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OIEC assembly, held at Santiago de Compostela

12/07/2007: Spain

From the 22nd to the 25th May, the assembly of the Catholic International Education Office (OIEC:www.infoiec.org) was held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. This is an entity that groups and represents the whole of Catholic education throughout the world. The Marist Institute, an asso-ciated member of the OIEC, was represented by Brother Juan Miguel Anaya, Secretary of the Gen-eral Council’s Mission Commission.

Throughout the assembly, in which more than one hundred representatives of Catholic schools from five continents participated, the reflection centred on the situation of education in the world. Con-cerning Europe, Mr Étienne Verhack, regional secretary of the OIEC, highlighted three priorities: defending the interests of Catholic education before European bodies, maintaining contact with the bishops responsible at a national level for Catholic education and specifying the identity of the Catholic school, focussing special attention on the directors of educational establishments.

At the end of the meeting, the OIEC made a final declaration in which the Catholic school was per-ceived and described as being “on pilgrimage to the XXI century”. In this declaration, the need was noted for “strengthening the collaboration between regions” and for “taking a position in an oppor-tune, public and prophetic manner” concerning the situations of injustice and violence that are found in different countries.

Faced with religious fundamentalism, the OIEC invites Catholic schools to “distinguish between true and false dialogue, between true and false religion, between faith and ideology”. The concern for the evangelisation of young people, particularly those living in the most difficult of situations, the formation of the leaders of establishments, especially laypeople, and a more active participation in the educational policies of each country, are other domains to be promoted by the Catholic school.

Founded in 1952 in Switzerland, the OIEC groups 210,000 Catholic educational establishments, with more than 44 million students throughout the entire world. It has 102 constituent members (member countries), 19 associated members (religious congregations), 13 collaborating members (institutions) and 6 honorary members (individuals).

Final declaration: http://www.fides.org

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