"Real service to the poor means understanding global poverty," said PIH co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer at an October event with Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, hosted by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at Notre Dame University.
Farmer and Gutierrez focused their 90-minute discussion on "Re-imagining Accompaniment: Global Health and Liberation Theology."
Gutierrez is known around the world as the founder of liberation theology, which interprets Christianity in terms of a liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. “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,” said Farmer.
"Poverty is not fate, it is a condition; it is not a misfortune, it is an injustice," Gutierrez is known for saying. "It is the result of social structures and mental and cultural categories, it is linked to the way in which society has been built, in its various manifestations."
"Poverty is not an act of nature…but a historically driven by social and economic factors," added Farmer. "Real service to the poor...requires listening to those most affected by poverty."
Peruvian-born Gutierrez is the John Cardinal O'Hara Professor of Theology at Notre Dame University and a Kellogg Institute Faculty Fellow.
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 UN Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti.