Launch of Reflections poverty issue coincides with UN Millennium Development Goals summit

>View the video of the panel discussion

As UN personnel, diplomats, and representatives of NGOs gather in New York for the much-publicized summit on the Millennium Development Goals, a quieter yet equally engaging discussion will be hosted Sept. 22 by Yale Divinity School at the Church Center for the United Nations.

Cover ImageThe Church Center gathering will serve as the occasion for the official launch of the fall 2010 issue of Reflections, YDS’s magazine of theological and ethical inquiry, entitled “No More Excuses:  Confronting Poverty.”  The issue features a number of prominent thinkers on the subject of poverty, many of whom will be at the Sept. 22 event to participate in a discussion about eradicating poverty, including the role of the faith community.

A panel featuring the writers will begin at 6:00 pm, followed by a reception ending at 8:00 pm.

Contributors to the fall issue of Reflections scheduled to attend include renowned philosopher Peter Singer, the De Camp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University's Center for Human Values; Thomas Pogge, the Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale; Katherine Marshall, executive director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue; David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and 2010 World Food Prize laureate; Abagail Nelson, senior vice president for programs at Episcopal Relief and Development; Willis Jenkins, the Margaret Farley Assistant Professor of Social Ethics at YDS; Arthur Keys, president and CEO of International Relief and Development (IRD); and Debbie McLeod Sears ’09 M.Div., director of Grant Me The Wisdom Fund; Christiana Peppard, scholar in residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and visiting scholar at the Center for Ethics Education at Fordham University; and Melinda St. Louis, deputy director of Jubilee USA.

Panelists will explore several questions pertinent to the MDG process and the role of faith groups in eradicating poverty:


  • Has the American faith community stepped up to the plate in addressing the MDG goals?  If not, why not?  If so, how? What is the unique contribution that people of faith can provide?

  • What do you feel is the most urgent message that needs to be heard about poverty?

  • What does the UN most need to do to meet the MDG goals?

  • Is there an aspect of poverty that is especially neglected or ignored right now in public debate? What needs to be said about poverty that isn’t being said?

“Confronting the reality of global poverty is not a pleasant task,” YDS Dean Harold Attridge says in his introduction to the issue.  “Being reminded of the immensity of human suffering and deprivation can in fact be a very depressing experience. . . When we hear of the statistics of poverty, recounted in this issue, it is easy to be discouraged. . . Yet hopeless resignation in the face of such facts is not the response that we as Christians are called upon to make. As Dorothy Day once said, ‘No one has the right to sit down and feel hopeless; there is too much work to do.’”

Invitees to the Church Center gathering include UN officials and diplomats, representatives of the press, NGOs, and alumni/friends of Yale. 

Others wishing to attend the Church Center event should email or call Emily Blakeslee at, 203-432-5358, by Friday, Sept. 17.  Only pre-registered persons with photo ID’s will be able to gain admittance because of security measures in place around the UN during the Millennium Development Goals Summit.

The Church Center for the United Nations is located at 777 UN Plaza, New York, NY (corner of First Avenue and 44th Street).