Fr Juan Cárdenas, Rector of the Salesian Polytechnic University, welcomed the participants and said the meeting would serve to pave the way to analyze, dialogue, and rethink Salesian education. "Today we are gathered as Salesian institutions to discuss a model of university that has the person at its center, where critical capacity is promoted to develop a sense of solidarity and planetary sustainability, capable of networking to address common challenges," he said.
Subsequently, Fr Óscar Lozano, IUS General Coordinator, emphasized that the objective is to reaffirm the commitment of Salesian institutions active in higher education to create spaces for growth and proclamation of the "good news" in an enriching dialogue between culture and faith.
María Sol Villagómez, Vice-Rector of UPS in Quito and coordinator of the IUS Education Group, gave a historical account of the group’s formation, which she defined as a network of work, research, exchange, and academic collaboration on the topic of education in Salesian universities around the world, an initiative that has been part of the work and synergy of the IUS since 1998.
From El Salvador, Mario Olmos, General Coordinator of the IUS in America, emphasized that such a network makes it possible to think about Salesian education in a global way, while at the same time providing adequate responses at the local level, as well as offering guidance and hope in times of uncertainty.
The opening lecture was offered by Fr Miguel Ángel García, General Councilor for Salesian Youth Ministry - via web from Medellin, where he was engaged in an Extraordinary Visit; he spoke on contemporary educational and pastoral challenges for Salesian education.
In successive sessions, the following presented papers: Fr Alejandro Rodríguez, from the Institute of Salesian Studies of the United States, with the report "The motivated teacher as a learning environment"; Anna Pileri and Michela Drusian, from the Salesian University Institute of Venice (IUSVE); Fr Juan Sabino López and Marian García from CES Don Bosco in Madrid; and Roberto Santoro, from the Salesian University Institute "Rebaudengo" in Turin; in a round table they presented the theme "Sustainability and interculturality: Representations and experiences of university students".
The conference "Global, glocal or local? The representations of young Europeans between attention to the environmental ecosystem and the human ecosystem" was instead animated by Davide Girardi, from IUSVE, Alessio Rocchi, and Claudia Chiavarino from Rebaudengo; while Sara Sánchez, from the Salesian University of Mexico, spoke about "The best educational resource in the hybrid experience: the accompanying educational presence".
The event concluded with a cultural moment: the performance of Ma Karol Caicedo and pianist Eduardo Florencia, with a performance of Romanza Opus 81.