Marist higher education in network : construct a new land

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5th Meeting of the Marist International Network of Institutions of Higher Education
2012-10-27 - Mexico

The Marist International Network of Institutions of Higher Education held its two yearly meeting of the Council of  Rectors and Representatives at the Marist University of Mexico, from 8 to 12 October. 24 Institutions took part, 5 for the first time : « Universidad Marista Valladolid » (Moreia) and « Universidad de Monterrey – UDEM » of Mexico ; « Cátolica de Santa Catarina » of Brasil ; « Instituto Católico para Formação de Professores » of East Timor ; « Marist College – MARIST » » of the United States. The « Marist International University Center – MIUC » of Kenya and the Université Mariste du Congo – UMC (RDC), also invited, could not come because of visa problems.

The meeting’s motto was in harmony with the last General Chapter : « Marist Higher Education in network : construct a new land »,and its principal objective: « Further the identity, mission and organisation of the International Marist Network of Higher Education and its challenges for the construction of a new land. »

The meeting began with a speech by Mme Guillermina Urbano Vidales, which attracted a lot of attention, and a Mass celebrated by  Mgr ChristophePierre,  apostolic nuncio to Mexico. Br José Antonio Espinoza, Rector of the Marist University of Mexico, welcomed all the participants, making special mention of Brothers John McMahon, member of the Executive Committee, absent for health reasons, and Luis Dávalos, ex Rector of the Marist University of Guadalajara, who died this year.

The presence of other brothers enhanced the meeting : Seán Sammon, former Superior General, Ricardo Reynozo Ramírez (México Central) and Eduardo Navarro de la Torre (México Occidental), of the University Council, as well as other guests of the host University. Br John Klein, Councillor General, closed the day with a stimulating discourse.

Interventions were numerous. On the one hand, Br Clemente Ivo Juliatto spoke on « Identity and Mission of  Marist Higher Education towards a new land », while Mme Manuela Suassuna and M. Manuel Carretero made a presentation on « Marist Higher education in network : challenges and perspectives ».

On the other, there was a report on the results obtained over the last two years by the 5 working groups set up after the  4th Meeting in Porto Alegre.

Then it was the turn of some Institutions to present experiments they had carried out. The « Cátolica de Santa Catarina » (Brasil) presented its formation and identity process ; « Notre Dame of Marbel University » (Philippines) shared its pastoral project ; « Universidad Marista de la Ciudad de México » presented several actions in connection with diplomas awarded, in accordance with its university approach and mission ; the Spanish Institutions demonstrated volunteer projects connected with  Social Education (« Escuela Universitaria Cardenal Cisneros ») and the Normal School (« Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca »). The latter also presented the aims and courses of action of the Institute of Marist Studies (Instituto de Estudios Maristas).

There was also time to learn about the educational projects of some of the new Institutions which joined the network at this Meeting, as well as actions envisaged for the whole Institute.

As with the preceding meetings, important advances have been registered for the Network. For the time being, each Institution of the Network, has signed, before a notary, the Act of Constitution of the Network. Two exchange agreements have also been signed, one for students, and the other for teaching and auxiliary personnel. The operation of an Internet platform for the exchange of knowledge has also been presented and implement. A logo and a web space : http://www.champagnat.org/edu, have been inserted into the official web site of the Institute in order to improve the Network’s visual identity. Some changes in the Statutes of the Network were also approved.

The Assembly took on various commitments for the period 2012-2014. First of all, the  creation of a permanent Secretariat. The committee elected was : Wilfredo E. Lubrico, Maria Manuela Suassuna, Jaime Nieto Ramírez, Pablo J. Pardo Santano and Silvestre Jacob.

It was then decided to continue with two working groups : one to draw up a  document which develops a common Marist university Pastoral Project, and another to draft regulations for the operation of the Network, in conformity with the approved  Statutes.

Besides these activities and agreements, there was also place for religious activities (Eucharist and prayer) as well visits to places of cultural and artistic interest. Not to mention the beautiful traditional dances of the different States of Mexico, living expression of the deepest cultural roots of the Mexican people.

The participants in their evaluation found the meeting, in general, very satisfactory from all aspects.

The 5th Meeting in Mexico is over, but the Network continues its work, looking forward to « Philippines 2014 », when the 6th Meeting will be held. In the minds of all remains the conviction expressed by Br John Klein : « It is time to start running ».

___________________

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