RVP Annual Seminar

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Re-Learning to be Human for Global Times

Structure and Role of Compassion

August 8-September 9, 2016                                                                      Washington, D.C.




I. Challenges


Humankind is changing paradigms at an unprecedented speed and depth: in science and technology, in the socio-economic and political sphere, in the self-understanding of cultures and societies, in the transformation of major religious entities and the creation of new cultures and modes of being. And yet, we need to ask: What are the constancies or consistencies in human self-understanding needed in order to further the global process of becoming-human?


Moreover, the human family still faces enormous challenges when it comes to solving problems such as the creation of conditions required to affirm the dignity of all members of the human family, particularly in regard to such phenomena as needless hunger and chronic unemployment, violence and terrorism, injustice and exclusion, abuse of children and abandonment of the elderly, analphabetism and ideological manipulation, destruction of human values and of the natural environment in which we are destined to live.


Hence the need to ask: What role must be played by Ethics and Morality in the advancement of political and economic processes, in science and technology? How to reconfigure the humanizing mission of Education and the processes of communication and/or diffusion of knowledge? In what sense must the great religions of the world advance their own self-understanding, their identity and their mission? How to understand the role and the mission of Family and School in the process of renewing humanity and so create the conditions of possibility for a future that can be said to be more truly human and, by the same token, even more divine than before?


The 2016 annual RVP-Seminar in Washington DC will focus on the issues of love and compassion, of gratitude andresponsibility. It will try to further the kind of human self-understanding that is capable of bridging the multiple contributions of East and West, of North and South, of Religion and Science, of Art and Technology, of Freedom and Law, of self-interest and mutual cooperation.


II. Response


Self and Other: Openness for Compassion


The focus will be philosophical, and will explore the enigma of the passage from pathos to ethics, that is, illuminating the liberating passage from the self-centered ‘me and mine to the Epiphany of the Other whenever it is given in the context of authentic human encounters. Compassion has the structure and the potential needed to transform the human person both in terms of the dialectic of immanence and transcendence as well as in regard to the relational universe of each concrete human being.


Social Freedom: Compassion in the Polis/City


Human freedom is in need of rediscovering the high moral value associated with compassion as constituting a manifestation of humility and benevolence. To refuse compassion or to be ungrateful before the Other, human or divine, manifests a strange form of pride, which fastens on self, takes good deeds for granted and, consequently, is deprived of true lucidity. In contrast, freedom as compassion is at the origin of especially positive emotions which are most important for the social bond and the pursuit of fulfillment.


The Attraction of Beauty: Compassion as Motivating a Progressive Globalization


To philosophically pursue the role of compassion across cultures and civilizations is to search for cultural/spiritual elements capable of transforming human beings into citizens of a new polis, ambassadors of that Kingdom that transcends and whose name is Goodness or the domain of benevolent Justice. This is yet another name forCompassion which, as such, is inclusive of both Forgiveness and Reconciliation.   


Indeed, as we think through the anthropological structure and the implications of compassion we shall also begin to cross the cold boundaries of proper terms and concepts into the aesthetic realm of beauty that in the words of ancient Hindu Upanishads “warms the heart and unleashes the limbs”. The world of today demands from all of us the firing up of a new social imaginary in order to answer the major ethical challenges of our present global condition. 


Application for Participation 

Applications for participation in this seminar should be sent by email by April 10, 2016, to cua-rvp@cua.edu. Participants cover their own travel costs; the RVP provides simple room and board during the seminar. The seminar will be conducted in English and held at the RVP Seminar Room: Gibbons Hall B-12, 620 Michigan Avenue, North East, Washington, D.C., 20064. Email: cua-rvp@cua.edu; Telephone: .


 Please enclose:

(1) a CV describing the applicant's education, professional positions and activities;

(2) a list of the applicant's publications;

(3) a letter stating the applicant'interest and involvement in this theme and its relation to his/her past and future work in philosophy and/or related studies; and

(4) abstract of a paper the applicant'might want to be considered for presentation during the Seminar and then submitted for eventual publication.








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Gibbons Hall B-12, 620 Michigan Avenue, North East,  Washington DC 20064; Telephone: 202/319-6089; Email: cua rvp@cua.edu; Website: www.crvp.org