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Courtyard of the Gentiles looks at society and economy

ROME (SE): “The theme chosen for the conference is intended to stimulate reflection on a key question in current political and academic debate, and about which public opinion is increasingly sensitive: the relationship between economics and society, and the need to define new, more humane and inclusive economic models,” the organisers of the Courtyard of the Gentiles told the Holy See Press Office on September 12.

The annual session of the Courtyard of the Gentiles, which sets out to bring together people from all persuasions of faith and none in an atmosphere of quiet discussion and attentive listening, will convene in Palazzo Borromeo in Rome under the theme, Towards a more humane and just world. A new inclusive economic paradigm in the context of growing inequalities, on September 21.

Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, along with the ambassador from Italy to the Holy See, Daniele Mancini, and Giuliano Amato, a former prime minister of Italy and president of the Courtyard of the Gentiles Foundation, made the announcement at the Holy See Press Office.

The annual event is jointly organised by the Italian embassy to the Holy See and the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Guests this year will include the 2015 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Angus Deaton, from the University of Princeton, the United States of America (US); the French economist, Jean-Paul Fitoussi, professor at the LUISS University, Italy; and the Belgian economist, Dominique Van der Mensbrugghe, professor at Purdue University in the US.

The organisers point out that data from the United Nations Development Programme show that, at the global level, between 1990 and 2015, the level of poverty in families has reduced by more than two thirds and in absolute terms, the number of people living below the extreme poverty line has reduced from 1.9 billion to 836 million; the level of infant mortality has more than halved; and 2.6 billion more people have access to a source of drinking water, even though the world population has grown from 5.3 to 7.3 billion.

However, on the negative side, the same data shows that almost 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and live on less than two dollars per day; around 80 per cent of the global population has access to just six per cent of available health care and more than 50 per cent of global wealth is possessed by one per cent of the population.

High- and low-income countries are equally vulnerable to problems caused by inequality.

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