BRIEF: Themed Panel, Lectures Set Stage at Gonzaga for Opus Prize Awards

Gonzaga University faculty and students will explore the themes, issues and ideas surrounding the stories of the finalists for the 2014 Opus Prize in a series of lectures and panel discussions this fall. The public is invited to join in the conversations at free “Opus Prize Nights” held on Tuesdays at 7 p.m., in the Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium, according to a press release.

In partnership with the Opus Prize Foundation, Gonzaga is hosting the 2014 Opus Prize Awards Ceremony & Community Reception Oct. 16 at Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox to honor the three unsung humanitarians. One of three finalists will win $1 million to advance his or her faith-based, entrepreneurial, sustainable, humanitarian efforts; the other two will each receive $100,000.  The three finalists are: Sister Teresa Fitzgerald of Hour Children in Queens, New York; Gollapalli Israel of the Janodayam Social Education Center in Chennai, India; and Rev. Joseph Maier of the Mercy Centre Human Development Foundation in Bangkok.


9  SEPTEMBER – “Faith-Based Charities: The Work That Does Justice.” The inaugural Opus Prize Night is a panel presentation and discussion about faith-based charities and the different ways they live their relationships through service and faith in the community. The panel includes Phil Altmeyer, director of Union Gospel Mission; Rob McCann, director of Catholic Charities Spokane; and Rabbi Tamar Malino, Temple Beth Shalom and Temple Emanu-El.

16  SEPTEMBER – “Bridging Cultures: Intercultural Competence and the Challenge of Accompaniment.” This interactive panel discussion will focus on how intercultural competence is critical in the search for social justice in society.

23  SEPTEMBER– “Faith, Reciprocity, and Aid on the Columbia Plateau: Awareness of Social Needs in Our Own Backyard.” This panel will explore the history of Gonzaga in Spokane, rooted in the Jesuit relationship (and promises) to the Native American original residents of this region.

30  SEPTEMBER – “Race and Empowered Communities: Structural Racism and the Criminal Justice System.” Following a brief video, a panel discussion will explore the intersection of race and the criminal justice system, and how humanitarian work can mitigate the damage racism and other forms of exclusion do in our societies.

7  OCTOBER – “Social Entrepreneurship: What Is It, and What Does It Mean for Gonzaga?”  This evening discussion will highlight social entrepreneurship as a means of empowerment toward greater social justice and human dignity.

28  OCTOBER – “What Is a Concerned Zag to Do? Lessons Learned and Potential Work around the Faith That Does Justice.” This program will advance the conversation about faith that does justice, highlighting opportunities for students to do good work in the world – both while at Gonzaga and after graduation.

4  NOVEMBER – “How to Make a Living AND Change the World.” This program, featuring students who visited the finalists’ where they work, will challenge students to consider how they can change the world and imagine themselves with a socially responsible career.


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