Present at the opening ceremony: Archbishop Alfredo Espinoza of Quito; Fr Marcelo Farfán, IUS General Coordinator; Fr Francisco Sánchez, Provincial and UPS Chancellor; Fr Javier Herrán, UPS Rector; Salesian coadjutor Br Mario Olmos, coordinator of IUS America; and other academic authorities of the continent. The Salesian provincials from Chile, Carlos Andrés Lira, from Colombia, John Jairo Gómez, and Javier Ortiz from Bolivia also participated.
The host Provincial opened the meeting. He spoke of the importance of education for the integral development of the person and for the good of society. Fr Farfán stressed that the basic horizon to keep in mind is "the voice of young university students, especially those of the popular sectors, because only this horizon is able to arouse audacity, courage, creativity and Salesian commitment in our institutions."
Subsequently, Dr. Pablo Farfán, UPS technical secretary for identity, in his conference developed the theme: "The future of Salesian higher education in a digital world". Monsignor Alfredo Espinoza, archbishop of Quito and primate of Ecuador, then presided over the opening Mass in the university chapel.
Until Friday 20 September, the delegates shall work on the revision of the joint IUS program. Currently, in this part of the continent, the presence of the IUS extends to 9 countries and 13 provinces through 29 higher education institutions: 10 universities, 4 university centers, 8 higher institutes and 7 faculties. Together they welcome about 110,000 students.
One of the central aspects will be the reflection on the five fields of action of IUS America: personal formation, university pastoral, quality of student education, study of youth reality and academic networks, so as to arrive at valid proposals that answer to the challenges present in the contexts in which each institution operates.
In the light of the next General Chapter 28, this meeting will also pay attention to the question: "What profile of the Salesian educator for today's youth?" There is a need to think of a university that does not focus on knowledge, but rather on young people: this is essential for the Salesians.