National Face AIDS conference


Stephen Lewis to be keynote speaker

Stephen Lewis, an international leader in the fight against AIDS, will be the keynote speaker for the two-day National Face AIDS Conference when it opens on Friday, Feb. 23 at Fairfield University. Mr. Lewis, the former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, who serves on the Board of Directors of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and is the chair of the board of The Stephen Lewis Foundation (www.stephenlewisfoundation.org), will deliver his address at 7 p.m. in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Mr. Lewis is co-chairing the Leadership Programme Committee for the XVII International AIDS Conference, which will be held in Mexico City in August 2008. He was named by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the 'One hundred most influential people in the world,' along with people such as The Dalai Lama, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Nelson Mandela.

He is the inaugural Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and a Senior Advisor to the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York. His book, "Race Against Time," received the 2005 Libris Award for Book of the Year from the Canadian Booksellers Association.

The keynote address and Saturday morning conference sessions are open to the public with no charge.

Face AIDS is a nation-wide movement among college students to become informed and help address the issues of AIDS. The movement began at Stanford University and has spread to more than 85 campuses across the country. One of its major goals is to raise $1 million to fight AIDS in Africa by supporting the work of Partners in Health, founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, who spoke at Fairfield earlier this year.

The Saturday morning program begins at 9 a.m. with an overview of the political, economic, ethical, psychological, and cultural factors influencing the United States' national and international involvement in the AIDS pandemic. Presenting the discussion will be British Robinson, senior advisor for public partnerships, Office of US Global AIDS Coordinator; Robert Winn, MD, Instructor of Family & Community Medicine at Jefferson Medical College; and Fr. Jim Kennan, S.J., chair of the Catholic Theological Coalition on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Advisor to the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance.

At 10:15, conference attendees may select from three workshops on:

"Vulnerable Populations and AIDS," with Priscilla Rodriguez, MSW, Casey Family Services, and Carolyn Miles, chief operating officer, Save the Children;

"AIDS in the Media," with James Smith, editor of the Connecticut Post and Veronica Douglas, director of Special Projects, WTNH; and

"HIV Care and Treatment," an exploration of faith-based initiatives with Fr. Jim Keenan, S.J., chair of the Catholic Theological Coalition on HIV/AIDS Prevention and advisor to the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance.

Additional panelists are being confirmed.

From 11:30 to 12:30, a panel discussion takes place on "The Emergence of Treatment and Prevention Programs in Resource Poor Settings." Exploring the shift toward treatment in the 21st century, World Health Organization guidelines, and drug pricing will be Angela Wasunna, assistant director, International Affairs, Pfizer; Laurie Sylla, research projects director, Yale AIDS Program and Connecticut site coordinator for the Global Campaign for Microbicides; and Evan Lyon, MD, a doctor with Partners in Health in Haiti since 1997.

The conference at Fairfield came about when two Fairfield U. seniors, Jennifer Miller of Portola Valley, Calif., and Marco Ambrosio of Livingston, N.J., attended a conference at Stanford University in October. The Face AIDS organization thought a similar conference should be held on the East Coast. With the help of Dr. Renee White, their Face AIDS advisor and the co-director of Black Studies at Fairfield, the two students seized the opportunity to bring the conference to their school.

Dr. White said the goals for the conference are twofold: "to raise awareness both on campus and within the community about the devastation caused by this disease in the African Diaspora, and to provide education and assistance for students hoping to create a Face AIDS chapter on their own campuses."

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 14, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 146