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Catholic Universities in a Network for Research

19 gennaio 2024

Catholic Universities in a Network for Research

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From history to the future. With this spirit, starting from the legacies and paths of the last century, with an international view and turned to new perspectives, an event titled "History, Legacy and Perspectives: the Role of a Network of Catholic Universities in Research Development" was held at the Curia Generalizia della Compagnia di Gesù in Rome on Jan. 19. The Università Cattolica organized this initiative on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU).

Before the conference, Pope Francis received in audience the participants of the Federation's centennial meetings.


Federica Mancinelli

Federica Mancinelli

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"The Holy Father, in direct dialogue with the representatives of Catholic universities, reminded that humanism, a humanism that fits explicitly into the framework of Christian values, is the identity mark of Catholic universities," Professor Franco Anelli, Rector of Università Cattolica, commented. "In the dense speech prepared for the occasion, this starting idea is specified by exhorting Catholic universities to pursue educational actions aware of the ends to which they tend, university teaching as an instrument of formation, full and complete of the person; to be courageously open to the world; to be promoters of dialogue and confrontation in a context that sees new barriers and new conflicts arising every day."

Opened by Rector Anelli, introduced by the IFCU President, Professor Isabel Capeloa Gil, and concluded by the speech of Università Cattolica Vice-Rector, Professor Pier Sandro Cocconcelli, the conference was attended by Professors Yoshiaki Terumichi (President, Sophia University), Aaron Dominguez (Provost, Catholic University of America), Lilian Ferrer (Vice President for International Affairs, UC Chile), Jan Wouters (Full Professor of International Law, KU Leuven) and Peter Hanenberg (Vice-Rector for Research, Universidade Catòlica Portuguesa) who dialogued on the main points of the meeting: How to reframe the collective idea of ​​the founders toward the next hundred years of the Federation? Which role does a network of Catholic Universities play in developing research, considering the centrality and continuity of the international perspective?

The categories to interpret the nature and, in my opinion, the destiny of Catholic universities are two: autonomy and inclusion," Rector Anelli said in his opening remarks. "Autonomy is about governing the different regions of human knowledge; specialization of knowledge is an indispensable feature of the dizzying increase in human knowledge. We are sometimes appalled by the myriad of disciplines and sub-disciplines and frightened (rightly) by the risk of fragmentation and incommunicability."

"But the varied landscape of knowledge is included (and here we have the second of the categories involved) in a broader horizon of meaning. It is a meta-theoretical value dimension that does not intervene in individual disciplines but makes their application alive and rich in meaning. To study, to teach, to work in a Catholic university means to be within a larger project, which gives meaning to our roles."- Professor Anelli continued. "Alone and isolated, we can do little; perhaps survive, in a continual rearguard battle against potential competitors with access to astronomical capital and excellent IT infrastructure."

"Why is Research the key and the way forward for universities? - this is the main question posed by Professor Cocconcelli in his presentation - "International collaboration stimulates research activities and the impact it can have in societies. Global issues cannot be addressed without research, technological innovation, and knowledge integration. Universities, particularly Catholic universities, face challenges and opportunities: the particular geopolitical context, knowledge security, the attraction of academics from abroad, and higher education policies and incentives. In this context, it is essential to network, to share goals and multidisciplinary paths of research and study, especially through the work and commitment of young researchers."

Holy Father Francis' Address to the Delegation of the International Federation of Catholic Universities




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