Sunday, 30 October. Round-table discussion: Being a Global Movement Today, and closing ceremony.

Sunday, 30 October. Round-table discussion: Being a Global Movement Today, and closing ceremony.

The Congress’ second day begun with the presentation of Fe y Alegría’s institutional video, after which the rapporteur team presented the results of the pre-Congress survey. You can check all the data at the following link pre-Congress survey.

Then began the last round-table discussion which focussed on Fe y Alegría. After Saturday’s workshop involving dialogue on some of the frontiers that are challenges for Fe y Alegría today, it was clear – from witnessing other experiences – how important it is to be a truly global movement in order to respond to all of the global challenges that Fe y Alegría faces, and how this is being done from various angles and perspectives with an inspiring programme to carry out in the future:

  •       From someone who is no longer at Fe y Alegría but who knows it well as he was the President of the Federation: Jorge Cela from Centros Loyola Cuba
  •       From the world of academia and research: José Bentó from Warwick Business School
  •       From the world of Communications: Enrique Cuscó, CEO of Olé Communications
  •       From Fe y Alegría itself: Dani Villanueva, Fe y Alegría Spain VP

These four men addressed the following matters:

From where we stand, what opportunities does FyA have today?

How can we strengthen our identity and outlook as a global network?

What are our main challenges and what responses are being given or can be given?

What would we like FyA to look like in X years’ time?

After holding workshops, from which the most important feedback was compiled, the opportunities and strengths that Fe y Alegría has today were identified. These will be used in a project that will allow us to continue to dream together, and to plan and include ideas and recommendations set out in the Madrid Declaration.

It was finally time for the Congress’ Core closing ceremony. The closing ceremony was headed by Ramón Almansa, Executive Director of Entreculturas Fe y Alegría, and Carlos Fritzen, Coordinator of the International Fe y Alegría Federation.

Ramón began his speech with a heartfelt thank you. He thanked everyone who worked on preparing the event: the Federation for its belief in Entreculturas Fe y Alegría Spain and for hosting the Congress; the great range of visitors and those who took part in the congress; the support of the Society of Jesus and specifically that of the Father General and all the people who worked to organize the congress; and he also had words of thanks for the 6,000 people who participated in the pre-Congress survey that allowed us to hear Fe y Alegría’s voice loud and clear and all the people involved in the Congress’ organization.

Ramón shared six points that impressed him during the days of the congress. Firstly, he highlighted the call to be on the frontiers to care for those who have been most abandoned; this is something that is essential to Fe y Alegría and which connects us to our deeply Christian roots. He also invited us to act and commit ourselves, ‘We cannot stand by in the face of an injustice that means there are millions of children who do not enjoy the right to inclusive, quality education.’

Ramón highlighted the indebtedness felt towards the founders, such as Patricia and Abraham, but also towards young people, volunteer groups, people offering educational initiatives, groups of parents who offered their time for free, ‘The giving of your time, the ability to give for free what was given to us for free, must remain a key element in the way Fe y Alegría moves forward.’

He then highlighted the importance of our willingness to transform ourselves and that Fe y Alegría must be a network of institutions that provides spaces where people can find true change.

He also encouraged us to harness our weaknesses in order to work more and more as a network, to do so among the different Fe y Alegrías, within each of the Fe y Alegría teams, and to organize ourselves to work with others.

The fifth point that Ramón stressed was that we should open ourselves so that the Spirit can speak through our people, making participation and listening closely to others a kind of boldness to let God be part of our project, to listen to where the call of the Holy Father is coming from. Ramón gave the example of not only the 350 people present at the congress but also the 6,000 who participated in the pre-congress survey.

Ramón highlighted the importance of our willingness to transform ourselves and that Fe y Alegría should be an institution to provide spaces where people can make great changes.

In his sixth and final point, he invited us to be activists for the right to education, not only providing educational services to thousands of children, but also to continue defending the right to education for the many who do not enjoy it. In addition, he highlighted the importance that Fe y Alegría – as a global movement – gives to the challenge of the right to education.

For his part, Carlos Fritzen began by thanking Entreculturas for all the effort it made to prepare everything down to the last detail, and all the people who participated in the organization of the Congress.

Carlos Fritzen referred to three distinctive aspects of the Congress:

Firstly, the words of the Father General, who suggested in the programme that we should visit the future together with one foot in the foundational roots of the original Fe y Alegría – imbued with Father Vélaz’s boldness – and another foot on territorial and human frontiers, many of them inspired by this congress.

Secondly, the importance of creativity in the way we speak about our experiences, the examples of the narrative diversity that Fe y Alegría has when it comes to talking about what we are and what we do. He highlighted some true gems of communication used in the methodology of popular education.

And thirdly, he spoke of the relevance of everything that was talked about during these days. The usefulness of the topics for searches and the enthusiasm given to put them into practice.

Carlos Fritzen also reflected on what lies ahead. The end of Congress marks the beginning of a process of reflection and dynamism in these countries and for the Federation, and he also suggested that the conclusions of the Congress be linked to the Federation’s 2018-2020 programme.

Lastly, the progress made at this congress will be used to turn it into concrete actions at the Assembly and the Board Meeting in Uruguay in April 2019, and at the Board Meeting of National Directors in El Salvador in October, 2019.

Carlos Fritzen said that Madrid 2018 will go beyond Madrid. The 2018 Fe y Alegría Congress will be disseminated to the world. This Congress opened thanks to the inspiration of Patricia’s generous gesture, and was brought to a close by the great energy of young people – sons and daughters of the many Patricias who find their home in Fe y Alegría – who believe in the importance of education on the frontiers.