The PEC's roster of events continued to grow!
As part of SU's International Week celebration in January, the PEC sponsored
several campus gatherings. A packed room attended "From Harm to
Home," in which refugees from Myanmar and other countries shared stories
of leaving their homes, surviving as a displaced person, and adjusting to life
in the United States. In another I-Week event, Professors Audrey Hudgins and Serena
Cosgrove discussed how education abroad can help the poor, offering their
advice on how students can make their international experiences meaningful for
social justice. The PEC was a co-organizer for a sell-out concert by the
Filipino-American pop star AJ Rafael. The concert was held to show solidarity
with people in the Philippines, and proceeds went to benefit the School of the
SEA (Sea and Earth Advocates), a leading environmental education organization
whose facilities were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. Other PEC productions
included a presentation on gender and conflict in the Great Lakes region of
Africa by a leading scholar of African development, and a panel on careers in
international development featuring speakers from PATH, USAID, and the Seattle
International Foundation. To learn about the PEC's events, please visit the
Poverty Education Center Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/povertyeducationcenter.
I've long thought that compassion and empathy were key for truly understanding poverty. If you have no compassion for people who are poor, then it's unlikely that you will care about their problems, or about the problem of poverty in the world. The big question is, how to inculcate that compassion in people who don't already feel it? How can poverty education encourage empathy, and thereby spur both understanding and action about poverty?
Those questions need big answers. Nicholas Kristof offers a few thoughts on them a propos of a recent column on low-income Americans that elicited some uncompassionate responses from his readers.
"There is an income gap in America, but just as important is a compassion gap. Plenty of successful people see a picture of a needy child and their first impulse is not to help but to reproach.
To break cycles of poverty, we have the tools to improve high school graduation rates, reduce teen pregnancies and increase employment. What we lack is the will to do so."
Read the whole article.
On May 11th, the Poverty Education Center hosted "Jesuit Universities Engaging Poverty: Perspectives from Seattle and Managua." The event brought together students, faculty, staff, and community members to hear from Seattle University and la Universidad Centroamericana about how they were engaging poverty in their communities.
Poverty Education Center