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Conference Explores the Search for a Fair and Compassionate Society

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Social justice and the search for a fairer society will be the theme of the opening lecture at a special conference marking the 75th anniversary of what is widely considered the first steps to a welfare state in Britain.

Professor Chris Baker, Director of Research for the William Temple Foundation and Professor of Religion and Public Life at the University of Chester, will open the Social Justice: building a fairer, more equal society, conference, being held in Worcester from June 23-25.

The Worcester conference will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Malvern Conference, which was gathered by William Temple, then Archbishop of York, in 1941 and is widely considered as the first steps to creating a welfare state in Britain.

A partnership between the University of Worcester and the William Temple Foundation, the Worcester conference will explore whether we can emerge from the current troubled times with a new social order and ask the question ‘What does social justice mean now in the contexts of faith, education, health, welfare, race, ethnicity, gender, class, public policy and economics?’

Professor Baker’s lecture, titled ‘Faith in the Public Sphere – In Search of a Fair and Compassionate Society for the 21st Century’, will focus on the significant changes of religion and the public sphere under the pressures of globalisation and modernity.

Professor Baker will aim to discuss the new ideas that can inspire us to confront the moral, political and economic challenges that arise in the contemporary search for a fair and just society.

“I am honoured and thrilled to be addressing the subject of social justice and the public role religion can play in contributing to it,” he said. “It was a subject close to the heart of William Temple and his practical vision for a fair and just society which led to the creation of the universal and comprehensive welfare state after the war.

“This conference will reflect, from many different countries and perspectives, on the legacy of the Malvern Conference 75 years ago where these ideas were debated. I am painfully aware of how the same issues need to be addressed in an even more urgent and coherent way that challenges both faith and secular sectors of society to raise their game and re-imagine the new vision we need to make social justice a reality.”

Taking place at 7pm on Thursday June 23 at Worcester Cathedral, Professor Baker’s lecture is open to the public and is free of charge. If you are interested in attending the lecture, please email rsvp@worc.ac.uk or contact Mark Evans at the University on 01905 855080.

Other speakers over the two days include Professor Pat Thane, of King’s College, London, who will challenge assertions about ‘intergenerational injustice’, paying particular attention to inequalities among retired people and among children since 1945; Professor Morwenna Griffiths, of Edinburgh University, who will explore ethical education; Professor Jon Glasby, of the University of Birmingham, who will review recent policy priorities in terms of what this says about our values as a society and as health and social care professions; and Professor Philip Goodchild, of the University of Nottingham, whose keynote will look at the role debt plays in society.