Anti-Poverty Symposium

October 22, 2021


Location: John F. Scarpa Hall, Arthur Goldberg Commons – 299 N Spring Mill Rd, Villanova, PA 19085
Date: October 22, 2021
Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm ET  

Villanova University’s inaugural Anti-Poverty Symposium “Caritas in Action: Root Causes, Solutions and Restoring Dignity” will bring together thought leaders and advocates to explore the cause and effect of poverty and inequality. Speakers include Julian Castro, Angela Davis and Anand Giridharadas. This interdisciplinary event is part of a University-wide initiative on poverty and inequality that has been made possible by a gift from Paul Tufano Esq., ’83 VSB, ’86 CWSL and Christine Tufano ’84 CLAS, ’86 MA. The program will focus on identifying the most promising approaches to eradicating poverty and eliminating disparities associated with race, disability and difference.

The Anti-Poverty Symposium is approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for 5 Substantive In-Person or Distance CLE credits.

We look forward to seeing everyone in person. If you must attend virtually, a link will be sent to registrants prior to October 22, 2021.

We look forward to seeing you!


10:00 am - 10:20 am | Welcome

The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, ’75 CLAS — University President, Villanova University

Stephanie Sena — Anti-Poverty Fellow, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law & Founder, Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP)

Paul Tufano, Esq., '83 VSB, '86 CWSL — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies

10:20 am - 11:00 am  | Keynote

Julian Castro – 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Moderated by Senator Nikil Saval, State Senator, First District of Pennsylvania

11:00 am - 12:00 pm | Panel 1  Shifting the Poverty Lens: Caritas in Focus

Roxana Bendezú – Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA and Caravan of Central American Mothers in Search of Disappeared Migrants

Cassie Haynes, JD, MPH – Co-Executive Director at Resolve Philly

Arthur Purcaro, OSA – Assistant Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Co-Chair University Sustainability Leadership Council, adjunct professor of Theology, Villanova University

Alicia Robinson – Board Member for Student Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia

12:00 pm - 12:40 pm | Lunch/Talk

Angela Davis, PhD – political activist, philosopher, academic and author

Moderated by Anand Giridharadas, Author, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World (Knopf, 2018), Editor-at-large, TIME & Visiting Scholar, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University 

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm | Panel 2  Healthcare and Poverty

Brad Wilhelm, Esq. – General Counsel, University City Housing

Mark Doorley, PhD – Director of the Ethics Program, Villanova University

Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN – Professor and Co-Director, Mid-Atlantic Center for Children's Health and the Environment

Dylan Toolajian, BSN, RN, OCN – Cooper University Health Care

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm | Panel 3  The Role of Academia in Anti-Poverty Work

Ksenya Basarab – EMS Community Health Outreach Coordinator, Delaware County Memorial Hospital 

Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart – Adjunct Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Villanova University

Joan Maya Mazelis, PhD – Associate Professor of Sociology, Rutgers University-Camden

Linda Maldonado, PhD, RN – Assistant Professor, Villanova University

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm | Panel 4  Decriminalizing Poverty

Alec Karakatsanis, Esq. – Founder and Executive Director, Civil Rights Corps.

Alex Vitale – Professor of Sociology, Brooklyn College

Teressa Ravenell, Esq. – Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

Amelia Carter – Assistant Director, South Asia Center at the University of Pennsylvania

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm | Closing Remarks

Anand Giridharadas – Author

Moderated by Scott Ferguson, 3-time Emmy Award winning Film & Television Producer known for Succession, The Night Of and Brokeback Mountain

Student moderators for the symposium are Antionna Fuller '22 and Luz Escobar Zapata '24 CLAS.