Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), will be the keynote speaker for the 20th Iowa Institute for Social Action. The Institute will be held on Jan. 18 and 19, 2015 at Saints John and Paul Parish in Altoona, Iowa. Catholic Relief Services is the overseas development agency of the Catholic community in the United States. It was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States to serve World War II survivors in Europe. Since then, it has expanded in size to reach more than 100 million people in nearly 100 countries on five continents.
The title of Dr. Woo’s keynote address on Sunday afternoon will be “Care for Neighbors Integral to Worship, Faith and Witness.” This will establish the message that worship, faith and witness compel a follower of Christ to serve our neighbors. Dr. Woo will also give examples of how CRS lifts up the dignity of the last, least, and left-behind to fashion sustainable solutions that take people out of poverty. “It makes the point that faith and charity require our best efforts as exemplified in excellence and innovation,” says Dr. Woo.
Dr. Woo assumed the position of CEO and president of Catholic Relief Services in January 2012. Representing CRS, Dr. Woo was featured in Foreign Policy (May/June, 2013) as one of the 500 Most Powerful people on the planet and one of only 33 in the category of “a force for good.”
Before CRS she served as the dean of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame from 1997. During Dean Woo’s tenure, the Mendoza College achieved a number 1 ranking (BusinessWeek/Bloomberg) in 2010 and 2011. Prior to the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Woo served as Associate Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Purdue University.
The mission of CRS is to assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas, working in the spirit of Catholic social teaching to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person. CRS serves people based solely on need, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity.
Monday morning’s main speaker will be Kathie Obradovich, political columnist for the Des Moines Register, on the political landscape in Iowa and Washington, D.C.
There will be a variety of breakout sessions to prepare leaders to advocate for the social concerns of the Catholic Church. More details and registration information will follow in the coming weeks. The Institute is sponsored by the Catholic dioceses of Iowa and the Iowa Catholic Conference, the official public policy organization of the Catholic bishops in Iowa.