The main focus was on the genesis of the Catholic concept of development especially after the Second Vatican Council and on the question which role the university is to play in the further developing, spreading and discussing of this concept in the context of Latin America’s social and economic reality. With this in mind, the convention was thematically also based on the KAAD Annual Convention of the year 2019 dealing with the topic of “Development”: Concept and Practice”. In his opening lecture, the Peruvian economist and social scientist Javier Iguiñiz described how not only the church concept of development, especially since the 1980s, has slowly become independent of the concept of development and how it has even questioned it. Nowadays, the Western idea of development has been reaching its limits and struggling for sustainable concepts – not only according to Prof Iguiñiz.
In three different working groups (Development and Democracy; Development and University; Development and the Crisis of Civilisation), the members of the KAAD expert group “Peace and Justice” dealt with the convention’s topic from different perspectives. They historically described the genesis of the concept of development, reflected upon the role of the university in the discussion about the church’s concept of development and discussed the often quoted crisis of civilisation of the Western world in view of future development perspectives.
The Archbishop of Huancayo, Cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, who actively contributed to the wording of the much-noticed encyclical ‘Laudato si’ (2015), spoke in his lecture about important aspects of the Catholic concept of development which could help to overcome the crisis of civilisation. Among other things, he made references to the primary task of preserving creation, the duty to always combine development with serving the poor and to understand the principle of human solidarity as a foundation for development. Those elements together joined in what the church has understood today as holistic ecology. After the convention’s final mass concelebrated by cardinal Barreto and the KAAD President, the cardinal told Schockenhoff that he perceives KAAD’s work as “prophetic” and he seemed to be quite encouraged in view of the commitment of so many highly qualified Catholic lay pople in Latin America and other parts of the world.