Visit from HE the French Ambassador to the Holy See, Florence Mangin

HE Ms Mangin was accompanied by Father Bernard Planche, the embassy’s ecclesiastical adviser, for a brief but intense visit. The talks focused mainly on the situation of our educational works in the Holy Land, but we were able to broaden our horizons to all the places where we are present in the Middle East.

The Consulate General of France in Jerusalem has long played a special role in protecting religious communities and institutions of French origin. The current climate of tension is a legitimate cause for concern, and it is in this context that the Ambassador is meeting with the congregations present in Rome that have works in the Holy Land.

We were able to draw up a fairly exhaustive picture of our presence and the difficulties currently being encountered in our schools in Jaffa, Jerusalem, Beit-Hanina and Bethlehem, as well as at Bethlehem University. We don’t know how long the crisis will last, but the impact is obvious, particularly the economic impact on families who are finding it harder and harder to pay school fees. In the District as a whole, which also includes Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, it is a real challenge for families to continue their studies. Another clear sign of the worsening situation in the region is that many young people see their future more securely abroad than in their own country…

Our schools are mainly French-speaking: several prepare students for the French baccalauréat, and with success rates that are all the more remarkable given that most of these students do not speak French at home. The interview was also an opportunity to recall how the presence of members of French diplomatic representations at academic or cultural events in our schools is always seen as a strong sign of support and encouragement.

Beyond teaching the French language, we are passing on a whole humanist tradition of openness, tolerance and fraternity. This dimension of education is all the more essential today: when young people of all faiths not only live together but forge genuine bonds of friendship, they give the lie to those who see us as irremediably condemned to confrontation. Sowing the seeds of peace in the generations of tomorrow’s Middle East through education is more urgent than ever.

Br. Joël Palud, fsc

RELEM MEL Council in Rome

On Monday and Tuesday 27th and 28th May 2024, the RELEM MEL Council, together with the RELEM Team, held the meeting corresponding to the third trimester of the 2023-2024 academic year. As usual, it was held at the Generalate.

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Monday’s session was devoted to a brief reminder of the projects approved to form part of Proyecto Levadura, as a region, thinking about what the next ones should be.

Subsequently, in smaller groups, we discussed the dynamics which could be developed around three themes which emerged from the last Regional Assembly: Accompanying Young Lasallians, Evangelisation and connecting the Region with the teams and commissions of the Institute. On Tuesday, almost the whole morning was given over to the working group on axis no. 1, which emerged from the Assembly, to comment on its work plan in order to be able to be present within the time limit set for the Assembly. There was a presentation of the experience lived by the Young Lasallians in Upper Egypt, within the movement of “Fraternity in action”. There was also an update on life in the Districts, bringing us up to date on the various situations being experienced at District and Delegation level.

The meeting was used as an opportunity to say goodbye and to thank Brother Jesús Félix Martínez for his work as councillor of the Arlep district over the last few years.

Des étudiants de l’ECAM Lasalle à Rome

C’est pilotés par Loïc Gastard, responsable de la formation, que ces étudiants en «Mastère Spécialisé Management de la Transition Énergétique» ont fait halte à Rome au cours du mois de mars. Le séjour a débuté par une visite de la Maison Générale des Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes commentée par le frère Joël Palud (conseiller Général et ancien professeur à l’ECAM Lasalle).

Une conférence s’en est suivie avec des représentants de la Fondation La Salle sur les projets financés au plan international et allant dans le sens du développement durable : accès à l’eau potable au Paraguay, panneaux solaires sur différents campus dans le monde… Les étudiants ont aussi découvert les possibilités de volontariat de courte ou longue durée pour mettre, un temps, leur compétences d’ingénieur au service d’un projet de développement. Pour l’anecdote, les étudiants ont également apprécié le passage par les archives où le F. Hilaire avait sélectionné des documents, notamment sur l’ECAM des origines et quelques originaux de lettres autographes de Jean-Baptiste de La Salle.

Mais ce n’était qu’une parenthèse : le groupe a surtout poursuivi ses activités à Milan par des visites d’entreprise ciblées sur le développement durable, les statégies bas-carbone et les différences d’approche, sur ce point, entre la France et l’Italie.

RELEM MEL Assembly 2024 : «Leaven for the future»

The Lasallian Region for Europe and the Mediterranean (RELEM) MEL Assembly opens its doors with an inspiring momentum, bringing together 50 representatives from Lasallian institutions. This gathering of dedicated and visionary minds is of paramount importance as the community looks to the future of the Region and its educational institutions.

In an ever-changing world, education plays a vital role in shaping the young ‘leaders’ of tomorrow. The RELEM MEL Assembly is an essential forum for discussing current challenges and emerging opportunities in the educational landscape. The 50 Lasallian school leaders come together in a spirit of collaboration and innovation, determined to set the paths for the coming years.

At the heart of the discussions is the need to adapt teaching methods and curricula to meet the changing needs of students. The Assembly delegates are committed to promoting a holistic education that cultivates not only the acquisition of knowledge, but also the development of skills in all areas.

In addition, the RELEM MEL Assembly is looking at ways of integrating technological advances into education, while preserving the ethical and human values that are at the heart of the Lasallian identity. School leaders are also exploring strategies to strengthen links between schools, thus encouraging collaboration and the exchange of best practices.

Finally, the Assembly aims to strengthen community involvement and social responsibility within Lasallian institutions. By encouraging students to become agents of positive change in their communities, these educational works are helping to shape responsible and supportive citizens.

This RELEM MEL Assembly marks the beginning of an exciting journey towards the future of Lasallian education in Europe and the Mediterranean. Through collaboration, innovation and an unwavering commitment to Lasallian values, these school leaders are paving the way for years of educational excellence and social transformation.

Our best wishes for a year of peace !

This is undoubtedly a peculiar year, when it seems that the death of the Holy Innocents preceded Christmas…

Our Europe-Mediterranean region is at the heart of the turmoil: refugees are arriving in large numbers on the coasts of Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain, still mourning those who did not survive the journey; Syrian refugees are arriving in Turkey and Lebanon; the violence in Israel and Palestine is unleashed; the Ukrainian conflict continues to exile families, particularly to Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Poland… There’s no need to go on with the list: it’s enough to show that all Districts of RELEM are affected.

How can we be, in all these places, signs of hope, outstretched hands, tangible proof that violence does not have the last word? Michel Scouarnec’s song still rings out with the same acuity:

Will we leave in our churches a little space for the foreigner?

When he comes, will he find hearts of poor and hungry?

Don’t let the earth die, don’t let the fire die :

stretch out your hands towards the light, to welcome God’s gift.

Happy Christmas, welcome par excellence to the Prince of Peace.

May God grant us, throughout 2024, the grace to be workers of his Peace!

Br Joël, Jean, Tomeu and Br Enrico

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