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Nature and the Environment in the Compact on Education: Beauty Makes Man Good

The Pontifical University Antonianum, in collaboration with the Pontifical St. Bonaventure Seraphicum School of Theology, organized an academic event entitled "Nature and the Environment in the Compact on Education: Beauty Makes Man Good", from January 14 to 16, 2020, as part of the initiative "Rebuilding the Global Compact on Education" promoted by the Congregation for Catholic Education.

What is the relationship between the environment and education? This is the question the academic community of the Franciscan University wished to address in view of the world event promoted by Pope Francis on May 14, 2020 in order to «rekindle the commitment toward and with younger generations, by renewing our passion for a more open and inclusive education, that is capable of patient listening, constructive dialogue and mutual understanding».

Furthermore, as Prof. Giuseppe Buffon, Dean of the School of Theology at the University of Friars Minor, effectively emphasized, «the environmental crisis heralded the educational crisis: it was actually the environmental crisis that brought the educational crisis to the fore», with particular regard to the latter’s inability and operational ineffectiveness; and this awareness, in the wake of the publication of the encyclical letter Laudato si' on the care of our common home, prompted the academic community to launch important research and training initiatives, from a project called "Towards an International Network for Integral Ecology" and new courses to train integral ecology professionals as well as advanced courses on Integral Ecology: "Anthropological and Theological Aspects and Integral Ecology: Philosophical, Legal, Management Aspects" up to the initiative of 14-16 January 2020.

The three-day event culminated on Thursday, January 16, 2020, on the Feast Day of the University and the Grand Chancellor, with the participation of a large group of speakers, representing multiple sectors of civil society, in the light of the governance model suggested by the aforementioned Laudato si: European institutions - the President of the European Parliament David Maria Sassoli sent a video message that was shown at the start of the day; national institutions with a mandate to promote sustainability plans - Sergio Talamo, manager of Formez PA (Service, Assistance, Study, and Training Center for Civil Service Modernization); the armed services, that are constantly engaged in international peacekeeping operations - Sebastiano Lapiscopia, Societé Internationale de Droit Militaire et de la Guerre; Research institutions and organizations dedicated to the study of climate change - Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Environmental movements - Gianfranco Bologna, WWF Italy; and social leaders from the Amazon region - Laura Vicuña Pereira Manso, Congo - Ferdinand Muhigirwa, Indonesia and the Philippines - Martinus Wilibrodus Kowe – advocating the protection and stewardship of the three large ecosystems that are indispensable for the future of our common home.

They were joined by representatives from the business community - Stefano Cuzzilla, Federmanager; Amedeo Manzo, Banca di Credito Cooperativo di Napoli, and Cinzia Rossi, Siamo Impresa PMI, FENAPI Group; Federazione Nazionale Autonoma Piccoli Imprenditori (National Federation of Independent Entrepreneurs) and diplomacy - Carlos Ávila Molina, Ambassador of Honduras to the Holy See, who gave their testimony with video presentations.

Finally, after the remarks by Card. Cláudio Hummes, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy and Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo in Brazil, the event was brought to a close by Archbishop Angelo Zani, Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, who rejoiced in the success of the event.