Villanova University Hosts Second Annual Anti-Poverty Symposium: “Unitas in Action: Fighting Poverty and Living Sustainably”

Villanova, Pa. (April 1, 2023)—On Tuesday, April 18, Villanova University will host the second annual Anti-Poverty Symposium to explore the systemic issues of poverty and inequality. This year’s theme, “Unitas in Action: Fighting Poverty and Living Sustainably,” will focus on the intersections of poverty, the destruction of the environment by humans and the path toward ecological justice for all.

“Every human is a child of God, worthy of respect and dignity,” said the Rev. Arthur Purcaro, OSA, Assistant Vice President, Mission and Ministry. “Rejecting materialism and consumerism, and sharing who we are and what we have with those who are less fortunate is our responsibility. We must do all we can to help those in need and build a more sustainable planet for future generations.”

Presented by the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, in collaboration with the Villanova Sustainability Leadership Council and the Office for Mission and Ministry, the symposium will bring together thought leaders, advocates and renowned experts in poverty alleviation and sustainability who will lead powerful discussions and presentations. Sessions will feature lively conversations among guests who bring different theoretical, methodological and disciplinary approaches to analyzing and mitigating climate crisis and poverty.

Speakers will include Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana, chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and past president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Cardinal Robert McElroy, Bishop of San Diego; Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services; Naomi Klein, senior contributing writer for The Intercept and New York Times bestselling author of How to Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Earth and Each Other; Bill McKibben, author of The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon and co-founder of; and Raj Patel, co-director of The Ants & the Grasshopper and co-author of Inflamed: Deep Medicine and The Anatomy of Injustice.

“We hope this year’s symposium will ignite change within the community,” said Mark C. Alexander, the Arthur J. Kania Dean of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. “The local and global leaders joining us for this year’s symposium demonstrate how we can work together to help build a sustainable planet – free from poverty – and change our world for the better.”

The symposium's events will kick off on Monday, April 17, with an evening concert performed by the Pastoral Musicians in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church. The symposium will be held on Tuesday, April 18, from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Villanova Room in the Connelly Center. An Exhibit Walk with displays from internal and external organizations will be located in the Connelly Center throughout the day.

This interdisciplinary event is part of a University-wide initiative on poverty and inequality made possible by a gift from Paul Tufano Esq., '83 VSB, '86 CWSL and Christine Tufano '84 CLAS, '86 MA.

Learn more about the event and register here.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit