Pope Francis greeted Henry Schwalbenberg, Ph.D., the director of Fordham’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED), at Vatican City on Saturday, October 23. Schwalbenberg had traveled to Rome to attend an international conference, “Solidarity, Cooperation and Responsibility,” at the Vatican. While there, he shared the 2021 results of Fordham’s Pope Francis Global Poverty Index with Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, the president of Caritas Internationalis, the relief and development arm of the Catholic Church, and with Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J., the pope’s point person on international migration issues.

The index was developed by IPED students to help the public understand the plight of the poor on a global scale. 

On his return from Rome, Schwalbenberg stopped by the Catholic University of America to present the results of the poverty index and meet with IPED alumni in the Washington, D.C., area.

“In addressing us, Pope Francis encouraged us all ‘to sow many small seeds that can bear fruit in an economy that is equitable and beneficial, humane and people centered,’” Schwalbenberg wrote in an e-mail.

Through Fordham’s Pope Francis poverty index and the training of professions to work in agencies like Catholic Relief Services, he wrote, “this is what we are trying to do.”