Friday and Saturday, October 26-27, 2007

The St. John’s University School of Law

8000 Utopia Parkway

Jamaica, Queens, New York 11439



Father Richard Ryscavage SJ, is professor of sociology and international studies at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Ct.  He is director of the new Center for Faith and Public Life which addresses public issues where politics and religion intersect. Father Ryscavage served as national director of the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, a non-governmental organization operating in 50 countries.  He set up the first program to provide religious coordinators for immigration detention facilities of the US Department of Homeland Security. At the national office for the Jesuits in the USA he was their main advisor for international and domestic social issues.

He chaired the humanitarian section of Interaction, the largest coalition of American agencies working internationally.  For several years he was selected to represent the US non-governmental organizations on official US government delegations to the United Nations.   From 1994-97 he was a tutor and researcher at the Refugee Studies Centre of Oxford University. He represented Oxford at numerous human rights and refugee meetings.   At Oxford he convened a major international conference on the “Military and Non Governmental Humanitarian Organizations”.


Fr. Ryscavage was executive director of migration and refugee services for the US Catholic bishops where he ran the largest refugee resettlement agency in the US with an annual budget of  40 million dollars  He was also president of a legal services corporation set up by the bishops to help new immigrants with legal issues.


 In 2006  Fr. Ryscavage was appointed official advisor to the delegation of the Holy See to the United Nations 61st General Assembly. He participated as one of the Vatican representatives in the “High Level Dialogue on Migration” convened by the UN Secretary General in September 2006.

 He is also a consultant for the Archdiocese of Bridgeport Catholic Charities immigration services program. In November 2006 he gave the Bricker Memorial Lecture at Tulane University  on “Migration, Globalization and the Future of Christianity” .  He recently contributed a chapter to a book on the “Basics of Humanitarian Missions” (edited by Kevin Cahill. Fordham University Press)


A graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Father Ryscavage received a honorary doctorate from Assumption College and  Masters degrees in political philosophy from Boston College and in international administration from the School for International Training.   He teaches regularly at Fordham University’s International Diploma Program in Humanitarian Assistance.  He is a member of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus.





Rick Ryscavage will speak about the new Center at Fairfield University: The Center for Faith and Public Life.  Fairfield University has created the Center for Faith and Public Life to respond to the growing global awareness of the influence of religion on public affairs. It is a cross-disciplinary forum for students, scholars, policy makers and religious leaders, to converse and reflect on the many issues where religion intersects with civic life. Anchored in the rich traditions of Catholic social thought and Jesuit spirituality, the Center will respect diversity while promoting the common good.  The Center views faith as a way to link the University to local, national and international communities. Attending to faith can also prove crucial in preparing and mobilizing people for intelligent participation in political and community life. Through academic research, teaching, publications and public initiatives, the Center hopes to provide a new and exciting focus for viewing the role of religion in the public square.  One of the programs that we are developing, in association with alumni from Fairfield, is the Thomas More lecture series which will invite recognized traditional Catholic speakers to campus to discuss current societal, political and religious issues.