2022-05-03 BRAZIL

X Assembly of the Marist International Network of Higher Education

The X Assembly of the Marist International Network of Higher Education took place in Porto Alegre, from 26 till 29 April 2022, on the campus of Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Brazil. In this edition, leaders of 21 Marist institutions discussed the theme Innovation, Development and Transformation.
The first day, Br. Manuir Mentges, Senior Vice President of PUCRS and President of the Network’s Executive Board, opened the event and presented the work planned for the meeting. After that, Br. Deivis Fischer, Provincial of Brasil Sul-Amazônia delivered a speech. He shared the local Marist history and talked about the regional context as something that brings these institutions together.
Thereafter, Br. Evilázio Teixeira, President of PUCRS, who welcomed the leaders, reinforced the importance of the connection between the member institutions and introduced the University.
After the opening speeches, Br. Luís Carlos Gutierrez, General Vicar, addressed the commitment of Marist institutions to the construction of a more just and fraternal society. He presented the three dimensions of Marist higher education and invited participants to “move on with boldness, establish proactive actions and innovate with passion. There is a lot to be done in the network”, he said.
The program gave participants the chance to share and build things together. It was also approved the statutes and strategic projects, which will be emphasized in the next stages. Likewise, the document “Marist Evangelizing Action in Higher Education” (produced in 2017) was relaunched, which has been updated and translated into three languages (e-book on Amazon).

In the same way, the dialogue on the strategic plan aligned the directions and objectives that will be worked on in the next two years.

Board of Directors and Fiscal Council of the Network

With the approval of the new statute, the Network will be directed by a Board of Directors composed of representatives of the English, Portuguese and Spanish speaking languages, and a representative of the General House.
The members chosen to carry out this activity were Br. Marcelo Bonhenberger, from the Pontificia  Universidad Católica de Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS)  – who will act as president and will represent the Portuguese language; Ana Gabriela Aguirre Franco, from the Marist University of Mexico City, who will be the vice president and Spanish-speaking representative; and Br. Arnel S. Alfanta, from Notre Dame Of Kidapawan College – Philippines, who will be the English-speaking representative. The Council will have the participation of Br Carlos Alberto Rojas, as representative of the General Government.

The members of the Fiscal Council were also elected. It will be made up of Fabiano Incerti, from PUCPR; Sílvia Vargas Salazar, from the Marist University of Valladolid, in Mexico; Osuji Gregory Ekene Rev, from the Marist Polytechnic – Enugu, in Nigeria; and Brother Marino Latorre Ariño, from the Marcelino Champagnat University, in Peru.

Upcoming challenges

At the end of the meeting, Brother Carlos Alberto Rojas, director of the Secretariat for Education and Evangelization, gave a speech to present and strengthen the network activities present in the Institute.  Br Carlos Alberto recalled how much this collaborative development is the future of the Marist institution and is connected, above all, with the calls of the Church, such as the World Educational Pact, and the changes in society.
Brother Luiz Carlos Gutiérrez, Vicar General of the Marist Institute, concluded the meeting stressing the need to continue advancing and to be connected with the essence of the Marist mission: “I think that what should inspire us as Marists when we plan something is: to have the audacity to move forward, focused on opportunities for connection”.

The next Assemblies will be held hybrid and annually. Every two years a face-to-face meeting will be held. The next face-to-face meeting will be in 2025, in L’Hermitage, France.


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