To identify and follow the ways of the culture of unity in present day history, beside the men and women of our times. This is the vocation of the Sophia University Institute (IUS), which has inaugurated, at the auditorium of Loppiano (FI), the sixth academic year in the presence of Card. Giuseppe Betori, Grand Chancelor, Maria Voce, vice-Grand Chancelor of the SUI and President of the Focolare Movement, the Bishop of Fiesole Mons. Mario Meini, the Head Rabbi of the Jewish community of Florence and Siena Rav Yosef Levi, civil authorities and more than 600 people. Its aim echoes what Pope Francis affirmed recently in his speech to the Faculty of Theology of Sardinia in which he launched an invitation to make the universities a venue of discernment and of formation of wisdom, of a culture of proximity and of nearness, of formation to solidarity.
Maria Voce opened the proceedings in the morning recalling the goals that have been reached this year: the official approval of the Statutes on the part of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the attainment of numerous masteral degrees and of the first doctorate on research in “Principles and perspectives of a culture of unity”, the many registrations for the first year of the course (45 new students from more than 25 Countries). “Sophia is always more characterized, explained Maria Voce, as a priviledged venue wherein the questions and the challenges that our times call out to us on a planetary scale are gathered, and to which we cannot but give a unanimous answer: an answer, authentic and convincing, that can come only from the real and daily sharing of thoughts and of life.
Then Annamaria Fejes, Hungarian, followed, who on behalf of about one hundred students that are attending the different courses, expressed the common motivations that many of them shared in choosing this academic center: “To find, through reflection and dialogue, alternative ways to the wars and conflicts that stain our planet with blood. We have the wish and the desire to meet young people, adults, associations, organizations, so as to build with them a more fraternal world”.
Archbishop Betori also reaffirmed the role that the Sophia University Institute has as an existential space of encounter, of the incarnation of divine wisdom and human knowledge: “The personal committment to live proximity and reciprocity in the various moments throughout the day, in many cultural activities, makes Sophia the place in which divine ‘sophia’ and human search for knowledge become only one thing”.
The Dean, Mons. Piero Coda, outlined the challenges, opportunities for collaboration and the prospects of this cultural journey: after the first years of intense experimentation, he explained, “now is the time to focus on the formative project that animates the mission of Sophia, in the integrality of a proposal that seeks to harmoniously match life and study”. There are 23 protocols of understanding with University Institutions in Italy, Europe and in the world aside from the numerous courses held and animated by Sophia in different Countries. He further underlined the contribution of the students, “co-builders” of the academic life: “With you we too feel that we are protagonists of the new world that is being born. With you, he reaffirmed, citing Chiara Lubich, it is possible to find new mental structures on a world-class level”.
The first lesson was entrusted this year to Prof. Benedetto Gui, professor of Political Economics, entitled “Relational complexity and economics. Can the first be useful to the second?”. A thorough and lively exposition of the role of relationships in economics, that are more than ever important today.