On Tuesday Istituto Acton, the Acton Institute’s Rome office, completed its two-day PovertyCure conference for seminarians and faculty of the Pontifical Urban College in Rome. The conference served as part of the students’ pastoral formation before the academic year begins next week.
The event also marked the first full and official screening of the PovertyCure DVD Series in the Italian language. Episodes 1-4 of the DVD Series were shown on day one of the conference, Sept. 29, and Episodes 5-6 were featured the next day.
Chairman of the PovertyCure Advisory Council, Michael Matheson Miller, and Istituto Acton Director, Kishore Jayabalan, served as conference hosts, giving overviews of each DVD Series episode, the project, and Acton’s mission, and answering a variety of questions from the audience.
Rector of the Pontifical Urban College, Msgr. Vincenzo Viva, moderated the discussion, which gravitated towards such topics as the effects of paternalistic colonialism, the false correlations of high populations with high poverty, Malthusian predictions about overpopulation, the zero-sum fallacy, networks of exchange, import substitution/protectionism, global markets, and above all debate about the effects of international aid and secular humanitarianism.
Students also commented on the “types” of poverty in developed and developing countries and their causes, and the importance of institutions of justice, free association, free exchange, and private property being rooted in a moral ecology. The importance of uniting charity with the truth about the causes of poverty, inspired from Benedict XVI’s Charity in Truth (Caritas in Veritate) encyclical, was also covered.
First-hand insights from these students, all of whom come from developing countries, made for a powerful experience and an in-depth discussion of the causes of poverty, wealth creation, and the basic foundations that allow humans to flourish. We congratulate Istituto Acton on a great event and look forward to further collaboration with students and educators in Italy and abroad.
This article is cross-posted from the PovertyCure Blog.