Registrations are open for the 2020 Meeting of the Economy of Communion
The next meeting of the North American Association of the Economy of Communion (EoC) will be held in San Antonio, TX on January 17-18, 2020, as part of a wider event titled ‘A Hearth for the Human Family‘, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the founder of the EoC and of the Focolare Movement Chiara Lubich.
From its humble origins in Trent, Italy during World War II to the Focolare Movement’s current extension throughout the globe, people who live a spirituality of unity aim to create a warm and open spaces of mutual care, concern and acceptance across every form of social, economic, cultural, ethnic, religious and political difference.
To celebrate the centenary of the birth of Focolare founder Chiara Lubich, this interactive event delves into how a spirituality of unity might help us to build community in the midst of cultural and political polarization.
View the Agenda and Register
Pope Francis Invites Young Economists and Entrepreneurs to Assisi to Propose a Pact for a New Economy
From 26 to 28 March 2020 the city of Assisi will host The Economy of Francis, an international event aimed at young economists, entrepreneurs, and change-makers engaged in thinking and practicing a different type of economy. The invitation to participate comes directly from Pope Francis, through a letter in which he invites young economists and entrepreneurs from all over the world of all backgrounds and beliefs to the City of St Francis, which is a symbol of humanism and fraternity. The goal of the meeting is to initiate a process of global change to build a more just, inclusive and sustainable economy that does not leave people behind. The event is organized by a committee composed of the Diocese of Assisi, the Assisi City Council, the Seraphic Institute of Assisi and the Economy of Communion.
The most complex problems in today’s world, from safeguarding the environment to justice for the poor, need a courageous commitment to rethinking the economic paradigms of our time. In the Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, the Holy Father recalled that everything is intimately connected and that the Earth is our “common home”. He launched an appeal to defend it and all of humanity that inhabits the Earth. He warned us against the careless exploitation of resources and short-sighted policies that look to immediate success without prospects for the long-term. Inspired by the example of St Francis, it is therefore necessary to rebuild a new integral ecology, one that is inseparable from the concept of the common good, which must be implemented through choices based on solidarity and the “preferential option for the poor” starting “from solving the structural problems of the world economy.”
«Pope Francis’ invitation to young economists and entrepreneurs is an event that marks a historic step forward because it brings together two of the Pope’s key themes and passions: his priority for the youth and his pursuit of a new type of economy. In his name, we are inviting young economists and entrepreneurs who are more sensitive to the spirit of Francis’ Oikonomia, to share with them the best of today’s economic thought and practices around the world. The word Oikonomia brings together many realities: the Greek root recalls household management but it also refers to the care of our common home, the OIKOS. We also consider it in reference to Oikonomia as understood by the Fathers of the Church: a theological category of universal salvation. Assisi is an essential part of the event because it is a city that points to a different type of economy. Various venues in Assisi will host parts of the program, which will be built around the three pillars of Francis’ Oikonomia: the youth, the environment and the poor», says Prof. Luigino Bruni, Scientific Director of the Committee.
For Pope Francis, the event represents the consolidation of a “pact to change the current economy and give a soul to the economy of tomorrow”. It intends to give hope for the rights of future generations, for welcoming life, for social equity, for the dignity of workers and the preservation of our planet. From 26 to 28 March 2020, The Economy of Francis will consist of workshops, artistic events, seminars and plenary sessions with renowned economists and experts in sustainable development and the humanities, who will reflect and work together with the youth.
You can register and reserve your spot at this historical event at www.francescoeconomy.org.
EoC’s Elizabeth Garlow receives Honorary PhD from the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology
We are very happy to share that the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (DSPT) bestowed upon Elizabeth Garlow, a long-time member and leader of the Economy of Communion (EoC) initiative in North America, the degree of Humane Letters honoris causa. Elizabeth was also named a Fellow of the School.
In his citation on the day of Elizabeth’s induction in the DSPT College of Fellows, Father Michael Sweeney said: “You have characterized yourself as ‘focused on an economy of belonging.’ This, we are convinced, could serve as a superb summary of the Church’s social teaching on the economy and of what Pope Francis has called ‘an integral human ecology.’ We are honored that you have accepted our invitation to enter into conversation with us concerning the interface of faith and culture as a member of the College of Fellows.”
You can read more about her background and his full citation here.
Listen to Elizabeth Garlow directly as she addresses the May 2019 graduates of the DSPT in her 8-min commencement speech about bringing faith into dialog with culture and creating an economy of inclusion for all people.
Join Us for the 2018 Meeting of the Economy of Communion
The North American Association of the Economy of Communion and the Business, Faith, and the Common Good Institute of Creighton University invite you to attend the 2018 gathering of the Economy of Communion, that will be held at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska, on Oct. 5-6, 2018.
In today’s world, globalization presents to us significant challenges such as poverty, inequality, unemployment, and forced migration… All these situations make us question if this is the world we want, if the economy can change for the better.
The Economy of Communion project (EOC) offers a new perspective facing these challenges: a new business culture where free enterprises become the cradle of a culture of giving, that fosters fraternity, social bonds, sustainability, and communion, rather than individualism and profit as an end in itself.
You can learn more about the event and register at the following link.
The deadline to register is September 30th, 2018.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS: 2018 EOC Annual Meeting
We are happy to let you know that this year’s North American Meeting of the Economy of Communion (EoC) will be held at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska, on Oct. 5-6, 2018.
We are continuing to alternate the location of our meetings between the little city of Mariapolis Luminosa and Universities supporting or desiring to learn more about the EoC. Last year’s meeting and summer school was held at Mariapolis Luminosa, so it was the turn of another university this year.
The choice fell on Creighton University, where one of our members, Prof. Andy Gustafson, teaches business ethics. We will have the opportunity to meet many new friends there, incl. some of his fellow professors, students and local entrepreneurs, as well as learn more about Andy’s local EoC business called Communion Properties.
More details regarding the agenda will be shared soon. Stay tuned.
EOC Featured at the 2017 World Bank Civil Society Policy Forum
On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, we had the opportunity to present the Economy of Communion project (EoC) at the World Bank Civil Society Policy Forum in Washington DC.
This was the first time that the EoC was featured at an event from the World Bank, a financial institution that is part of the United Nations systems and whose mission is to help reduce poverty.
51 people attended the session representing various NGOs from all over the world, World Bank employees, The International Monetary Fund, and the Bretton Woods Project. The session had the title “Impact Investment as a Tool for Social Development”. Nick Sanna represented the EoC. The other panelists included Marc Jourdan, the moderator, and Jenna Giandoni, a research fellow from an NGO named the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development that was founded by former president Fernandez of the Dominican Republic. Dr. Muthukumara Mani, a lead environmental economist at the World Bank, also spoke.
New Humanity of the Focolare Movement was a sponsor along with the Global Foundation, the International Federation of Business and Professional Women and the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF). Joe Klock, the coordinator of New Humanity, Inc. in the US, is quite active in promoting the EoC at the UN and deserves all the credit for assuring our participation in the event.
The audience responded well to all the presentations that were followed by a very active Q&A session. Some asked questions on impact development and Nick fielded several questions on the EoC. At the end of the meeting, several persons came forward and asked Nick for follow-on meetings in DC. One attendee asked to get involved and will try to attend the upcoming EoC Summer School. The next day, Joe Klock’s contacts from the UN in New York told him that they enjoyed the EoC presentation very much, especially noting the concrete examples that were given.
Joe also attended a session for faith-based organizations chaired by the leader of the World Bank’s Global Engagement faith initiative, Adam Taylor with about 25 attendees. Apparently, the World Bank is starting to engage civil society and faith-based organizations to look for insights into what delivers results in leading people out of extreme poverty. They see these organizations as a vehicle for communicating with people at the grassroots level. Joe plans to continue participate in those meetings and promote the EoC and other New Humanity projects as models of socio-economic development.
The Civil Society Policy Forum have become integral part of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring and Annual Meetings that bring together 10,000 from all over the world.
Learn more about the Economy of Communion by attending the EoC Summer School (June 20-23) and Annual Meeting (June 23-25). You can get more information and register here.
Video of ‘Business Practices of the EoC’ panel at St. Bonaventure University now available
“This was the best presentation about business ethics I have seen in my four years here. It was realistic.” (student)
“I thought that today’s panel presentation was very well done, and exactly the kind of perspective to which we should be exposing our students. It was right on in terms of our mission: Developing responsible leaders for the greater good and the bottom line.” (faculty)
These were some of the impressions from the circa 150 students and professors of St. Bonaventure University that attended the panel discussion on ‘the Business Practices of the Economy of Communion’ on April 6th, 2017.
If you didn’t get to go and want to watch it, you can access the video via this link.
You can review the agenda and the profile of the speakers here, as well as pictures from the event.
April 6, 2017 – Live Streaming of Panel Discussion on ‘Business Practices of the Economy of Communion’
A panel discussion at St. Bonaventure University on Thursday, April 6, will address business practices of the Economy of Communion, an international business and societal model based on shared profits and a “culture of giving.”
The program, a presentation of the William C. Foster ’62 Center for Responsible Leadership in the School of Business at St. Bonaventure, in partnership with the university’s School of Franciscan Studies, will be held at 11:30 a.m. in Rigas Family Theater of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.
The Economy of Communion (EoC) was started by Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, in response to the social problems and imbalanced economy she found on a visit to Brazil in 1991. Today, some 860 EoC businesses in more than 50 countries embrace EoC’s alternative to capitalistic systems: a sharing of profits to help combat poverty and indigence, and a commitment to work toward a common good.
It’s a topic that fits a Foster Center initiative of providing our students with leadership and scholarship opportunities in the Franciscan tradition, said Dr. Michael Gallagher, assistant professor of finance at St. Bonaventure. “The Economy of Communion embraces these very ideals, and seeks to promote a fraternal economy, a new conception of economic behavior, with businesses not only sharing profits and community productivity, but fighting various forms of exclusion, poverty and indigence,” he said.
It’s also a topic ripe for the times, said Fr. David Couturier, O.F.M., Cap., dean of Franciscan Studies at St. Bonaventure, executive director of its Franciscan Institute, and one of four experts on the panel.
“Ever since the November elections, budget talks have swirled around increased defense spending and tax cuts for wealthy Americans with large-scale cuts to programs such as Meals on Wheels and Medicaid. Some economists are forecasting a rise in income inequality and a ‘class warfare’ between the rich and the poor over the next few years,” said Couturier.
“This discussion will introduce several different economic models to understand our financial issues. We will invite participants to get to know several ‘economies of communion’ and ‘relational economies’ that might help navigate these turbulent economic times with our social, cultural and family relationships intact,” he said.
Couturier, who earned his Ph.D. in pastoral psychology and organizational studies, has written and lectured extensively on the organizational and economic dynamics of religious and not-for-profit institutions. Known for his combined expertise in organizational development, strategic planning and Franciscan education, he has worked as an organizational consultant for congregations, religious communities and dioceses through the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Joining him on the panel is a professor who has spent a decade researching the business practices of companies in the Economy of Communion, as well as the heads of two EoC businesses:
- Dr. John Gallagher, professor of management, who teaches strategic management and international business at Maryville College, Maryville, Tenn., as well as executive MBA courses at the University of Tennessee. He previously spent more than 20 years as a corporate executive and consultant in manufacturing and service industries. He is co-author of the book “Structures of Grace: Business Practices of the Economy of Communion.” (New City Press, 2014.)
- Nicola “Nick” Sanna, CEO of RiskLens, a provider of cyber risk management software, and the former head of several internet analytics and security companies. Fluent in five languages, Sanna lectures extensively on the subject of social entrepreneurship and is an advisory board member of the School of Business and Economics at Catholic University of America.
- John Mundell, president and CEO of Mundell & Associates, Inc. of Indianapolis, Ind., an earth science, environmental and water resources consulting firm founded in 1995 as part of the EoC. Mundell serves on the International and North American EoC commissions, aiding development of the EoC at the national and global levels.
Admission to the April 6 event is free and the public is welcome. The panel discussion will be available for real-time viewing and archived for future viewing on the university’s Ustream channel: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/st-bonaventure-university-live-stream.
The Foster Center for Responsible Leadership is made possible through an endowment gift by Daria L. Foster, Managing Partner of Lord, Abbett & Co. LLC, honoring her late husband of more than 30 years, William C. Foster. A member of St. Bonaventure’s Class of 1962 and Fordham Law School (’65), William Foster practiced law for 35 years, retiring in 2000 as senior associate counsel for Champion International. He served on St. Bonaventure’s Board of Trustees from 2008 to his passing in 2010.
Learn more about the panel discussion and about the Foster Center for Responsible Leadership at www.sbu.edu/fostercenter.
This article was first published on St. Bonaventure’s website on March 28, 2017.
Annual EoC Report – 2016
The annual report of the Economy of Communion initiative for 2016 is now available in English.
It has been published as an insert in the latest release of the Citta’ Nuova magazine. Its North American counterpart, Living City Magazine, is publishing a series of articles on the EoC in its upcoming issue.
You review the full insert by clicking on the following link: edc_44-eng-online.
Joy, Celebration, and Challenge
Initial reflections on the audience that the Economy of Communion members had with Pope Francis on Feb 4th, 2017
The full text of Pope Francis’ address is now widely available. It has been disseminated on numerous websites, including here on ours, and posted to various social media. Here is the Vatican’s official translation into English. This is a good and wonderful thing for all of us; to have his message shared for all peoples and for all time. This is a joy! This makes it possible for everyone to study his words, ponder his meaning, and share insights and questions with each other.
Let us also recognize then that his address was indeed a joyous occasion, and not only for those who were there but as a joyous occasion of unity with all of the Economy of Communion. Pope Francis clearly knows of our work, and our efforts, and our values, and recognizes them as the gospel in action. And while our time with him was brief, we can carry his message in our hearts and minds everywhere we go and for all time. For those of us who were there, we have a special responsibility. For to us was given the opportunity to not just read his printed words on a page, but to receive this message as the spoken word, which as we know, can be a special means of grace. To be there together and to hear not just the words, but the tone of his voice, his inflections, his pauses, and to see his facial expressions and his gestures of emphasis, all provide a richness that is not apparent in the printed words. Our responsibility is to share the richness of this experience as widely, broadly, and deeply as we can; to enrich his simple, straightforward, yet powerful printed words with the richness of our experience on that day.
I believe that Pope Francis was happy to be there with us and to be in unity with us. And us with him. Much of his address to us was a celebration of our work and the work of the EOC over these past 25 years. He specifically speaks of us introducing communion into the economy and beginning a profound change in the way of seeing and living business in today’s world. He celebrates with us that our work can make the economy beautiful. He also celebrates our ethical and spiritual choice to pool profits because it is a statement to the world that we first serve God and not money. Francis characterizes the sharing of profits as the “best and most practical way” to avoid the idolatry of money. Here (as he does throughout the address) Francis echoes the long-standing teaching of the church about the universal destination of goods and the social mortgage that accompanies all forms of property, even the profits from our businesses. Thus does Francis celebrate our work to be “merchants that Jesus does not expel” but rather merchants who walk with the poor, the marginalized, or as Francis says, the “discarded”.
But it is at this point that Francis also challenges us – in a significant and very serious way. For the profits that we generate are the result of participation in an economic system that seems by necessity to produce “discarded people” that the system then looks to hide or remove from our communion by caring for them in distant and non-personal ways rather than walking with them. Francis certainly admonishes us not to do this; to go beyond being just Good Samaritans who care for the victims of our society but to work for systemic social change such that tomorrow’s victims will never come into being. And in this work, to not just give our time and our money, but to give all of ourselves. Until we give everything of ourselves we will never give “enough”. This too echoes the teaching of the Church reminding us that Christ asks us for total surrender.
There is much in this challenge for us to ponder and discern; for the way forward – the numerous ways in which we might think about this challenge and how to respond to it, and embrace it are not obvious. But here Francis provides some guidance by encouraging us to perhaps remain small; to remain the “seed, salt, and leaven” that is the real secret to change. He suggests we might become the leaven of a new economy, the “economy of the Kingdom”.
About the author
Dr. John Gallagher, Professor of Management, Maryville College
For the past decade, Gallagher has been involved in researching the business practices of companies that participate in the Economy of Communion, which promotes using private enterprise to address social problems. In 2014, he and Dr. Jeanne Buckeye of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., published their first book: “Structures of Grace: Business Practices of the Economy of Communion” (New City Press).
Gallagher teaches strategic management and international business courses at Maryville College, as well as executive MBA courses at the University of Tennessee. Prior to his academic career, he spent over 20 years as a corporate executive and consultant in both manufacturing and service industries.
Gallagher completed his undergraduate education at Boston College, and earned his MBA and Ph.D. from The University of Tennessee.
- ← Previous
- Next →