Living and guiding the ongoing transformation
The challenges for the future and greetings to the academic community
24TH June, 2021
I am writing these lines on May 3, 2021, the day on which our University"s 81st birthday occurs. Heartfelt greetings to the entire academic community, spread - through the sections and aggregated, affiliated, associated and sponsored Centers - all over the world. The 80th anniversary is now archived, with the unprecedented situations that we had to and are still facing, but also with the opportunities and "points of no return" that have occurred and consolidated, it is time to ... plan and look constructively ahead , maybe already around… our first Centenary (2040!), not so far away.
We recently received the AVEPRO External Evaluation Report , following the visit of the appropriate Commission. Text that will certainly be very valuable for the elaboration of the Quality Improvement Plan and the new Institutional and Strategic Project of the UPS for the years 2022-2026. Pope Francis in Brothers all recalled “that (blessed) common belonging from which we cannot escape: belonging as brothers” (n. 32); it commits us in this time that we live in, and which is entrusted to us, in rebuilding social ties and relational fabric, setting out to pursue the common good, investing as protagonists in education. What was already read in Gaudium et spes is valid, which identified "the unification of the world and the task that is imposed on us to build a better world in truth and justice. In this way we are witnesses of the birth of a new humanism, in which man defines himself first of all for the his responsibility towards his brothers and towards history ”(n. 55). An appointment that we certainly cannot miss or decline.
Each university institution through teaching, research - increasingly "shared and convergent" - and the "third mission" therefore has today a great responsibility to direct the great transformations underway in an ever more authentically human and humanizing sense. And the UPS, in a particular way, will thus be able to experience a new flowering by fulfilling its specific vocation of offering to the Salesian Congregation, the Church and the entire human family the Salesian charism made explicit and translated into a real formative and cultural proposal, in dialogue with everyone and in an increasingly inclusive and collaborative perspective.
Even the Italian Minister of University and Research, Prof. Maria Cristina Messa , whom I sincerely thank for having accepted the invitation to speak in the latest issue of the UPS News magazine and who will visit our university soon, he clearly remembers hoping to "continue to propose paths capable of integrating "Head, Heart and Hands" of students, researchers and professors", to provide "increasingly adequate spaces for a better culture" and to put "the value of people at the center and communities ".
We therefore have before us the stimulating and engaging opportunity to show how integral ecology, new humanism, educational emergency and the Salesian charism are combined and connected, and thus do our part, with God"s help, to contribute to the realization of the Prayer to the Creator which concludes Brothers all: “Inspire in us the dream of a new encounter, of dialogue, of justice and peace. Stimulate us to create healthier societies and a more worthy world, without hunger, without poverty, without violence, without wars. May our hearts be open to all peoples and nations of the earth, to recognize the good and the beauty that you have sown in each of them, to forge bonds of unity, of common projects, of shared hopes ”.
This is the wish that I personally offer - together with a heartfelt and profound thank you to everyone for the splendid experience that I have been allowed to live in this sexennium - to the entire academic community and to the many friends of the UPS, starting with Rector.
prof. don Mauro Mantovani