The Summer School

The Summer School

By Benedetto Gui
from "Economy of Communion - a new culture " n.30 - december 2009

N30_Benedetto_Gui_The proposal of a summer course on the Economy of Communion was launched thinking of a small group of young people, most likely scholars of various economic professions (students in doctorate programs, research fellows, university professors at the beginning of their career). In this way, it would be possible to present and systematically discuss the theoretical reflections developed over the years around the economy of communion project.

Evidently, many other people also shared the desire to spend four days studying and dialoging about the EOC project: upper-level university students, workers, directors, entrepreneurs and teachers - and not only people under 35. Not wanting to say no to whoever was very interested in this reflection between science and culture, we found ourselves amidst a group of 90. There were 13 from Brazil, 8 Argentineans, 2 Filipinos (some were already in Italy, like students of Sophia, but others came just for the occasion).  There were also 8 people from Slovakia, other Europeans, one from Palestine and many Italians. Their relationships with the Focolare Movement were also very diverse (ranging from those who are very active to less active, and for some it was their first contact with the movement).

The program was intense. Many of the reflections presented were part of a preview of articles Summer_School_09_02that will make up a special edition of the magazine "Impresa Sociale" (Social Enterprise), a cultural magazine geared particularly towards Italian social cooperatives. After each presentation, there was time for questions and answers, although it was never enough. The time allowed for group work was also too little (two sessions of little more than an hour each).

One evening, changing the scheduled program, we met with a film producer. He is someone who works in the field of art (and art always has a place in any convention), and additionally he is also committed to "translating" the culture of unity into understandable terms for his speakers. What clearly and fascinatingly emerged from his words and the two short films he showed was the theme of vocation. At various moments in his career, this vocation had led him to make countercurrent choices, many times thanks to the encouragement of other people.

To mark this four-day school with a particular characteristic, all were proposed with the idea of putting reciprocal love into practice. This proposal was received and taken seriously, and it created a fraternal and joyful atmosphere throughout the day, whether in the lecture hall, during meals or in other free moments. It was an atmosphere that cannot but characterize the memory of those days when one thinks about them and tries to put them into words.

Summer_School_09_01During the exchange of final impressions and greetings, a common idea kept coming up: encouragement. Each one had received encouragement for their personal commitment to study or work in view of an "economy of communion".

What also kept returning to the discussion was the invitation to continue this initiative, making it an annual appointment aimed towards youth. "Because within a few years," said one of the youth participants, "the generation that has brought the EOC ahead until now will have to pass on the witnessing to today’s 20 and 30-year-olds, and we have to be prepared for that moment, not only to prevent that what has already been done falls, but also in order to take those further steps ahead which we young people feel are necessary."

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