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NMSU Philosophy professor to address poverty at national meeting

A philosophy professor at New Mexico State University is working to empower the nation's poor. Lori Keleher, an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been invited to lead a workshop on the Capability Approach at a conference for the Community Action Agencies on April 9, in Sacramento, Calif.


Headshot of Lori Keleher
Lori Keleher, an assistant professor of philosophy, has been invited to head up a workshop onthe Capability Approach at a conference for the Community Action Agencies on April 9, in Sacramento, Calif. (Submitted photo)

"On this view, poverty is not just a lack of income, but the freedom to do and be valuable things," said Lori Keleher, an assistant professor of philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences. "For example, the freedom to be well nourished, or the freedom to be literate, or the freedom to own a home."

Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are nonprofit private and public organizations established under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to fight America's War on Poverty. According to their website, these agencies help people to help themselves to become self-sufficient. Today there are 1,000 CAAs, serving the poor in every state as well as Puerto Rico and other areas.

Keleher, who teaches ancient philosophy and feminism, will introduce the Capability Approach CAA to board members and leaders in California.

"I hope that the Capability Approach will be a useful resource to people planning and evaluating anti-poverty interventions and empowerment measures," Keleher said.

Keleher wrote her dissertation on the concepts of empowerment in international development. She has served on the board of the International Development Ethics Association since 2006, and as the co-leader of the Ethics and Development Thematic Group of the Human Development Capability Association.

Her research interests include ethics and moral philosophy with a special interest in international ethics and economic development.

"I think many people are surprised to learn about the "real life" implications of philosophy," Keleher said. "My own research on understanding poverty is geared towards improving the lives of the most vulnerable among us."

For more information about the Community Action Partnership in Washington, D.C, visit their website at http://www.communityactionpartnership.com/.