Global Health and Liberation Theology
A dialogue between Dr. Paul Farmer and Theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez
When Dr. Paul Farmer came to campus in April to accept the Notre Dame Award for International Human Development and Solidarity on behalf of the global health organization he cofounded 25 years ago, he was profoundly moved by the opportunity to talk to a member of the Notre Dame community who has deeply inspired his mission to bring high-quality health care to the very poor.
Rev. Gustavo Gutiérrez, OP, the John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Theology and a Kellogg Institute Faculty Fellow, is known around the world as the founder of liberation theology.
“Fr. Gustavo is one of my heroes and has inspired much of my own work in global health with a preferential option for the poor,” says Farmer, who is renowned for his efforts with Partners In Health (PIH). He suggested that he return to campus to hold a public dialogue with Gutiérrez—and carved time out of his busy schedule to do so.
Their dialogue, “Re-imagining Accompaniment: Global Health and Liberation Theology,” took place on Monday, October 24 as part of the “Discussions on Development” series.
The dialogue was streamed live to a Harvard University auditorium, where Farmer’s students and colleagues and PIH supporters gathered. A publication will likely result from the public dialogue.
A medical anthropologist and physician, Farmer is Kolokotrones University Professor at Harvard University, chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a founding director of PIH. His work focuses on community-based treatment strategies for infectious diseases in resource-poor settings, health and human rights, and the role of social inequalities in determining disease distribution and outcomes.
The Kellogg Institute’s Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity hosts the Discussions on Development series to encourage thoughtful public discussion by the University community on issues related to human development.
This 2011 event was cosponsored by the Center for Health Sciences Advising, Center for Social Concerns, Department of Theology, and Eck Institute for Global Health.