Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 13:15

Former Ambassador to Holy See to Speak at Assumption

Diaz Next Presenter in College’s President’s Lecture Series

The Assumption College President’s Lecture Series continues Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, at 7 p.m. with a talk by former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Miguel Humberto Díaz, Ph.D. He will deliver the Series’ annual D’Amour Lecture in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be held in Assumption’s La Maison Française Salon, 500 Salisbury St., Worcester, Mass.

Díaz’s talk, “Jesus on the Border: God, Human Relations and the Common Good,” will rethink Christ’s identity and explore two fundamental questions: How does this experience deepen our understanding of what it means to be human in God’s image, and how might this understanding contribute to human efforts to realize the common good. Pope Francis has argued against the “globalization of indifference” at a time increasingly characterized by human migrations and the fear of human differences. During the lecture, Díaz will explore the theological connection between place and human identity, highlighting how Jesus’ movement across the region of Galilee—and his interactions with the people of this region—offers a roadmap to build cultures of encounter.

“The visit and lecture of Ambassador Díaz gives the Assumption community and the public an opportunity to understand such issues as migration, the plight of refugees, and immigration from a theological perspective, as society struggles to globally respond to these critical social justice concerns,” said Assumption College President Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D.

Díaz currently holds the John Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service and is professor of systematic theology at Loyola University in Chicago. He served as ambassador to the Holy See from 2009 to 2012 and was the first theologian and Hispanic to be appointed to that post. While serving as ambassador, Díaz received several honorary doctorates from various colleges and universities.

During his more than three years of service as ambassador, Díaz launched initiatives that advanced equitable and ethical development, care for the environment, and conflict prevention. As a bridge-builder between government and civil society, Díaz was also a key leader in the U.S. State Department’s development of the Working Group on Religion and Foreign Policy, the first systematic and comprehensive effort on the part of the State Department to take seriously the role of religion and religious actors in the development and implementation of foreign policy.

Prior to his appointment at the Vatican, Díaz taught theology at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., and Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn. He was a board member of the Catholic Theological Society of America and is former president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. In June 2013, The Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States awarded the Virgilio Elizondo Award for Distinguished Achievement in Theology to Díaz. The academy grants the award to an individual for “distinguished achievement in theology, in keeping with the mission of the Academy.”

Díaz earned his B.A. from St. Thomas University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in theology from the University of Notre Dame.

After his talk, Díaz will take questions from the audience.

The heart of a classical liberal arts education is an ongoing conversation across disciplines. By ensuring that the sharpest minds, representing diverse viewpoints and areas of study, are a part of this dialogue Assumption reaffirms—and bolsters—its commitment to providing students an education that goes beyond the mere memorization of facts and acquisition of skills and empowers them to continue the discussion. Through the annual Assumption College President’s Lecture Series—which began seven years ago—ethical, spiritual and human issues are illuminated and examined within the Catholic intellectual tradition.

Please view the 2014-2015 President’s Lecture Series schedule here.

Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College
ke.dunbar@assumption.edu @AssumptionNews