On Thursday 15 October 2020 at 2.30 p.m. Rome time, Pope Francis will once again address the theme of education, which is central to his teaching and dialogue with the world. He will do so with a video message, which is both a summary – of what was suggested on the theme during his pontificate – and a programme: because, as Francis has repeatedly said, “to educate is an act of hope”. At the end of the Message, Pope Francis will suggest that all people of good will join the Global Compact on Education, a Pact to encourage change on a global scale, so that education may become a creator of fraternity, peace, and justice. An even more urgent need in this time scarred by the pandemic.
The Pope’s video message will be broadcast during an event at the Pontifical Lateran University, promoted by the Congregation for Catholic Education, specifically dedicated to the academic world and all the stakeholders of education, which can be followed live online on the portal and Youtube channels of Vatican News www.vaticannews.va (simultaneous translation into English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese will be available) and through Vatican Media distribution channels.
The words of the Holy Father will be echoed remotely by the Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay – also with a video message – and, at the Pontifical University, by representatives of the Congregation for Catholic Education: Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi and Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani. Together with them, the rector of the Lateran University, Prof. Vincenzo Buonomo, and the rector of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Prof. Franco Anelli, as well as sociologist Silvia Cataldi, professor at “La Sapienza” University in Rome, will take the floor. The Pope’s video message will also be commented by young students, who are the main recipients of the Holy Father’s Message. The event will be introduced and moderated by Alessandro Gisotti, Vice Director of the Editorial Directorate of the Dicastery for Communication.
The meeting of 15 October will respond to the appeal made by the Holy Father on 12 September 2019: “Never before has there been such need to unite our efforts in a broad educational alliance – he said. For this reason I wish to see you all in Rome,” confirming – immediately after – the invitation to the ambassadors from all over the world, gathered on the occasion of his address to the Diplomatic Corps (9 January 2020).
The Covid-19 pandemic, as is well known, caused the cancellation of the event in the Vatican, but it did not disrupt planning. Thus the Educational Village, in which to present the best international educational experiences, has been transformed into a virtual space. In fact, over the past few months, more than 70 educational experiences have been carried out in the world inspired by the themes of the Pact: dignity and human rights, peace and citizenship, integral ecology, fraternity, and development. These experiences have been selected by the Alta Scuola Educare all’Incontro e alla Solidarietà (EIS) (High School for Education to Encounter and Solidarity) of the LUMSA University of Rome, which will present them during a forthcoming conference, as well as share them on the event’s website (www.educationglobalcompact.org).
Preparatory work also included eight international seminars in attendance and, starting last March, numerous events held remotely, which will now include the event on 15 October.