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April 3 at CUA!

Environmental Justice Symposium

April 2019 Event

Daytime Program: Social Dimensions of the Climate Crisis

9am – 5pm, Caldwell Auditorium, CUA Campus | 6 Social Work CEU hours


The flow and purpose of the daytime program is to provide: (1) a broad overview of the climate crisis and the urgent call to environmental justice, (2) in depth understanding of climate impacts on vulnerable and displaced populations, (3) collaborative dialogue of various disciplines for action, and (4) resources for individuals and agencies wishing to deepen their active engagement.


Check-In and Light Refreshments

8:30am - 9am | Breakfast & Check-In

Light breakfast and coffee/tea station provided.

General check-in and social work CEU registration check-in



9am: Brooks Zitzmann, Ph.D.

Welcome and overview of the day.


Overview of Eco-Social Problems and Calls to Action

9:15am - 9:45 | Astrid Caldas, Ph.D., Senior Climate Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists

Dr. Caldas will provide a description of the most current climate science and forecasts that generate a sense of urgency and provide a call to action, particularly multi-disciplinary collaboration.


9:45am - 10:15am | William Dinges, Ph.D., Ordinary Professor of Religion and Culture, The Catholic University of America

During this presentation, Dr. Dinges will connect environmental justice (EJ) to social justice, providing conceptual links to both social work’s mission and core value and to Catholic Social Teaching. Complementing the climate science call to action, this presentation  will underscore the moral urgency and highlight the ethical need for multi-disciplinary collaborative action.  


10:15am - 10:30am: Q & A


10:30 - 10:45 | Short Break


Impacts to Vulnerable Populations: Climate Impacts on People of Color and Displaced Populations

10:45 - 11:15 | Sacoby Wilson, Ph.D., Associate Professor at University of Maryland

Dr. Wilson will explore the intersections of racial justice and climate justice.


11:15am - 11:45am | Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director of Jesuit Refugee Services USA

Ms. Rosenhauer will explore the climate dimensions of domestic and international environmentally forced migration.


11:45am - 12:15 pm: Q & A


12:15pm - 1:30pm | Lunch

Boxed lunches provided by Catholic Charities


Cultivating Multidisciplinary Action Options: Afternoon Break-Out Sessions

1:30pm to 2:45pm

   Option 1: Managed Retreat, facilitating domestic displacement: Katie Spidalieri, J.D.

   Option 2: Equity and Community Resilience Spaces: Tiffany Ganthier, J.D.

   Option 3: Secondary Trauma among climate workers: Mary Novak, J.D., M.A.P.S.


2:45pm - 3:15pmCoffee and Networking Break

Light refreshments, coffee and tea provided.


Resources for Individuals and Organizations: Panel Presentation

3:15 - 4:15pm

Jose Aguto, J.D., Catholic Climate Covenant

Caren Fitzgerald, B.A., Georgetown Climate Center – Adaptation Clearinghouse


Wrap Up, Synthesis, & Examen

4:15pm - 4:45pm | Mary Novak, J.D.. M.A.P.S., Georgetown Law Center Campus Ministry

Facilitate concluding comments, insights, and takeaways from the daytime event. 


Evening Program: Living Laudato Si’

5pm – 8pm, Heritage Hall, CUA Campus | 2 Social Work CEU hours


The evening program shifts the tone from a problem/solution orientation toward the spiritual dimensions of living in solidarity with creation and marginalized populations.  It will (1) highlight Catholic Social Teaching on the environment, (2) describe “ecological conversion” as a lifelong process of change, and (3) provide a sense of inspiration and sustenance for doing  "The Great Work" 

as Fr. Thomas Berry calls it.


Wine and Hor d’oeuvres Reception

5 - 5:50 | Catered by Catholic Charities


Introduction to Laudato Si and Ecological Conversion

6pm - 6:20pm, Brooks Zitzmann, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work at CUA

Dr. Zitzmann will describe major threads of Catholic Social Teaching on the environment with attention to Pope Francis’ message in Laudato Si’.  She will describe and present her model of “ecological conversion.”


Personal Narratives of Ecological Conversion: Panel Discussion

6:20pm – 7:30pm

     Bill Dinges, Ph.D., Ordinary Professor of Religion and Culture, CUA   

     Jose Aguto, J.D., Associate Director of the Catholic Climate Covenant

     Sr. Mary Elizabeth Clark, S.S.J., Director of the S.S.J. Earth Center

     Cedric Asiavugwa, 2019 J.D./L.L.M. Candidate Georgetown University Law Center


6:45pm - 7:30pm, Panel Discussion facilitated by Brooks Zitzmann, Ph.D.

The panel discussion will focus on poignant moments in one’s personal process of ecological conversion. Panelists will discuss how personal faith, spirituality, and religious practice have called, shaped, inspired, and sustained them regarding climate advocacy work.


7:30pm - 8pm:  Open Q & A

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