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September 2015

Save the Date: Cardinal Peter Turkson, Key Adviser to the Pope, to Headline Santa Clara University Conference on the Environment

Pope Francis’s recent historic encyclical letter urging preservation of the earth will be the topic of a two-day conference Nov. 3-4 at Santa Clara University, featuring Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, a key Vatican adviser.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 24, 2015 - Pope Francis’s recent historic encyclical letter calling on Catholics and others to “hear the cry of the earth” will be the topic of a two-day conference Nov. 3-4 at Santa Clara University, entitled Our Future on a Shared Planet: Silicon Valley in Conversation with the Environmental Teachings of Pope Francis.

Headlining the conference will be Cardinal Peter Turkson, the Ghanaian Cardinal who is president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Cardinal Turkson is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential Vatican experts on the contents of the celebrated encyclical document, Laudato Si, for which he was an adviser.

In addition to a planned keynote address by Cardinal Turkson the afternoon of Nov. 3, several panelists and speakers are being convened to address topics such as the political, scientific, corporate and theological implications of the encyclical.

A more-comprehensive list of speakers, topics, times and locations as well as registration information will be shared as it becomes available, via

The current list of anticipated speakers and topics is below.

Climate Science and the Encyclical
Confirmed Speaker:
Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Public Policy and the Encyclical
Speaker TBA

Economics and the Encyclical
Confirmed Speaker:
Gretchen Daily, Bing Professor of Environmental Science at Stanford University, where she directs the Center for Conservation Biology.

Silicon Valley and the Encyclical
Confirmed Speaker:
John Denniston, Former investment partner and Green Growth Fund co-manager, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; President, Society of St. Vincent de Paul District Council, San Mateo County

Santa Clara University and the Encyclical
The final panel the evening of Nov. 4 will look at how Santa Clara University should respond to the encyclical, given its current commitment to climate neutrality, reduced carbon footprint, and campuswide sustainability initiatives.  

Multi-faith dialogue with Cardinal Turkson
In addition to the public panels and speakers, a multi-faith dialogue around the encyclical  will be held Nov. 3, with area faith leaders and Cardinal Turkson. The event is by invitation only, but is expected to be recorded for public viewing at a later date.

Confirmed attendees:
Rev. Sally Bingham, president and founder, Interfaith Power and Light
Rabbi Allan Berkowitz, executive director of Environmental Volunteers
Ameena Jandali, co-founder of Islamic Network Group
Linda Cutts, Abbess of the San Francisco Zen Center and Green Gulch Farm

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121

Press Release