“We feel called to be active players in the construction of Sophia, a project by no means complete, but one that requires the contribution of each and every one of us,” said Ines Tolintino Da Silva from Portugal and representative of the Seat Council as she spoke for the student body during the opening of the fifth academic year at Sophia University Institute, which was held on 18 October 2012. To date, forty-nine students have obtained a degree in “Foundations and perspectives of a culture of unity” and eighty students from several countries are enrolled in other specialisations as well.
A greeting message punctually arrived from Vice Chancellor Maria Voce, president of the Focolare Movement, who was unable to be present because she is attending the Synod of Bishops. While highlighting the prerequisite for the Sophia experience, she stated: “the project is daring, but for this reason no less thrilling, It demands a mutual willingness to listen, to deeply share common purposes, renewed fidelity to the original insight, a common gaze towards a future that must be built together. In a word, it even more decisively demands love from us, that we live, and that we be love for each other.”
Then, newly re-elected president of Sophia University Institute, theologian Piero Coda, gave the commitment guidelines for the next four years. Three new disciplines have been introduced in Economics and Management, Trinitarian Ontology and Political Studies. A committee is working on revising the Statutes of the institute in view of a final approval. Furthermore, in order to better incarnate the “unity of life and of thought” feature at Sophia, proposals were made for establishment of an Academic Senate to be a place where representatives of all the components could converge for the community life of the students, alongside the already approved Academic Council.
Finally, this year’s inaugural lecture was given by Professor Pasquale Ferrara, a professor at Sophia University Institute, longtime diplomat and secretary General Secretary of the European University Institute. In a broad political-historical overview, Ferrara addressed the issue of “constitutional peace” that has recently received more than authoritative and legitimising confirmation with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union.