Tuesday, January 6, 2009


ANS News ROME, JANUARY 5, 2009: The International Congress on “The Preventive System and Human Rights” began on January 2, with the opening address given by Fr Fabio Attard, Councillor for Youth Ministry, in the Assembly Hall of the Salesianum in Rome where the Congress is being held. In introducing the work of the Congress, Fr Attard reminded the 350 or so people present how important it was for the Salesians and the Salesian Family to reflect on the subject of education “because we really feel that we as a community cannot hold back in the face of the challenges posed by education.”
Following Fr Attard’s talk, there was the report “Human Rights as an effective way of fulfilling the Salesian educative mission” given by Fr Vito Orlando, Professor of Social Pedagogy, Vice Rector and Director of the Institute of Pedagogical Methodology at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. In his talk he presented the results of a survey carried out among the Salesians who were attending the 26th General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation, held between February and April 2008, on the current situation regarding marginalization and street children.
The final talk of the day was given by Gianmarco Schiesaro, VIS online representative responsible for the donbosco-humanrights.org portal and the Training Centre for Human Development, entitled “A portal for the Preventive System and Human Rights”. Mr. Schiesaro gave the audience a “behind the scenes“ glimpse of the portal specifically created for the Congress and the place where those interested can find the texts of the talks and other relevant useful information.

The morning of the second day, January 3, was devoted to three talks in the Assembly Hall of the Salesianum. The first “Educational priorities in the ambiguities of globalization” by Fr Carlo Nanni; the second, “The most significant values of the Preventive System,” by Fr Jean-Marie Petitclerc; and the third “Educating to and for human Rights,” by Carola Carazzone.
Fr Nanni, Professor of the Philosophy of education and Dean of the Faculty of Education at the Salesian Pontifical University, gave a precise account of the way ideas regarding human rights have evolved up to the arrival of globalization and proposed a re-thinking – in line with the decisions taken at the 26th General Chapter of the Salesian – of the key issues of the Preventive System, for example, clarifying what the term “a preventive approach” means with regard to the invisible generation, to the virtual, to globalization and to under-development.

“The insight of Don Bosco, which remains relevant for today’s society consisted in being able to decipher the phenomena of violence he saw on the outskirts of Turin, as providing evidence of a lack of education.” This was one of the observations made by Fr Jean-Maria Petitclerc, head of the office of the Ministry for the smooth running of the city of Paris, in his talk. Fr Petitclerc also recalled how as in Don Bosco’s day, the young are characterized by three elements: a loss of trust with regard to adults, anxiety about the future and the difficulties they encounter in the process of their socialization. In the face of this situation the Director of the “Valdoccò” presented the Preventive System of Don Bosco as an approach of trust, of hope and of partnership.

The third talk by Carla Carazzone was divided into three main topics: What meaning do human rights have, why educate to and for human rights and how to educate to and for human rights? In this way the listeners were helped to appreciate the breadth of the meaning of the expression “human rights”, the reasons to support education to and for human rights and the process to be followed in promoting and safeguarding them through education.
Work groups were held in the afternoon, and the results of their efforts presented in the assembly later. At the end of the day there was time to relax with songs, dances and other forms of a sharing of cultures.

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