Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez Launch New Book at Notre Dame

By Elizabeth Rankin • November 11, 2013

In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo GutiérrezA pioneer in global health and a path-breaking theologian explore their common option for the poor in a much-anticipated new book drawn from their respective writings, using as a springboard public and private conversations hosted by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez (Orbis Press, 2013), had its public launch on Tuesday, November 19 at 7 pm in McKenna Hall Auditorium on the Notre Dame campus.

The book discussion is open to the public and will be available for viewing here. Students at dozens of colleges and universities across the country are planning to attend remotely.

“What is really exciting about this book is that it features a dialogue between two giant figures in their fields—Farmer in global health and Gutiérrez in liberation theology,” says Kellogg Institute Executive Director Steve Reifenberg.  “It offers those who know of the work of one the opportunity to learn about the work of the other. Both have so much to teach us about human development.”

The book came about in no small part because of a fortuitous encounter on the Notre Dame campus.

When Dr. Paul Farmer accepted the Notre Award for International Development and Solidarity on behalf of Partners In Health in spring 2011, he had the opportunity to reconnect with one of his heroes—Rev. Gustavo Gutiérrez, OP, the John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Theology and a Kellogg Institute faculty fellow, whose work had long inspired his own.

That fall, Farmer returned for a public dialogue with Gutiérrez arranged by the Kellogg Institute, “Re-imagining Accompaniment: Global Health and Liberation Theology.” That discussion, which continued in the days that followed, forms the core of the new work.

Introduced by University President Rev. John Jenkins, CSC, Farmer will present the book at the launch with commentary by Gutiérrez, Orbis Press editor-in-chief Robert Ellsberg, and Ophelia Dahl, the executive director and cofounder, with Farmer, of Partners In Health. (See speaker biographies here.)

The book launch is not the end of Farmer and Gutiérrez’s collaboration. They will also take part in a workshop for scholars and practitioners of international development to discuss Farmer’s concept of “accompaniment” as the guiding principle for engagement with the poor around the world. 

A future book, tentatively titled “From Aid to Accompaniment,” is planned.

Contact:  Steve Reifenberg, Kellogg Institute Executive Director (574) 631-0517 or sreifenb@nd.edu