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2024 International Sustainability Conference


Our Common Home, Our Common Hope: Community Engagement for a Safe and Just Future

Villanova University, October 1 – 3, 2024

Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si and Laudate Deum of our responsibility to the poor and the earth. The Stockholm Resilience Center warns that planet earth is failing the scientific health check because the safe and just operating space determined by planetary boundaries is threatened by anthropogenic activities. Communities mostly in the global south bear the brunt of these climate related disasters. 

Pope Francis (LS 139) aptly noted that we are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. This interdisciplinary conference invites abstracts from researchers with a keen interest in sustainability and community engagement to spur new thinking on sustainability within science, theology, philosophy, nursing, law, business, engineering, and the humanities as they impact people and communities.

The goal is to promote interdisciplinary research that expands knowledge, allowing communities to choose the most suitable pathway to a safe and just future. Pope Francis (LD 2) noted that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.  

Below are some focus areas we have identified. However, this list is not meant to limit you. We highly encourage work that is interdisciplinary and cuts across focus areas. 

1. Arts and Humanities: The role of arts and humanities in promoting community engagement; resilient communities; safe and just communities; how the arts promote flourishing amid adversity.

2. Biology: The biological basis for community engagement.

3. Communication: Climate communication: prospects and problems for community engagement.

4. Culture: The role of communities, cooperation, and diverse societies in collective global flourishing: depolarization and pluralism for community flourishing

5. Ecology/Environmental: The promotion of planetary flourishing; nature connectedness and well-being; cosmic and other non-human forms of flourishing; Mitigating how conflict and climate affect communities.

6. Economics: Creating a dynamic economy to expand opportunities for flourishing communities; Economies of the future: circular economy; sharing economy; the limits of growth: thriving economies; thriving lives.

7. Education: Teaching and learning that promote human flourishing and community engagement; online education and access to quality education; Effective Sustainability and carbon literacy pedagogy for community engagement; Quality education.

8. Engineering: Resilient infrastructure systems in communities; Addressing product planned obsolescence through the lens of life cycle Assessment; Resilient food systems; Green Transition in times of Geopolitical pressures. Affordable and clean  water and energy.

9. Health: The role of physical health, mental health, and health systems in promoting community health and wellbeing; climate anxiety; Air/water/ noise pollution and community health.

10. International Development: SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and communities; life on land.

11. Philosophy: The conceptual and philosophical basis of our understanding of community flourishing.

12. Policy: Effective promotion of flourishing across the globe within the public Sector; housing sector; regional level; legal systems and community; governance structure and community flourishing.

13. Psychology: The role of character traits and virtues in promoting community flourishing; Addressing climate denialism; the rise of technological dependence and the decline of independent thought; the science of loneliness and how to foster social connectedness in our communities.

14. Religion and Spirituality: Religious and spiritual practices that promote community; Religion as a source of personal, communal and social flourishing. Spiritual but not Religious: Addressing the growing number of nones in Western society; Eco-spirituality; stewardship.

15. Technology and AI: Technology and the future of human flourishing (including artificial intelligence and collective intelligence)

16. Business

17. Other: Disciplines not captured in the list above 

We encourage abstract submissions from any field related to sustainability covering theory or practice. Each presentation will have a designated time slot of 15-20 minutes. Authors should emphasize how the presented work has created or would create a positive impact in the field of sustainability. Multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary research are highly encouraged. Submissions can cut across focus areas. Abstracts will be evaluated on rigor, originality, and sequence. 

Eligibility of abstracts and authors: Only abstracts with original work will be accepted for the conference. The primary author must have  written or participated in the activities showcased in the abstract and obtained the necessary regulatory board approvals where sensitive data is used in the paper, as well as any necessary ethical clearance documents for human subjects research. 

Word count: The abstract should not exceed a combined word count of 300 words.

Key words: Please include 4 – 6 keywords.

Title: The title should be informative but concise with no subtitles or abbreviations / acronyms. 

Each abstract will be evaluated by the conference research committee with expertise in the subject area using the following criteria:

   ● Originality

   ● Rigor

   ● Sequence of ideas


Villanova University, as a community of learned and learning scholars, respecting the sacredness of all creation, accepts its responsibility to the integrity of Earth and its biodiversity, to the heritage of future generations, and to the security of nations. By utilizing the Augustinian values of Unitas, Veritas, and Caritas, meaning love thy neighbor, promote community unity, and live life in moderation through our curriculum, work environment, and operations, Villanova’s approach to sustainability exemplifies an emphasis on social justice and community service.

For questions regarding campus sustainability email