On the afternoon of Tuesday 8 June 2021, a meeting convened by the Socio-educational Project of America was held. In the words of Eliana Corbett, Coordinator of the PSE Advisory Commission and Principal of the Teresian Association School in Santiago (Chile), “it renews us and encourages us to implement the Pope’s call for a Global Compact on Education”.
The meeting was attended by 120 students, 76 school principals and teachers and 46 representatives of social projects of the Teresian Association who joined with hope, joy and critical thinking to participate in this first intergenerational dialogue.
The members of the PSE Commission welcomed everyone and invited them to explore new ways in which educational practices could build fairer and more caring societies for everyone. They emphasised that this forum for intergenerational encounter is an invitation to inspire and encourage the collective building of a better world. With this introduction, the event opened by introducing the participants from each country, InteRed and finally, the representatives of the Teresian Association General Council.
Courage and gentleness
Susana Sacavino, a member of the PSE Commission, then proposed a series of ideas as stimulus for dialogue on the Global Compact on Education (GCE). Here she contextualised the initiative Pope Francis called for in 2020 when he asked us to “look ahead with courage and hope, that we may be sustained by the conviction that in education lies the seed of hope: a hope of peace and justice; a hope of beauty, of goodness; a hope of social harmony”. This vision is expressed in seven proposals that recommend activities with young people so that they may be “witnesses of work that encourages care, peace, justice, beauty, fellowship and acceptance of others”.
In this context, Susana invited us to respond to this invitation. We are to understand “care” as being synonymous with “gentleness” towards humanity and the planet in order to address situations of injustice and inequality. If the economy is at the service of human beings and the planet, it will be possible to have sustainable development and respect for the rights of all. This is to be underpinned by both personal and collective commitment. Susana proposed the Socio-Educational Movement (MSE) as a means to develop the Global Compact on Education and thus contribute to meeting the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda.
Sailing on the same raft
In order to further explore the GCE, 25 discussion groups were formed to reflect on two questions:
- What are the main challenges in building active citizenship? What do we propose?
- What can we do to take care of our common home?
Although there were some technical difficulties that prevented all of the groups from meeting for the time allotted to share their reflections, the plenary was enriching for the young people who presented their ideas through the technical tools that they themselves had selected. In the words of Nidia López, a teacher from Liceo Segovia in Bogotá (Colombia), “this collective experience invites us to continue sailing on the same raft with young people as the main players in transforming education”.
Two young Colombian students in the final grade of secondary education at Liceo Segovia, Gabriela and Isabella, said that “It is very rewarding to meet people who are part of the TA, as well as to talk to students from other countries. This process brought two generations together to listen to each other’s voices. As young people, we see that we share the same interest in the common good, care for our common home and social transformation. We have great ideas and focused concern to change our society, and we have learned to dream and to learn from the past, thus generating a process of humanisation. All of us feel committed, and we are aware of the need for critical thinking. We recognise that we have empathy, resilience and the desire to be real agents of change, agents of social transformation”.
To educate is to plant hope
The Socio-Educational Movement Educating in Difficult Times responded to Pope Francis’ call for individuals, institutions, churches and governments around the world to commit to a project of social transformation that prioritises humanistic and solidarity-based education. MSE supports the dissemination of the Compact and promotes spaces for discussion, reflection and dialogue to make it operational at a local level.
Do you know about the Global Compact for Education? In this video we summarise it for those who want to be part of this initiative. Let us join together with the Socio-Educational Movement Educating in Difficult Times! Support this initiative to plant seeds of hope!
TA Translators Team.