The EoC Culture and Sophia

The EoC Culture and Sophia

by Giampietro Parolin
from "Economy of Communion - a new culture"  n.28 - december 2008

n28_pag._10_giampietro_parolin.jpgThe joyous and solemn anthem sung by the choir of the students in the auditorium of Loppiano on the first of December 2008, has well sealed the historical moment we lived on that day. The birth of the University Institute Sophia is an event whose importance we can’t even fathom. Chiara’s dream became real. A university where the spirituality of unity becomes culture in a project whose master’s title expresses the novelty: “Foundations and perspectives of a culture of unity”.

n28_pag._10_piero_coda.jpgThe Dean, Piero Coda, explained very well what Sophia wants to be: “a laboratory of spiritual education and research in which the profound bonds between life and thinking, between studying and experience, are reconnected. It is a University Institution looking at the future, attentive to the requests offered by our time so that the human beings of today and of tomorrow may become more and more world-human beings (people with a heart and mind open onto the whole world): uomo-mondo, as Chiara used to repeat”. Sophia is a location for dialogue in several dimensions.

n28_pag._10_inauguraz._sophia_2.jpgIt is a dialogue of knowledge thanks to the interdisciplinary nature of the courses, which range from theology to management, from literature to ecology, just to mention a few of the 60 courses offered. A dialogue of persons and cultures witnessed by the internationality both of the professors and of the present students who come from 16 different countries of 4 continents. A dialogue with numerous and qualified civil, religious and academic institutions who at the inauguration encouraged and supported the new university.

Sophia in Greek means divine wisdom but also human wisdom and knowledge. As the French philosopher Hadot reminds us: true knowledge is in reality a knowing how to, and true knowing how to is to know how to do good. This idea about knowledge brings us to highlighting the profound bond between Sophia and the EoC.

A bond that lies in the common DNA and that is expressed in different facets, in different points of view. n28_pag._10_inauguraz._sophiaSophia was born inheriting a precious patrimony of economic thinking, born around and on the thrust of the EoC project. On the other hand Sophia is potentially a formidable instrument for the shaping of those “new people” trained in and sodden with the “culture of giving” and of reciprocity, without which it is not possible to realise an Economy of Communion.

At the same time the EoC is a privileged laboratory of life and experience where we can test and see the theories, shared in the university halls, at work. Now, even the physical closeness of the university campus to the Lionello Business Park will offer numerous opportunities of mutual growth for the students, the professors, the workers and the entrepreneurs. We hope, however, that in some form the same may happen with all the EoC enterprises and with all those who have at heart a civil economy.

In this perspective we can fully perceive the meaning of the investment, also financial, that the EoC is taking upon itself for the new university: Sophia will in fact receive a substantial portion of the EoC profits earmarked for education.

In the past, too, the EoC supported the structures for spiritual education in the communion of the Focolare Movement (small cities, press, “Mariapolis centres”). With Sophia we are making a quality jump because there is the opportunity for a formation and education open to everyone and based on incarnate knowledge, that can become distinctive competencies in the economic world and for the enterprises.

Students at Sophia will be able to acquire tools to live the challenges of globalisation and the complexity of our time. But above all we can experience a “place of trust” as the Physicist Amaldi wished to everyone the day of the inauguration. A trust even more necessary, given such demanding times.

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