The first Summer School in the Mariapolis Lia, the Focolare little town in Argentina, called in Spanish Escuela de Verano, is without doubt an extremely important step, with far-reaching consequences, in the academic development of Latin American young people.
It is not the first time that this little town has hosted an intense university-level study programme. It already hosts various well-attended seminars and courses in politics, economics and the arts.
The Escuela de Verano is the first such educational project run jointly with the Sophia University Institute, based in Loppiano, near Incisa Valdarno (not far from Florence, Italy), whose international educational status means it can give academic accreditation to the Summer School. Among its aims, Sophia offers a course of life, study and research that explores a deeper understanding of Christian culture, as inspired by the life and work of Chiara Lubich who founded Sophia in 2007. The ideal of universal brotherhood, which she proposed and developed, can be seen in the experience of that culture and in the way it expresses itself. It is a culture that seeks to shed light upon the many dimensions of human knowledge, in its various disciplines, as it searches for the common good.
This first Summer School will look at: Epistemological Foundations for a Culture of Unity from the Perspectives of Theology, Science and Politics. Apart from established Latin American lecturers, it is significant that Prof. Piero Coda the President of Sophia will be present and will give a lecture on The Trinitarian God and the Historical Development of Christian Faith. Prof. Sergio Rondinara, who works in the fields of epistemology and cosmology, will give two lectures on The Relationship between Humankind and the Cosmos, Scientific Rationality and the Relationship between the Natural Sciences and Faith, and Ecology. Dr Daniela Ropelato, lecturer in political sciences, will also give two lectures on Contemporary Forms of Democracy, New Social and Political Agents, and Fraternity as a Political Category.
The Escuela de Verano offers university-level education to young men and women through the medium of an intense experience of study and of a shared life with others. It builds an academic community and is designed to enhance the students’ career development and their intellectual progress in their various disciplines. This communitarian enterprise, rooted in a dialogue sustained by a mutual exchange of experiences, fosters both the personal and corporate growth of its participants.
There seems to be great enthusiasm for this first Summer School in Latin America, which will begin on 28 December 2012. Already 100 university students from Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Argentina have asked to be enrolled. From these 61 have been accepted on the courses.