Symphony of Voices
As Pope Benedict XVI recalls, “communication has the power to create bridges, foster encounter, and inclusion, thus enriching society. (…) Words can build bridges between people, families, social groups”.
The Association of Southeast and East Asian Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASEACCU) is creating links and building bridges between catholic universities, professors, students, and audiences, to reach the other side, establishing links between communities and spreading “our” vision.
When we build our messages, we are trying to create empathy with the Other, and selecting words, or silences, to be decoded.
From the elements received from multi-cultures, we build credibility, trust, value, and, hopefully, contribute to the growth of the human being and to the improvement of the individual.
In relation to Other, in relation to the World, in the multiple types of relations, the attitude of Being needs to contain positive aspects, revisiting communication and new ways to build links and bridges.
In this newsletter that is now calling from Macao (a bridge per excellence), we will listen to Professor Isabel Capeloa Gil, the President of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) and Rector of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP), guiding us through the bridges of the solutions for the main issues of our times: “as knowledge centers, universities are at the forefront of the global health”, remaining us that “the University as an in-person community of scholars and students remains the privileged model for quality higher education entrepreneurial approaches”.
At this issue, we will travel to the Philippines, to the Saint Scholastiva’s College, an institution that started to build bridges in 1906, touching lives and serving society with a heart, “strong stand for peace, justice, and women empowerment.”
Inside there are people, discussions on being a teenager and an entrepreneur at the same time, building what they call the new teenpreneurs. There are interviews, competitions, and prizes. We visited performers in the innovative Psychometrician Licensure area and looked at the work done at the Holy Angel University and their honorary doctorates. We understand that the St. Paul University Dumaguete is responding to the invitation of Pope Francis to become part of the communities and to make an impact to hear the cry of the poor and of the earth.
We would like to congratulate University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi (UST-Legazpi) that hailed 96 new lawyers in the 2020-2021 bar examinations. On the same note, De La Salle Lipa ranked third nationwide producing 49 new lawyers and San Beda University ranked 7th among the top-performing medical schools in the Philippines.
We are glad to visit the Catholic University of Korea and know that they shared the warmth. The Assumption University of Thailand aimed to support the farmers’ community to produce high-quality organic fertilizers. Glad to know that in Cambodia, the Saint Paul Institute received the environmental prize of excellence and in Taiwan, the Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages cultivates leadership skills, international perspectives, and new strategies to reach out globally in the post-pandemic era.
Here in Macao, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) celebrated 25 years of tradition, innovation, and vision. Committed to making a positive impact in the local community, we are proud of our solidarity programs like the prison outreach education, designed to help incarcerated individuals for a better future social reintegration. Successfully, USJ also held the first Macao-wide English writing and recital contest that attracted over 1,000 original poetries from all local students. This event aims to promote English language literacy and foster creativity among the local youth through poetry.
Pope Francis, during this year’s World Social Day of Communication, affirmed: “listening is decisive in the grammar of communication and is a condition for genuine dialogue.” The Pope noted that listening is undergoing new developments, especially due to new forms of communication. These trends demonstrate that “listening is still essential in human communication,” quoted the Vatican News.
More than hearing, “listening with the ear of the heart,” foundational base of the relationship between God and humanity, us as partners in dialogue.
We are called in turn to “tune in, to be willing to listen,” because “listening is a dimension of love”, and “is the first indispensable ingredient of dialogue and good communication”, allowing people to exercise “the art of discernment”, the ability “to orient ourselves in a symphony of voices”, explained Pope Francis.
We would like to compare our ASEACCU communion to a choir in unity, plurality, and variety of voices, polyphony in relation to the harmony of the whole. Inclusive, in a communion that precedes and includes all of us, manifesting the harmony of the whole.
José Manuel Simões
ASEACCU Executive Editor,
Associate Professor, Communication and Media Department Coordinator at USJ Macao