Faith, science can help fight hunger, say special panels, HEAR US founder

March 18, 2013

Lisle, Illinois ~ Hunger affects nearly a billion people worldwide. More than 3 million children die each year from malnutrition and other related causes. Even DuPage County is not immune. More than 100,000 county residents are food insecure, meaning they are not assured of three meals per day.

The sixth annual Faith and Reason Symposium, “…To the Least of These My Brethren: How Faith and Science can Fight Hunger, from the Local to the Global,” will explore some of the issues – scientific and faith-based – facing the world’s population as it struggles to grapple with hunger at home and across the globe. 

The symposium, which is sponsored by the Center for Mission and Identity, the Center for Civic Leadership’s Hunger Team, the St. Procopius Abbey Endowment Fund, the Global Studies Forum and the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Benedictine University, will be held in the Presentation Room of the Krasa Student Center from 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12.

The symposium begins with a continental breakfast and registration from 7:30-9:00 a.m., and will include two panel discussions and a keynote speaker.

The first panel will meet from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and will address the topic, “The Science of Hunger and Nutrition.” Panelists include: Benedictine faculty members Preston Aldrich, Ph.D. (Biological Sciences), Julie M. Moreschi, M.S. RD, LDN (Nutrition) and Bonnie Beezhold, Ph.D. (Nutrition); and Sr. Karen Nykiel, O.S.B.

The second panel will meet from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and will address the topic, “Solving Hunger, Locally and Globally.” Panelists include: Benedictine faculty members Jack Thornburg, Ph.D. (International Business and Economics) and Phil Hardy, Ph.D. (Political Science); Kim Perez, M.S.W., executive director of the People’s Resource Center; and special guest speaker Diane Nilan.

Nilan is the founder and president of HEAR US, a nonprofit organization that advocates for homeless children, teens and families. She traded in her house, car and most of her possessions for a mobile home and set out to create a documentary featuring the personal stories of homeless children and teens.

Nilan’s documentary, “My Own Four Walls,” is now reaching audiences across the country.

The symposium is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studiesat (630) 829-6250. RSVP at


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 15 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2002-2012 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fourth consecutive year in 2014. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the sixth largest in the Chicago area in 2014.

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