Save the Date for February 14 through February 16: Conversations on the World as it Should be

Author: Rebekah Go

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Join the Ansari Institute for Global; Engagement with Religion on Wednesday, February 14 through Friday, February 16, 2024 to celebrate the second Nasr Book Prize being awarded to Anthony Anett for Cathonomics: How Catholic Tradition Can Create a Just Economy. The award will be celebrated with a multifaith symposium representing scholars of different religious traditions.

Around the symposium, we will convene important conversations on the future of the Catholic Church in "a change of era," celebrate new scholarship by our faculty, and invite you to meet with guest speakers working on new paradigms for global development rooted in the great wisdom traditions of the world. Two of our evening programs on Feb 14 and Feb 15 are part of this year's Notre Dame Forum.

Since its establishment in 2005 by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., each year the Notre Dame Forum invites campus-wide dialogue about issues of importance to the University, the nation and the larger world. This year's Forum is on The Future of Democracy.

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Author Conversation: Politics of Being. Wisdom and Science for a New Development Paradigm
A casual conversation with author Thomas Legrand
Wednesday, February 14
4:00 pm
Jenkins-Nanovic, Room 1050

Join author Thomas Legrand for an informal conversation about his book The Politics of Being. Wisdom and Science for a New Development Paradigm (2022). Dr. Legrand joins us for the Nasr Book Prize Symposium and has offered his time to discuss his book in a small informal setting. Thomas Legrand is a wisdom’s seeker, a social scientist and a sustainability practitioner. Holding a Ph.D. in Economics, he works on forest conservation, climate change, sustainable finance, and leadership with UN organizations, NGOs and companies. He is currently the Lead Technical Advisor for the UNDP-convened Conscious Food Systems Alliance.

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Liberal Democracy & The Catholic Church in a Change of Era
A conversation with Provost John McGreevy & former President of Ireland Mary McAleese

Wednesday, February 14
6:00 pm
Auditorium, Hesburgh Center for International Studies 

What is the relevance of the Catholic Church amidst a rapidly changing global order? How can the Christian world’s largest denomination play a constructive role as a conduit for the peace and prosperity of all peoples and all nations amidst growing great-power rivalry? According to President Biden, the world is locked in a death match between autocracy and democracy. How does Global Catholicism relate to this duel? John McGreevy, provost of Notre Dame, concludes his latest book with echoes of a shadow match within the Church mirroring the geopolitical challenge: “Gauging what requires central control and what requires decentralized experimentation is not easy.” The synodal process led by Pope Francis—culminating in a “Synod on Synodality this past October—has generated hope for some that positive change is coming, but apprehension for others that the Church is losing its moral compass, amidst polarizing culture wars. Mary McAleese, a devout Catholic and world leader, has attempted to find a balance by advocating for progressive reforms from the margins while drawing on the mechanism of the synod established by the center. Join us for this exciting conversation between Mary and John, moderated by global religion expert and dean of the Keough School, Scott Appleby, about the future of the Catholic Church, a future that the pope describes not as “an era of change, but a change of era.”

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The Nasr Book Prize Symposium: Cathonomics
Thursday, February 15
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Jenkins-Nanovic, Room 1030

The Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion is pleased to host the second annual Nasr Book Prize Symposium on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. This year we are delighted to honor Dr. Anthony Annett, author of Cathonomics. The book links Catholic social thought and economic insights, addressing global inequality through a new paradigm that prioritizes the common good rather than economic gain for an elite few. 

Cathonomics, which begins with a foreword by renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs, Annett draws from the work of Pope Leo XIII, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, Thomas Aquinas, and Aristotle, demonstrating how both ancient and contemporary wisdom can be deployed in the service of contemporary economic problems. Though Annett’s book prioritizes Catholic thought, he also aimed to address an audience outside the boundaries of Catholicism and even organized religion. “When I was writing, I had two audiences in mind: a Catholic audience, but also people of all faiths and no faith who are interested in a new economic paradigm that gets past the neoliberalism of the past four decades,” Annett said.

We are grateful for the generosity of Drs. Sherif Nasr and Randa Nasr, co-founders of siParidigm Diagnostic Informatics in Pine Brook, N.J., whose support made this symposium possible.

The Nasr Book Prize Symposium invites scholars from different faith traditions to respond to the provocative ideas in Cathonomics through the lens of their own scholarly interest and faith traditions. These are organized in a series of panels. Committed panelists include:

Anthony Annett Columbia University (Catholic) * Samuel Brody University of Kansas (Jewish) * Waleed El-Ansary Xavier University (Muslim) * Thomas Legand Independant (Secular) * Augusto Lopez-Claros Global Governance Forum (Bahá’í) * Steven McMullen Hope College (Christian) * Rahul Oka University of Notre Dame (Hindu) * Nirvikar Singh University of California Santa Cruz (Sikh) * Kate Ward Marquette University (Catholic) * Stephanie Wong Villanova University (Chinese)

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"Cathonomics" and the Future of Democracy
A keynote by author Anthony Annett with responses by scholars of other faith traditions
Thursday, February 15
6:00 pm
Auditorium, Hesburgh Center for International Studies 

In his book that won the Nasr Book Prize this year, Anthony Annett presents a history of Catholic social teaching, arguing in favor of its relevance for creating a more just economy. Cathonomics contrasts two distinct paradigms for economics: “neoclassical” economics privileges concepts like autonomous individuals, self-interest, subjective well-being through material goods, competition, and extraction of value. Catholic social teaching privileges a notion of beings-in-relation, reciprocal interests, integral human development, the common good, and integral ecology. This forum invites the author to extend his insights from economics to democracy. In a nutshell, how would a society that is organized by the principles of “Cathonomics” function as a pluralist democracy? Would it still be considered secular and free? If Cathonomics produces better outcomes, for believers and others, what are the roadblocks preventing us from realizing a more just economy and polity?

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Panel - Avoiding Harm: A Muslim Response to Covid-19
Friday, February 16
12:00 pm

The Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion is hosting a panel discussion celebrating the release of Dr. Rashied Omar's new book Avoiding Harm: A Muslim Response to Covid-19. Panelists will include Dean Scott Appleby who wrote the concluding chapter of the book as well as distinguised guests Anantanand Rambachan and Azza Karam.