June 5, 2003


CUA Holds International Conference on Aging Policy

Policy Makers from North America, Asia and Africa Will Meet to Examine Policies, Exchange Ideas at Weeklong Seminar in Washington, D.C.


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Catholic University of America’s International Center on Global Aging (ICGA) will hold its third International Seminar on Aging Policy on June 7- 15, 2003. As part of the weeklong seminar, international government officials and scholars in the fields of health and welfare will have a June 16th conference with their U.S. counterparts to compare policies and practices affecting older citizens in their respective countries.


Representatives from Pakistan, Nepal, India, Israel and Ghana will attend the seminar and June 16 conference. The June 16 conference is open to the media from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Interviews with conference participants and organizers can be arranged at other times during the weeklong seminar.) The June 16 conference, “Aging Issues and Solutions from Other Countries, will be held in the Life Cycle Institute Auditorium on CUA’s campus, located at 620 Michigan Ave., N.E. That day, seminar participants from other countries will be invited to make presentations to their counterparts in the Washington, D.C., area, including aging professionals, policy makers and advocates. 


William Bechill, chairman of the ICGA advisory board and the first U.S. Commissioner on Aging, will lead the conference. He most recently served as chair of the Maryland Commission on Aging for seven years.


In many countries, aging policy is being influenced by powerful forces including: increased numbers of older persons; increased political influence of older populations; and the ramifications of shrinking state and federal resources for the elderly.  The seminar will provide a forum where international policies on aging will be reviewed by policy makers, legislators, heads of national government organizations, service providers, scholars on aging and others.


“Today, more than ever, older persons play essential roles in every society, and their numbers will double over the next 20 years,” says ICGA director Grace Clark. “In this climate, it is vital that countries adopt aging policies that promote dignity and that recognize older persons as key contributors to society.  Such policies must be humane, feasible within the resources available, and cost effective for the countries’ economies.


“Because there are no easy answers to finding such policies, it is important to learn from each other about what has been done, what works, and to exchange ideas about new possibilities.”


The seminar begins Saturday, June 7, 2003, at 9 a.m. and continues through Sunday, June 15, at noon.  Each day the seminar will address a different set of policy issues. International participants also will meet with U.S. aging advocates and older Americans in a variety of settings and programs.  It is hoped that the small group format of the seminar will facilitate discussion and questioning of presenters and encourage the exchange of ideas.


This marks the third time the International Center on Global Aging has organized a Washington, D.C., conference for the discussion of international aging policy.


The ICGA, housed in the National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University, was created to improve the lives of older persons around the world through the development and exchange of knowledge, skills, practices, ideas and people involved in the aging field. The Washington, D.C., center has a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multiethnic and multidisciplinary focus, and works to help older people worldwide, especially those in poor and developing countries. The ICGA serves as a resource for those who work with older populations, by offering a certificate from the Aging Program at Catholic University, professional seminars and conferences, study tours to countries outside the United States, research, publications and educational outreach to individuals. The center is affiliated with the International Federation on Ageing.


For information about the third International Seminar on Aging Policy, contact ICGA Director Grace Clark by e-mail at clark@cua.edu, or by phone at 202-319-5471. 


Media inquiries should be directed to Chris Harrison or Victor Nakas in the Office of Public Affairs, at 202-319-5600. The media is invited to cover the June 16 conference, “Aging Issues and Solutions from Other Countries,” on June 16; interviews with seminar participants and organizers can be arranged at other times during the weeklong seminar.