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Boston College Scholars Participate in
Global Conference on Family

(L-R): Caroline de Leon, Philippines; Catherine Bernard, founding director of SERFAC, India; Sr. Maryanne Loughry, visiting scholar, Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Boston College, and Fr. John Shea, School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College.

(July, 2011) -- John J. Shea, O.S.A., an adjunct professor of pastoral care and counseling in the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and Maryanne Loughry, R.S.M., a visiting scholar at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College and associate director of Jesuit Refugee Service Australia, presented papers at the global conference, “In Defense of the Family: Family, Children and Culture,” held last month in Bangkok, Thailand.

Fr. Shea’s presentation was on “Adult Parenting and Spirituality.” Sr. Loughry, a psychologist and an academic working on the rights of forced migrants, gave a presentation on “Children, Violence and Resilience.”

The conference was organized by the Service and Research Institute on Family and Children (SERFAC), an international non-profit organization that has held special consultative status to the ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) of the United Nations since 1999. The conference was held in response to a request of the Pontifical Council for Culture of the Vatican. Fr. Shea, a member of SERFAC's international advisory board, served on the planning committee for the conference.

The governments of Thailand, Philippines, Bhutan, Hong Kong, India, and Namibia sent official delegates to the conference, at which some 30 countries were represented. Representatives from the Vatican and United Nations also made presentations. The goals of the conference were to discuss the effects globalization has had on the health, development, emotional well-being and security of the family and its members, particularly the poor, and to preserve, protect and promote family-centric policies and related key issues.