Rome (Italy). On 23 June 2023, the 1st online meeting of the Researchers of the Institutions of Higher Studies of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians took place, with the aim of encouraging and structuring the network between the ISS-FMA in the area of education and culture. There were 36 participants at the meeting, representing 16 Institutions.

This initiative is part of the line of collaboration and synergy that is being configured and consolidated between the ISS-FMA starting from Strategic Planning 2023-2027. This practice is ratified and encouraged by the documents: Guidelines for the Educational Mission, Identity Card of the ISS-FMA, and by the decision of the III World Meeting of Higher Institutions held in Copacabana, Colombia (2019), which created the 6 nodal points of the networking between the ISS-FMA. It is a diversified, organized network that favors not only the synergy between the Institutions that make up a particular node, but also that between the different groups.

Sr. Ivone Goulart Lopes, collaborator of the Youth Ministry Sector of the FMA Institute, ISS-FMA Referent, began the meeting by recalling the words of Pope Francis in his talk to the participants of the Convention promoted by ODUCAL – the Organization of Catholic Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean on 4 May 2023. “And if I were now to translate the word ‘mission’ in the academic sphere, I would use the word ‘research’. Seekers have a missionary mind and heart. They are not satisfied with what they have; they go looking. (…) Missionaries love reciprocity. They teach and learn, convinced that everyone has something to teach. Thus researchers, if they are not willing to go out and learn, will give up who knows what wonderful knowledge, mutilating their own intelligence. May your Universities, as individual academic institutions and as a network of Catholic universities, become research centers appreciated throughout the world”.

In the Strategic Planning – Line of action no. 1: Networking, the individual works are invited to intensify their networking, to strengthen the identity, mission, visibility, educational and cultural impact of the ISS-FMA. In Goal 1 – Creation of an interdisciplinary group of researchers – is encouraged to deepen some major current problems affecting the culture and education of youth, by 2026.

To this end, it moved towards the formation of an international team, a collaborative network made up of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and lay researchers who belong to some ISS-FMA, to other formation and educational realities of the FMA Institute, and also to partner Institutions  who study, accompany, and develop projects aimed at the areas of education, communication, and culture of young people at the level of human rights, environmental protection, ecumenical and religious dialogue, and intercultural and communicative relations.

The reflections that will be produced and shared will constitute a contribution to the academic debate from the Salesian point of view, and also to the improvement and refinement of Salesian educational practice in the Institutions of Higher Studies which has as its pillars: teaching, research, and extension.

Sr. Ivone concluded the meeting by thanking the Researchers for what they are doing and encouraging them to go forward in this direction.


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