Center President at Vatican Conference on Encyclical Laudato Si and CIDSE 50th Anniversary

Center of Concern | Tue, Aug 11, 2015

By Center of Concern
Source: Center of Concern

Center of Concern President Dr. Lester A. Myers attended the conference, “People and Planet First: The Imperative to Change Course,” at the Vatican from July 1st through 3d to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité (CIDSE) and to discuss issues of integral ecology in the wake of the publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si. The Center is the United States representative to CIDSE, an international alliance of 17 Catholic development agencies based in Brussels working together for global justice. The founding of CIDSE occurred in the final weeks of Vatican Council II and the alliance and its members have served the Church and the world to help implement the council’s vision for a more just global community.

On July 1st, Dr. Myers and chief executives of many of CIDSE’s members attended a press conference at the Holy See Press Centre, where CIDSE Secretary General Bernd Niles, CIDSE President Heinz Hödl, and others joined Vatican Press Secretary Federico Lombardi, S.J., to discuss the Holy Father’s message about integral ecology and this milestone for CIDSE before the international media. 
Over the following two days, Dr. Myers participated with almost 200 delegates from CIDSE members and other organizations from around the world in the conference itself, at the Augustinianum across the street from St. Peter’s Square. In a continuation of its leadership service on social justice matters, CIDSE co-hosted the event with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which oversaw the drafting and publication of the encyclical. Speakers at the gathering included the council’s president, Cardinal Peter Turkson; Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin; former Irish President Mary Robinson; and other governmental, religious, and thought leaders from around the world.
The attendees participated in a special mass in a park overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica on the evening of July 2d, with Cardinal Turkson and about 15 bishops and priests presiding. Then Dr. Myers and the other CIDSE chief executives hosted attendees for a celebratory dinner across the street at Villa Nazareth, the location where Pope St. John XXIII announced Vatican Council II in January 1959.
The Center and its CIDSE allies have continued working around the world since the conference to bring together diverse voices from business, government, academe, faith communities, think tanks, and other institutions to discuss the Pope’s prophetic call to an ethic of care and a lifestyle of conversion and commitment to integral ecology. Center of Concern has participated through:
  • the leadership of Mr. Aldo Caliari, Director of the Rethinking Bretton Woods Project, at the United Nations Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa in July;
  • publication of resources from the Education for Justice team of Sr. Dianna M. Ortiz, O.S.U., Editor; Ms. Anna M. Misleh, Assistant Editor; and Dr. Jane Deren, Senior Fellow, including content from Community of Creative Voices™ thought leaders from around the world;
  • Dr. Myers, Sr. Ortiz, and other members of the Center team at a Caux Round Table-Thai Embassy-sponsored roundtable discussion with 45 thought and executive leaders from business, professional, civil society, academic, and other organization at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on July 16th on the proposed Sustainable Development Goals; and
  • Dr. Myers is representing the Washington discussion in a follow-on conference in Bangkok in the middle of August with the Caux Round Table and Sasin Graduate Business School with representatives from similar roundtable discussions from Paris, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Toronto, and elsewhere around the world to compose a summary declaration for delivery to the United Nations in September as it takes up the proposed guidelines; Dr. Myers is a Caux Round Table Fellow and will be working with the organization’s Global Executive Director, Stephen B. Young, Esq., and other senior leaders to draft the declaration.
As we prepare for the visit of Pope Francis next month to the United States, the United Nations discussion about the Sustainable Development Goals, and the global climate talks in Paris in December, the Center team looks forward to continuing opportunities to share your voice for global social justice in public and private centers of influence around the world. Please share the issues that are at the center for your concern at