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HIV/AIDS Summit Draws International Faith Leaders

Rick Warren

From left, Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Rick Warren, co-founder of Saddleback Church and Lois Quam of the United States Department of State participate on a panel during the Summit on the Role of the Christian Faith Community in Global Health and HIV/AIDS.

July 25, 2012 – International religious and political leaders – including representatives from Zambia and Uganda – gathered at Georgetown today to discuss the role of the faith-based community in the global battle against HIV and AIDS.

The summit, sponsored by Saddleback Church, World Vision, Catholic Relief Services and Food for the Hungry, addressed the issue as world leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., for the XIX International AIDS Conference.

Saddleback Church co-founder Rick Warren told participants that the key to stopping AIDS in developing countries is to engage with local churches.

“If you want to stop AIDS and you’re serious about it and you want to take health care to every village in the world, you must go through the local church because it is the only thing in every village of the world,” Warren said at the Summit on the Role of the Christian Faith Community in Global Health and HIV/AIDS. “The church can do it cheaper and faster than anybody.”

Pursuing Compassion

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia welcomed the participants and noted that faith-based groups helping to battle the AIDS epidemic globally share the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis or care for the whole person.

The commitment that faith-based organizations share to providing care that considers the whole person and to pursuing compassionate and integrated approaches to their work resonates deeply with us here at Georgetown.”

 

John J. DeGioia, Georgetown President

“The commitment that faith-based organizations share to providing care that considers the whole person and to pursuing compassionate and integrated approaches to their work resonates deeply with us here at Georgetown,” DeGioia says.

During the summit, President Barack Obama delivered a video message thanking participants for taking on this important battle.

“Each of us has a role to play in giving every man, woman and child on Earth access to life-saving treatment and care,” he said. “And the work of the church is crucial to this effort.”

Ambassador Eric Goosby, who leads the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, also spoke at the summit. This past Saturday, he spoke at the Frontier of HIV/AIDS Research in China conference, sponsored by the School of Nursing & Health Studies' Department of International Health.

Bipartisan Support

Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney, and former President George W. Bush also delivered video messages thanking the summit participants.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) addressed the participants and offered their continued support to faith-based groups that combat AIDS globally.

Panels during the summit discussed the role of faith community in creating an AIDS-free generation and the role of the faith community in combating the disease.

Kay Warren closed the summit with a prayer and told participants that if they want to help eradicate AIDS globally, they must be “reckless ones” – people who risk their own lives to save those in desperate need of care.

“If we’re going to make a difference in the AIDS pandemic, if we’re going to truly get to an AIDS-free generation, it will be because many of us commit to becoming reckless ones,” she says.

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