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Conference discusses justice

Mel Flanagan | Friday, March 1, 2013

This weekend’s 30th anniversary of the Africa Faith and Justice Network conference will highlight the plight of people in Africa, Rev. Bob Dowd, director of the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity, said.

“It’s a great way to learn about important issues that affect the quality of life of people in Africa,” he said. “It’s an important way to learn about how we can make a difference through our advocacy.”

The conference, titled “Justice for Africa – Justice for the World,” will take place at Notre Dame today through Sunday for the second time in the conference’s history.

Dowd said the Africa Faith and Justice Network considered many factors when it decided to hold the conference at Notre Dame, particularly its position as a leading university.

“To hold a conference at our University is something the AFJN leadership thought would be important because they really wanted the conference to engage young people in the work of AFJN and involve young people to be a part of it,” he said.

Additionally, Dowd said the Congregation of the Holy Cross is an organizational member of AFJN. Notre Dame also has a student chapter of AFJN.

“Universities are places where people devote themselves to learning and understanding,” Dowd said. “Part of AFJN’s mission is to promote awareness and a greater understanding of the challenges that face the people of Africa.

The conference will feature several speakers and workshops outlining quality of life issues in Africa, Dowd said. Emira Woods, co-director of Foreign Ppolicy In focus at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., will deliver the keynote address this evening.

“It’s a great way to grow in understanding and also begin to explore how we might act in order to promote greater justice in our world,” Down said. “I think growing in understanding is the first step.”

The Kellogg Institute, the Center for Social Concerns, the Holy Cross Mission Center, the Institute for Church Life, the College of Arts and Letters and the Department of Africana Studies are sponsoring the conference.

“I would invite everyone to the conference, especially people who have the slightest interest in Africa and how the U.S. relates to Africa and African countries,” Dowd said.