Imagine religious thinkers of many traditions, economists, social scientists and others from around the world sitting down to discuss the role of spirituality in eliminating poverty. This is precisely what the Ottawa-based International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has done in response to Fr. William Ryan, S.J.'s survey of leaders in 28 countries in poorer regions of the world. His research convince Fr. Ryan that all projects of economic development are doomed to fail unless they take into account the tested values, beliefs, and spiritualities of the world religions. He will describe the IDRC's attempt to bring together a small, international group of researchers to search out a new way to dialogue about sustainable human development by building on the best of science as well as the tested values, beliefs and spiritualities of the world's religions.
Fr. William Ryan, S.J., Ph.D.
A former Jesuit Provincial in Canada (1978-84) who has twice been awarded the papal medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, Fr. William F. Ryan, SJ. served as the General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1984 to 1990. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard on the relationship between economic development and Quebec Catholicism. In 1990, he became a research fellow at the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security. Fr. Ryan is also a member of the Scientific Committee of a new permanent Forum on Ethics, Society and Globalization sponsored by Jacques Maritain International Institute in Rome. The International Development Research Centre has recently published his latest study, Culture, Spirituality, and Economic Development: Opening a Dialogue.