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.

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.

If you must attend virtually, a link will be sent to registrants prior to October 22, 2021.


  • Shifting the Poverty Lens: Caritas in Focus
  • Healthcare and Poverty
  • The Role of Academia in Anti-Poverty Work
  • Decriminalizing Poverty


  • Julian Castro – 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
  • 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
  • Angela Davis, PhD – political activist, philosopher, academic and author
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Anand Giridharadas – author