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Former U.S. ambassador to Vatican to speak

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Photo courtesy University of Dayton.

Miguel Díaz, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will present the Aquinas Center of Theology’s fifth annual Major Catholic Speaker Lecture at Emory University Thursday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Claudia Nance Rollins Building Auditorium, 401 Rollins Way.

His lecture, titled "Though Hispanic Eyes, God, International Relations and the Human Good," will explore how religion can contribute to the development of human rights.  Roberto Goizueta,  prominent Catholic theologian from Boston College and first director of the Aquinas Center, will introduce Diaz at the lecture.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Tickets are currently sold out for this event. To be added to the waiting
list for tickets, email Beverly Osterbur at

Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1963, Díaz and his family settled in Miami in 1972. His father worked as a waiter and his mother as a seamstress, along with doing data entry work.

Díaz earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Thomas University in Miami and received master’s and doctorate degrees in theology from the University of Notre Dame.

He has taught at Barry University, St. John’s University, and the University of Notre Dame. He also served as the academic dean at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary. Díaz is fluent in Italian, Spanish and French. He is currently the University Professor of Faith and Culture at the University of Dayton.

Appointed by President Obama to be the United States ambassador the Vatican from 2009 to 2012, Díaz was the first Hispanic to hold the post. As ambassador, Díaz helped launch the Religion in Foreign Policy Working Group of the Secretary of State’s Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society. This group facilitated regular dialogue between the U.S. foreign policy establishment and religious leaders, scholars, and practitioners worldwide to build more effective partnerships on issues such as conflict prevention, humanitarian assistance and national security.

Díaz is active in numerous professional associations. He serves on the board of the Catholic Theological Society of America and is a past president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. He is a member of Voices for the Common Good, a media speaker’s bureau consisting of prominent Catholic experts on Catholic social teachings.

Díaz is widely published including a book he co-edited, "From the Heart of Our People: Latino/a Explorations in Catholic Systematic Theology," in 1999, and in 2001,"On Being Human: U.S. Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives."

Previous Aquinas Center Major Catholic Speakers were Cardinal Walter Kaspar, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; President John Jenkins, CSC, of the University of Notre Dame; Harvard Law professor and former ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon; Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., former master of the Dominican order; and Sr. Carol Keehan, CEO of the Catholic Health Association.

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