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SJU Founder’s Week draws new archbishop

St. John’s University is celebrating its 16th annual Founder’s Week with a packed calendar of events at the Fresh Meadows campus that includes a speech by Archbishop of New York the Rev. Timothy M. Dolan, a ceremony honoring a Long Island City nonprofit and a talk by “Three Cups of Tea” author Greg Mortenson.

The event, held from Jan. 25 to Jan. 30 at all of St. John’s six campuses worldwide, is meant to mark the legacy of St. John’s Vincentian mission and the 350th anniversary of the death of St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century saint from France who founded the Vincentian order that seeks to change the world through charity and social justice.

The weeklong event also marks the death of St. Louise de Marillac, who served the poor, oppressed and marginalized.

“This week we try to look at the heritage and think about how we’re going to carry out that mission in 2010,” said Mary Ann Dantuono, associate director of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society at St. John’s.

Dolan will give his address, entitled “Vincent de Paul, A Saint for Yesterday and Today,” during a public event this Thursday at 4 p.m. at the St. Thomas More Church on campus.

“We are really looking forward to the speech by the archbishop of New York, who has a Ph.D. in church history,” Dantuono said.

This Thursday evening the school will present an award to Long Island City’s Hour Children, a nonprofit that works with imprisoned women who have children.

“Hour Children is getting an award for creating systemic change in the world,” Dantuono said. “Their work is fabulous, and I’m so happy they’re getting this award. They try to help the women maintain relationships with their children while the women are in prison. When they’re released, they help them with job training, housing, a whole range of things.”

Mortenson, an acclaimed author who has established 131 schools in rural regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, was scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday. He is the co-author of the best-selling book “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace %u2026 One School at a Time.” His latest book is “Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

There are a series of events at St. John’s Queens campus, including a group discussion Friday on “Half the Sky,” a book by New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof. The St. John’s women’s group Ladies of Charity will lead the discussion on the book that details how to empower women worldwide and touches on such topics as sex trafficking, forced prostitution and gender-based violence. The event will begin at 12:15 p.m. in Bent Hall’s, Room 277.

At 7 p.m. Friday, school officials will host a “Voices of the World for Charity and Justice” concert that is free and open to the public. The concert will include students’ groups and singers and dancers from such countries as India and China, Dantuono said.

For more events and information about Founder’s Week, visit stjohns.edu/foundersweek.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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