The year of Catholic education began with the countdown of the invitation of Pope Francis. On May 14, we will indeed be in Rome to celebrate with him the Global Compact project, in which we will engage with joy and determination. The Compact is not just another text to express more clearly what Catholic education should do in favor of young people. It represents a solemn commitment to work “together and by association”, to use a beautiful Lasallian wording. Together, we are already trying in the field of Catholic education of the world to do it through our organization, even if it sometimes seems very difficult… Indeed, Europe and America do not really know each other, Asia remains isolated, within Africa the sub-regions are still too closed to each other, and sometimes, even within a sub-region, there are real tensions….
Despite this reality, what the Pope asks of us is even more demanding. It is a question of not remaining in our self and in our internal “borders”. Signing the Pact should render us united and actors of an education deployed for all, around a project to save the Common House. The Common House is not a “communitarian” house, meaning only for Catholics. It is also that of our Orthodox and Protestant brothers, that of Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, non-believers and anyone of good will. The Pact therefore aims to create a common denominator for educational action around the issues which we have in common. This is where the idea of association comes in: the Pact indeed creates the ambition to involve the maximum of people and organizations in an attempt to save the world, as it represents a single and same place of life for a world population facing major dysfunctions with identical consequences for all. By working on this project, we will discover what brings us together, and can learn to educate with one voice on certain subjects. As we already experience through the I can project, and as we experienced during the World Summit for Children. The world expects this commitment from us. We will be ready!
Secretary General of the OIEC
CIEC congress in Santiago de Chile
As every two years, the CIEC organized its continental congress. This year the Congress took place in Santiago de Chile from January 7 to 9. More than 1,200 people from about forty American countries have worked on the topic of Catholic education and management. Indeed, Catholic education must be done in a good management, ensuring at the same time the economic vitality of the schools, but testifying above all a good ethics in the relation to the other. It is this ethos that has been discussed, with some charismatic speakers. At the end of this Congress, the annual GA of CIEC was held, during which Mr. Oscar Perez was re-elected secretary general of the CIEC for the next three years.
Preparation of the meeting of May, 14th in Rome
To date, we are making progress in preparing for this meeting. We hope that many of you will come to Rome to demonstrate with Pope Francis the importance of the project he is proposing for world education. Here is the most important information, subject to further changes.
From May 10 to 15, there will be the “Education Village” on Via della Conciliazione in Rome. Stands, entertainment around four topics: education law, peace, ecology and solidarity.
In the afternoon of May 14, will take place the signing ceremony of the Compact in the Paul VI auditorium. To participate in this ceremony, you must register on the website:
Please note: OIEC will not make any reservations, as it does not dispose of all the information necessary to register the people.
On the 15th, there may be an international meeting of the Pope with the ministers of education.
Please note: on the morning of May 14, we invite all the OIEC delegations who will be present in Rome to meet for an informal and friendly discussion. We will inform you of the times and place of this meeting.
Meeting of the OIEC Steering Committee
The OIEC Steering Committee, consisting of the President, the Vice-Presidents (one for each OIEC region), the Treasurer, the representative of the Congregations and the Secretary General met at the OIEC headquarters in Rome on January 29-30, 2020. It was the first meeting of its kind in the new term, inaugurated at the General Assembly in New York. During this meeting, was reviewed the New York Congress with its strengths and weaknesses. The President also presented the main lines of the reform of the statutes which will be presented to the Executive Council in May. Furthermore, a first presentation of the 2019 accounts was given. At this meeting, the Steering Committee received a large delegation from GPEN Reformation, the world organization of Protestant schools. Promising contacts were created in order to understand what things we could do together in the service of the Christian schools of the world. Finally, the Steering Committee met with the people in charge of the Planet OIEC project, in order to familiarize with this project, which had been outlined during the New York Congress.
The situation in Lebanon
The country of the Cedars groans… who will hear its cry?
The biblical history is significant … Are the 7 years of grace followed by seven years of drought a prediction of the Lebanese financial situation? The Lebanese financial miracle – long flattered by economists – has collapsed at breakneck speed to the point where we can no longer assimilate the misfortunes that pitilessly strike us without distinguishing between rich and poor …
Within a few months, the Lebanese saw their hope shattered because of a corrupt and apparently autistic ruling class; Politicians ignore the claims of the people and carefully protect their prerogatives. Since October 17, 2019, sixty-two thousand Lebanese (mostly young people under the age of 35) have freely chosen to go into exile and leave the land of the Cedars, “land where milk and honey flow” from the book of Exodus.
Our Catholic Schools are not spared, they are even in the eye of the storm! Parents who are partially unemployed, or who have been completely dismissed from their work, do not have the possibility of paying the tuition fees, suddenly, the management is faced with a financial deadlock: how to pay the salaries of teachers and cover the running costs? (especially since the state does not subsidize the private sector at all). Fortunately, so far the Orders and Congregations have supported their respective schools.
It is true that our picture is distressing, that in our horizon does not appear an economic recovery or a political outcome of the situation in the days to come … However, we try to maintain “the wobbly wisp that smokes”, support our fellow citizens and move forward by counting on the Grace of the Most High who never disappoints and by living an uplifting social solidarity … Initiatives are popping up on social networks, launched by young people, modest people, human rights activists … These gestures of brotherhood look like “two widow coins”, they make no media noise, but leave a smile of hope on the face of a population suddenly ruined economically !
Sr. Myrna Farah, sdc
Agenda of the Secretary General
From January 5 to 10, 2020: CIEC Congress and General Assembly, Santiago de Chile
January 29-30, 2020, Rome, OIEC Steering Committee
February 13, Bordeaux, France, work meeting with the Diocesan Director of Gironde
From February 14 to 16, 2020, Rome. Preparation of the 2019 balance sheets with the accountant
From February 17 to 23, 2020, Lomé, Togo, GA of ARNECAO.
February 27, Madrid, work meeting of the Planet OIEC project