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2/10/2015 - El Salvador - Sixth Continental Conference of Salesian Institutions of Higher Education in America

(ANS - San Salvador) - The Sixth Continental Conference of Salesian Institutions of Higher Education in America took place from 28 September to 1 October. The conference in the "Universidad Don Bosco" of El Salvador was attended by ninety-six people from twenty institutions. The meeting was also attended by the General Councillor for Youth Ministry, Fr Fabio Attard; the Councillor for the American Southern Cone Region, Fr Natale Vitali; the Coordinator General of the Institutions of Higher Education, Doctor Mario Olmos SDB; and the Provincials of Central America, Chile and Brazil-Manaus.

The meeting was organized by the Coordinating Committee of Salesian Institutions of Higher Education in America led by Fr Marcos Sandrini, Director of the Don Bosco Faculty of Porto Alegre, Brazil.

The conference served to evaluate the level of implementation in the Salesian Institutions of Higher Education in America of the Policies for the Salesian presence in Higher Education from 2012 to 2016. The application of these policies, adopted at the last Continental Conference (Campo Grande, Brazil, 2013), included five specific lines of work: the training of staff, Campus Ministry, the quality of education of students, the impact on society through research on youth issues, and networking. These lines were coordinated by five teams from different institutions, which presented the work done so far. They proposed a joint action plan for the next two years.

The days in San Salvador were enriched by the speeches of Doctor Claudio Rama, an expert in the field of higher education in Latin America, and Bro. Mario Olmos. Doctor Rama spoke on "Higher Education in Latin America: the situation and prospects in the context of the crisis", while Bro. Mario Olmos spoke on "The Preventive System in the University."

The work of the participants was accompanied by moments of reflection and prayer which helped to maintain contact with the reality of the people and youth of the continent. Especially significant were the visits to the tomb of Blessed Oscar Romero, at the chapel of Divine Providence Hospital, where he was killed; and the chapel of the Central American University where six Jesuit priests and two of their employees were murdered in 1989, during the civil war in the Central American country.

The Salesian Institutions of Higher Education in America approved a work plan for the next two years, and also renewed their commitment to continue networking, to ensure quality education for young people and to help to transform the continent through a cultural programme based on Gospel values.

Published 2/10/2015

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