With more than 1,000 participants representing higher education institutions from 45 countries, the II Global Symposium Uniservitate, organised by Uniservitate and Universidade Católica Portuguesa, and coordinated by CLAYSS and Porticus, was held under the theme « Service-learning, integral education and transformative spirituality ».
Pope Francis encouraged the participants to continue working « with outgoing projects that do not remain purely academic, but that form the heads, the hearts and the hands of their graduates in solidarity and fraternity ».
The multicultural event took place virtually on 28 and 29 October and aimed to promote an integral education in line with the challenges of our time. In his opening address, Msgr. José Ornelas Carvalho, bishop of Setúbal and president of the Episcopal Conference of Portugal, was in charge of reading the message sent by Pope Francis in which he encouraged the participants to continue working « with outgoing projects that do not remain purely academic, but that form the heads, the hearts and the hands of their graduates in solidarity and fraternity ».The Holy Father also exhorted them to foster relationships and collaboration between the different institutions « creating a culture of dialogue that can give answers to the deep yearnings of our society, breaking the individualism, sectarianism and rejection that threaten it. «
« In a challenging world like the one we live in, education is crucial to develop a sustainable and resilient future » (Isabel Capeloa Gil).
The Rector of Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Isabel Capeloa Gil, after highlighting the importance of Catholic higher education for the common good, had the task of sharing with those present the message sent by the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, in which he stressed the importance of the commitment and ideas of universities in the current context and invited those present to « bridge differences, reduce human suffering, restore confidence and inspire hope. » Guterres also stressed that « quality education is a fundamental part of the response. The role of universities, in particular, is crucial in contributing to solutions to improve our world and advance the Sustainable Development Goals, » and ended by thanking them for their work to overcome the global tests together.
António Guterres highlighted the role of universities in the search for solutions for a better world.
Cardinal Manuel Clemente, Patriarch of Lisbon and Grand Chancellor of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, who highlighted the importance of learning by serving, and the coordinator of the Uniservitate Programme, María Rosa Tapia, who wished that this meeting would reinforce « the vision and mission of Uniservitate to educate each person in their integrity: head, hands, heart and soul ».
The II Global Symposium Uniservitate is held in collaboration with the International Federation of Catholic Universities (FIUC) and in adherence to the Global Education Pact launched by Pope Francis with the aim of bringing about a profound, integral and long-term cultural transformation through education.
The meeting also featured the participation of María Nieves Tapia, director of CLAYSS, in a dialogue that sought to explore the spiritual dimension of service-learning pedagogy and its contribution to the spirituality of a Catholic higher education institution.
« Let us keep on building together a hope based on facts, based on life, based on this global village of brothers and sisters who continue to walk together. ». (Nieves Tapia)
The event, noted for its great cultural richness as a point of convergence of more than 15 languages and 5 religions, featured the presentation of more than one hundred papers classified into three themes: service-learning as a path of spirituality, service-learning as a contribution to integral education, experiences and processes of institutionalisation of service-learning.
Throughout the two days, experts reflected on the ecumenical, interreligious and humanist vision of the spirituality of fraternity and service, on integral education and transformative spirituality, as well as on institutional and personal spirituality as contributions from fraternity and service.
To watch all the II Symposium sessions visit the Uniservitate YouTube Channel