Rome (Italy). On 25 September 2022, in Rome, at the Generalate of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the International Conference on the theme “The Contribution of the FMA to Education (1872-2022) begins. Paths, Challenges, and Perspectives” promoted by the FMA Institute and organized by the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences “Auxilium”.

With a dense program denso of contributions by 45 speakers, translated simultaneously into 5 languages, 270 participants will be in Rome from all over the world and 1,065 registered online will be involved until 30 September in a reflection on the past and on the present, to relaunch the educational mission of the FMA in the future, 150 years after the foundation of the Institute.

Starting from historical data, the event intends to outline some aspects of the contribution of the FMA to education, and to stimulate a comparison on current challenges, to strengthen the network with other educational institutions at the international level. The Conference, in fact, is part of the process put in place to support the Global Educational Pact promoted by Pope Francis in 2019 and is developed, with multidisciplinary and multicultural interpretations, in three sessions entrusted to the contributions of international speakers.

On 25 September, at 5 pm, the Conference opens with greetings from the authorities and the introduction of Sr. Grazia Loparco, FMA, Professor of Church History at the “Auxilium” Faculty.

On 26 September, at 9:00 am, the first session will open, “Historical Path between Data and Experiences”, chaired by Msgr. Vincenzo Zani, Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and moderated by Fr. Francesco Motto, SDB, formerly Director of the Salesian Historical Institute in Rome, with the aim of tracing a panoramic picture of the Institute in the various geo-cultural contexts, especially through the commitment to education among the popular and middle classes.

The day will end with the Laudato Si’ Evening, organized in collaboration with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in the Auditorium of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) in Rome.

On 27 September, with the second session “Confronting the Challenges of Education Today” awareness will be raised of some present-day scenarios that have a strong impact on the mentality and concrete behaviors of young people and educators. The reflection on the new global context will be initiated by Quentin Wodon, head of the Education Department of the World Bank, with the resonance of authoritative respondents from the five continents, including Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, FMA, Secretary of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development.

In the afternoon, the intervention of Card. Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, who will focus on the image of the polyhedron, a metaphor that challenges and stimulates confrontation with some contemporary educational challenges.

The last session “Paths and Perspectives for the Future of Education in the Light of the Preventive System” on 28 and 29 September, intends to raise awareness of the way in which some nuclei of the Preventive System are understood and lived today by the FMA and the lay people with whom they share the mission in various contexts. Hence the presentation of an exploratory research carried out by an international team made up of teachers from the Faculty “Auxilium” and FMA pedagogists from various Countries, and a Round Table to ‘re-signify’ the Salesian educational presence alongside young people, in today’s complexity.

On 28 September, “Mondovision” will take place, an international youth evening, organized by a team of students from the “Auxilium” Faculty who gathered together young women from different countries, to artistically express what the Salesian charism is for them.

On 29 September the reflection will continue with a two-part report on women’s resources for preventive education: Luigina Mortari, educator; and Alessandra Morelli, expert in humanitarian policies, former UNHCR official. Some testimonies of inculturation experiences of the Preventive System in the different realities will also be presented.

On 30 September, on the last morning, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and Grand Chancellor of the “Auxilium” Faculty; and the Dean, Sr. Piera Ruffinatto, will present a reflection on the educational and formative contribution that the FMA Institute can offer to society today.

The Eucharistic Celebration, presided over by Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, will conclude the event.


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