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Press Release from the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development on the International Conference on work and workers' movements, 20.11.2017

On Thursday 23 and Friday 24 November 2017, the International Conference “From Populorum Progressio to Laudato si’. Work and workers' movements at the centre of integral, sustainable and fraternal human development. Why does the world of work continue to be the key to development in the global world?”, organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, will take place in the Vatican in the New Synod Hall.

The conference aims to open up an area of debate and reflection on the world of work and on issues related to professional activities in existing social structures, thanks to the contribution to further study made by the various trade union movements present. At the heart of the conference will be the patrimony of the social Doctrine of the Church on the subject of work and the perspectives this indicates, the analysis of emerging social realities; the recovery and presentation of positive experiences; and the proposals for joint initiatives in favour of the construction of society placing the person and his dignity at the heart of the social agenda, public policy and an integral human development genuinely driven by both material and spiritual aspects. The conference also proposes further study of the teaching of the Church on the theme, from Blessed Paul VI’s Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, fifty years after its publication, to Pope Francis’ Laudato si’, in which the Holy Father writes: “Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment” (128).

The first day will commence with a welcome from the Dicastery, from Fr. Carlos A. Accaputo, director of social pastoral care in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and from a trade union leader. Interventions by Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Guy Ryder, director general of the International Labour Organization, will be followed by a presentation on the guidelines of the preparatory document, which will serve as a basis for the analysis sessions. There will then be interventions by the representatives of the main Italian trade unions: Susanna Camusso, secretary general of CGIL, Annamaria Furlan, secretary general of the CISL, and Carmelo Barbagallo, secretary general of UIL; then, Rudy De Leeuw, president of the FGTB, Belgium, and the European Trade Union Conference; Marta Pujadas, chair of the Trade Union Advisory Council – Cosate-CSA (Organization of American States); Professor Riccardo Petrella, professor of political economics at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium; Fr. Juan Carlo Scannone, S.J., theologian; Vagner Freitas, president of CUT, Brazil; and Stuart Appelbaum, president of RWDS, United States.

In addition to the representatives of the Holy See and of the Dicastery, the meeting will be attended by representatives of the main regional and international trade movements, specialists in the field of social sciences, delegations from over 40 countries, representatives of Christian workers' movements, and the authorities of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The meeting with the Holy Father is scheduled for the afternoon of Friday 24 November, at the end of the proceedings.