The four-day meeting was attended by 250 researchers and academics from 118 public and private universities from all five continents.
Madrid, 9 July 2021. The 6th International Congress of Scholas Chairs in Madrid ended with the plantation of a symbolic olive tree of peace by the Apostolic Nuncio to Spain, Mgr Bernardito Auza; the President of the San Pablo CEU University, Dr Alfonso Bullón de Mendoza y Gómez de Valugera; the President of the Hispanic-Jewish Foundation, David Hatchwell; the President of the Pontifical Scholas Occurrentes Foundation, José María del Corral; and Cardinal Carlos Osoro, Archbishop of Madrid.
Dr. Alfonso Bullón de Mendoza y Gómez de Valugera, President of the CEU highlighted: “I want to give a few words of gratitude to those who have made this Congress possible. We as an educational institution are delighted to be able to collaborate with the mission promoted by Scholas at all educational levels, supporting this inclusion that the University world also demands in recent times”.
Cardinal Osoro, Archbishop of Madrid, gave a blessing and made a call to build fraternity “Thank you Lord for this Congress of Scholas Occurrentes and thank you Lord for all the initiatives that so many institutions are doing in so many different places to build universal brotherhood. It is not only possible or necessary, but it is certainly possible, without forgetting that dimension that humanity sometimes forgets, to know that God is with us and is counting on us to build fraternity”.
To conclude, the Apostolic Nuncio of Spain, Monsignor Bernardito Auza, who had already participated in the V edition of the International Congress of Scholas Chairs at Fordham University, in New York, as Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations at the time, thanked: «Scholas Occurrentes is a space for everyone, but specially for young people who hold our future in their hands.»
Highlights of the 6th International Congress of Scholas Chairs
Over the four days it lasted, 250 researchers and academics from 118 universities from all five continents met at the San Pablo CEU University in Madrid to generate opportunities for cooperation and learning around the theme of education as the main instrument for social change, with an emphasis on the challenges facing post-pandemic education. Innovative pedagogical experiences with which to recover the value of an education with meaning were also presented, such as the initiatives on water care developed by the APEC University of the Dominican Republic; the project «A new education for a new economy», developed jointly by Scholas and the Institute for New Economic Thinking, from the United States; the exchange experience of students in native communities carried out between the University of Padua (Italy) and the University of Bahia (Brazil); and the Pibel Puvel programme that Scholas has been running for two years now in Haiti together with Congregación Jesús María (Congregation of Religious of Jesus and Mary).
Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani, secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, from the Vatican City, and Daniel Stigliano, coordinator of Scholas Chairs, were in attendance at the opening of the Congress. Mr Stigliano explained that «we strive to develop a pedagogy of reality, to go outside the walls of the University, to detect the problems of the community and make them the subject-matter of research, without reducing this to a paper publication or an extension activity, but under the model of research-action.»
Right from the first day of this edition, Scholas’ typical diversity was plain to see, with multiple academic disciplines, public and private universities, as well as the variety of religious denominations participating in the Panel on Interreligious Dialogue and the Educational Pact, integrated by Mgr Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences; Mohammed Kaleem Mizra, President of the Federation of Muslims of Spain, and Rav Moshe Bendaham, Chief Rabbi of Madrid.
Among the topics that stood out during the week were the future of the University in relation to social responsibility, new technologies, digital environments and technology transfer, which were discussed with the participation of universities and companies such as MAOF Holding, IBM, La Caixa and Odilo.
In addition to the impact that digital solutions have brought to the academic sector and to teaching processes, the 6th Congress emphasized the recovery of meaning in educational processes. As a result, there were spaces open for discussion on teacher training for inclusive and effective learning, and outstanding experiences from India, Guatemala, Mozambique, Kenya, Argentina and Brazil, among other countries, were presented.
An additional highlight of this 6th edition was the International Meeting of Young University Students, bringing together students from Italy, Israel and Spain, who also participated in the cross-generational dialogue between academics and young people in workshops organized during the Congress.
Launch Launch of the Water Education Pact
During the panel entitled «University and Business, a new bond. Commitment to Laudato Si'», José María del Corral and Ygdal Ach, CEO at MAOF, announced the release of the Water Educational Pact, which seeks to coordinate the work of the public, private and academic sectors to join forces and achieve tangible solutions to local problems such as lack of water, unsafe water and contaminated water, as reported by young people from various Scholas communities around the world.
The Water Educational Pact will benefit from a physical space to promote, follow up and audit the different projects, which include the start of the work of permanent technical teams on the banks of the Riachuelo, in the Province of Buenos Aires (Argentina), together with the Laudato Si Observatory, as well as in Guatemala and from the headquarters of MAOF in Israel and the Scholas Foundation in the Vatican.