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September 5, 2019

Two Possible Futures: Faith Action to End AIDS

Through today’s decisions and actions, we are making a choice between two futures for the HIV and AIDS epidemic. A remarkable, decades-long global effort has given us the capability to end AIDS as a public health threat. It’s doable, affordable, and would have huge benefits for key populations, women, youth, and our communities. Yet, the global political will to end AIDS is at risk, raising the specter of a major resurgence of the epidemic in the 2020s, with millions of lives at stake.


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Two Possible Futures: Faith Action to End AIDS Panel 1


This symposium focused on the role of religious leaders, communities, and institutions in choosing between the two futures. Participants discussed and articulated the reasons that the interaction between religion and AIDS has sometimes been a barrier to successfully fighting the epidemic. Panelists identified ways that the role of religious actors can be strengthened during the coming decade, through the delivery of HIV services, the reduction of social barriers such as stigma and discrimination, and strong global advocacy about the moral imperative of ending AIDS. They also discussed ways to coordinate the religious response across different traditions. A practical, immediate focal point is active religious engagement in the twenty-third International AIDS Conference in San Francisco in July 2020. 

This event was co-sponsored by Georgetown University's Global Health Initiative and Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, the International Shinto Foundation, and the World Faiths Development Dialogue.

Schedule

8:30 a.m. | Registration and Breakfast

9:00 a.m. | Welcome and Introductions
Maeve McKean, Global Health Initiative

9:15 a.m. | Opening Comments
Sandra L. Thurman, PEPFAR

9:30 a.m. | Looking Back: How Has Religion Helped and Hurt the Global AIDS Response?
Jesse Milan, AIDS United
Katherine Marshall, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, Georgetown University
David Robinson, independent consultant
Gloria Ekpo, World Vision
Ambassador Mark Lagon, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (moderator)

10:45 a.m. | Break

11:00 a.m | Looking Ahead: Faith-inspired Action to End AIDS
Mercy Niwe, World Bank
Rebecca Blachly, Office of Government Relations, Episcopal Church
Jenny Dyer, The 2030 Collaborative
David Barstow, EMPACT Africa
Francesca Merico, World Council of Churches-Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
Jonathan Quick, Duke Global Health Institute (moderator)

12:15 p.m. | Closing Session

Featured

  • David Barstow is executive director and board president of EMPACT Africa and the author of HIV and AIDS in 2030: A Choice Between Two Futures (2019). 
  • Rebecca Linder Blachly is the director of government relations for the Episcopal Church. She previously served as senior policy advisor for Africa in the U.S. Department of State's Office of Religion and Global Affairs. 
  • Jenny Dyer is the founder of the 2030 Collaborative and a lecturer in the Vanderbilt School of Medicine's Department of Health Policy.
  • Gloria Ekpo, M.D., is the senior technical advisor for HIV and AIDS at World Vision International and has accumulated over 30 years of clinical and public health experience in HIV/AIDS issues, maternal child health, family planning, community health research, and program management.
  • Jimmy Kolker is a visiting scholar for Georgetown's Center for Global Health Science and Security. He previously was assistant secretary for global affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2011-January 2017), deputy global AIDS coordinator for the Office of the U.S. Global Aids Coordinator, and chief of UNICEF's AIDS section. 
  • Mark P. Lagon is chief policy officer at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He is also adjunct professor, Centennial Fellow, and Distinguished Senior Scholar in Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.
  • Katherine Marshall is a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and a professor of the practice of development, conflict, and religion in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. She helped to create and now serves as the executive director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue. 
  • Maeve McKean is executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative. 
  • Francesca Merico is HIV campaign coordinator for the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, which engages faith-based organizations in multiple traditions to end the AIDS epidemic.
  • Jesse Milan Jr. is president and CEO of AIDS United, a grant-making and advocacy organization dedicated to eradicating AIDS in the United States.
  • Mercy Niwe leads the World Bank Group’s engagement and outreach with faith actors.
  • Jonathan Quick is senior fellow emeritus at Duke Global Health Institute and former president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health. 
  • David Robinson is an independent consultant for interreligious action in humanitarian emergencies and development.
  • Sandra Thurman is chief strategy officer at the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy.