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PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (February 24, 2012) – Conference host La Roche College will join with other sponsor organizations to once again bring to the public this free conference that focuses on critical global issues. This year’s conference, Poverty & Hunger: Global Plagues, explores the root causes and seeks solutions to poverty and hunger in the U.S. and abroad.

According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, in 2010 an estimated 925 million people suffer from hunger as a result of a sudden spike in global food prices and the onset of world-wide economic crisis. In 2005, the latest year for which data is available, 1.4 billion people in developing countries lived in extreme poverty, or on less than $1.25 a day. The World Food Programme (WFP) statistics tell us that one in seven people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life, making hunger and malnutrition the number one risk to health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Moreover, hunger is no longer a plague found on distant shores. Since the financial and economic crisis that erupted in 2008, there has been a dramatic increase in hunger in America. Hunger has come home to America in a significant way. According to the most recent statistics released in the latest government report (Coleman-Jensen 2011, p.v): In 2012, 17.2 million households, or 14.5 percent of households were food insecure — the highest number ever recorded in the United States. Additionally, in 2010, 46.9 million people in the U.S. were in poverty — the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty rates have been published (DeNavas-Walt 2011, p.14).

Brothers Brother Foundation, Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Global Solutions Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education and La Roche College are sponsors of the conference, which will take place on La Roche’s main campus in McCandless Township.

The Friday evening keynote speaker is Ambassador Donald Steinberg, deputy administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Saturday’s plenary speaker is Max Finberg, director of the USDA Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Conference panelists on Saturday are Ambassador Anthony Quainton, distinguished diplomat- in-residence at American University in Washington, D.C.; Tara Reynolds Marks, co-director of Pittsburgh-based Just Harvest; and Susan Rauscher, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

To register online for the conference and see a detailed schedule of events go to: The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required as space is limited. Participants are asked to bring non-perishable food items to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

For more information contact Dr. Tom Schaefer at (412) 536-1198, or by email at

About La Roche College: A private, Catholic, co-educational college north of Pittsburgh founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche welcomes students of all religions, ethnic origins and talents. Undergraduates may choose from more than 50 majors, including the top 10 majors most in demand among today’s college students. La Roche combines a quality educational experience with clubs, athletics, social and community volunteer activities, spiritual well-being and more to prepare students for life in a constantly changing global society.

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