After the introductory greetings, Fr Gnanaselvam Sahaya, SDB, comparing the demographic data of Africa with those of Europe - population growth, percentage of young people, average age ... - indicated that the future development, social and economic, is in Africa. Yet this situation has profound implications for the Salesians, because it is accompanied, in the short-term, by high unemployment among young Africans and at low levels of education.
Broad and articulated, the presentation by the Economer General, Br Muller. After offering an overview of the importance, identity and development of the PDOs in the Congregation, he expressed the wish that the name of "Don Bosco becomes a true brand, not only within the Church, but especially in the secularized world." Then, after a careful examination of the current objectives and current fragilities, Br Muller pointed out that "the role of PDOs is to create new structures that help the Provinces to maintain ties and cultivate healthy relationships between staff and young people, to reduce geographical distances that would hinder communications."
Subsequently, prof. Enriche Lluch Frechina, professor of Economics at the University "Cardenal Herrera - CEU" of Valencia, argued that in our time it seems that the only fundamental instrument for measuring the economic efficiency of a country is the value of the Gross Domestic Product. Yet in this way too many other factors are lost, or go unseen, because economic growth and sharing (or equity) do not always converge. Christians cannot accept this approach and, on the contrary, prof. Lluch Frechina brought the example of the family economy whereby the economy is at the service of the family, but does not represent its purpose or aim. "To achieve our Mission, we need the economy to function as a family."
Other talks illustrated examples of successful initiatives: like the experience of a project in Uganda where, thanks to the financial support of two Spanish foundations, the use of tablets in schools became widespread; or the experience of the India-Chennai Province concerning the use of technology to favor and support missing children to be reunified with their families.