EoC Winter School in Croatia

Today, in Križevci, in Croazia began the EoC Winter School entitled "You and me, Together for a new economy"

By Alfonso Ferro and Cristina Viano

130202 Faro 01 RidThe small city of Faro covered by a mantle of snow, welcomed 130 participants this morning, eighty of whom came from Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Kosovo, Italy, and Belgium.  Professors and students, entrepreneurs and young people in search of a job, united, to go deeper into the EoC reality, a possible alternative vision of economy today, after a past marked by communist ideology.

Present at the meeting were: Luigino Bruni, Central EoC responsible, Leo Andringa, member of the International EoC Commission, and Dr. Santa Mole', director of the Office for Cooperation and Development of  the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belgrade.

After the initial greeting, the Winter School entered into the spirit of the meeting with Luigino Bruni in which he 130202 Faro 03 Ridexpressed the meaning of important values such as ‘fraternity’, ‘gratuity’,  and the significance of putting the person ‘at the centre’, explaining how all of this should be lived in an economic reality.  Soon after, there was a long reflection regarding the concept of poverty in relation to today’s society as well as the figure of the businessman/woman, particularly in choosing to adhere to the EoC business style of life.

130202 Faro 02 RidThe sharing of experiences lived by young people and entrepreneurs as well the connection through Skype with a group of 20 young people from Bratislava in Slovakia felt like an invitation to go ahead in unity together; the atmosphere in the hall reflected this very thing thanks to the commitment of translations in the various languages.   Luigino Bruni: “Only you can do it, but you cannot do it alone!"

Particular emotion was felt during the presentation of Luigino Bruni’s first book translated in the Croatian language, with the title “Economy of Communion. New Terms in Economy”, filmed by a local television network.

In the afternoon, a dialogue took place which continued the in-depth reach in the reality of social enterprises, offering as well various workshops covering diverse topics: :one could almost touch the concrete EoC experience, and it’s potential was better understood in the economic and social realities of  the countries interested.

Marta Pancheva introduced the topic of Social Enterprise in its various forms (from the point of  view of philanthropy, 130202 Faro 04 Ridto social innovation, and cooperatives), so as to bring into light what the EoC has in common with each one, and in what it distinguishes itself, seeing the centrality that the individual and relationships take on in her businesses.

Janko Katona (Serbia) and Teresa Ganzon (in video connection from the Philippines) shared  their own experience as entrepreneurs, their motivations, and some concrete examples: the choice to ‘live poverty’, the commitment to make loans possible 130202 Faro 05 Ridwithout guarantee and interest, the will to communicate to ones’ clients a culture of trust and communion, and the sharing of strategies amongst collegues.

The day, rich with stimuli and testimonies concluded with four workshops, regarding the new economic culture carried on by the EoC, the challenges for business owners, economic and social development projects, scientific research in the area of the EoC. We closed the day by sharing points of view and expectations.  The curiosity of the young people, the fear of some who experienced working difficulties, the encouragement of those who had already experienced gratuity and the presence of an ‘invisible shareholder’ in his own workplace, the awareness of the limits of the contemporary economic system,  were all important elements to better define what are the challenges and the opportunities the EoC can live today in Eastern Europe.

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