United Nations.

De Rojas was recently named Consultor to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Each presentation during the conference has a representative from one of the six colleges of the University to serve as the corresponding moderator.

According to a University press release, presentation themes include the rights and responsibilities of-systematic change through political participation, sustainable peace, health care, education, employment and security for women and children.
Those interested in attending the conference can register online at or on St. John’s Central.

The cost for the conference is $20, which also includes breakfast and lunch.

Junior Michael Russo stands behind his choice to attend the conference, despite the fact that it costs money.

“I’d like to know more about how to make a difference in peoples’ lives by the political process,” said Russo, “to find a balance between a moral society and individual freedom.”

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