For the year 2022-23 there are a variety of educational paths with academic recognition at Sophia University Institute’s web platform, “Sophia Web Academy.” In dialogue with Professor Michele Zanzucchi.
Professor, with the academic year 2022-2023, Sophia Web Academy is flanking two advanced degrees in Culture of Unity and Dialogical Leadership with other degrees and some advanced level courses on specific topics….
The two semester courses remain: the one in Culture of Unity and the one in Dialogical Leadership which are basically unchanged. There are only a few things to be corrected. There will be an initial session and a final session of three days on site, for those able to be present because, even though we are talking about a web-based course, there is a strong request for participation also in person and, in the end, approximately half of the participants do so.
And for those who do not have six months to devote to the courses?
Alongside these two fundamental courses, there will be the three-month higher education degrees: Two 42-hour courses, which give college credit for those who enroll as students. The first is devoted to “Peace and Dialogue,” the second to “The Ecological Challenge.” “Peace and Dialogue” is overseen by Chiara Galbersanini, Sophia professor and scientific coordinator of the Reset-Dialogues on Civilization, an International Association in Milan. With her there will be experienced lecturers such as: Massimo Toschi, Pasquale Ferrara, Roberto Catalano, etc. The other course is overseen by Professor Sergio Rondinara and Professors Luca Fiorani and Stefania Papa and focuses on the ecological challenge: the presence of man in nature, in the face of the questions posed by the worlds of thought, economics, and technology. In short, a balanced academic introduction in the light of Laudato si’.
The Evangelii Gaudium Center will also contribute to Sophia Web Academy…
This is the grand new addition. The Evangelii Gaudium Center is offering a three-year course on synodality. “Synodality” may appear to be perhaps too ecclesial a term, but it is, as everyone knows, a Greek term, meaning “walking together.” Thus, it concerns ecclesial life but also the way the laity relate to each other in society. The course will be connected to various disciplines: from theology to philosophy, from ecclesiology to exegesis, from psychology to communication, and so on.
Professor Zanzucchi, why should a person choose Sophia Web Academy as the place for his or her formation for the issues you have outlined for us? What is the something more that Sophia Web Academy offers?
There are at least three reasons. The first: Sophia was born from a charism that is at the service of unity. I use this expression of Professor Gérard Rossé that seems to me very appropriate. It is not “the” charism of unity; it is a gift of God proper to the Church.
This charism in the service of unity has brought its own style of leadership, its own style of thinking, its own style of elaborating the presence of Christians in society that is worth discovering. The second reason is that with Sophia Web Academy we do not look at unity or fraternity only from the spiritual point of view, but we go deep into the academic level. The third reason is related to the life of the Focolare Movement at present. After 14 years since the death of the foundress, the Movement is going through a moment of redefinition in which a great effort is being made to distinguish what is the charism of the foundation from that of the foundress. Evidently, both have been concentrated in the figure of Silvia-Chiara Lubich, but we need to understand what is Silvia’s and what is Chiara’s. (Silvia was Chiara’s name before the Movement began.) It is a work that we all must engage in so as to find out what continues, what will continue, and what will still have an impact on people. And what, on the other hand, is related to the historical moment of the foundress. (It is) to delve into this relationship between charism and foundation, charism and foundress. In this sense, we are actors, not just spectators. All of us, by the life, for example, that we live in Loppiano, we live what the charism is at the service of unity and by living it we come to understand what is essential and what is not.
So, Sophia Web Academy is intended primarily for aspiring students who are part of the Focolare Movement?
Not really, the proposal is open to anyone, not just people close to the Focolare. This year there will also be students from Catholic Action and other movements. And we think that after this experimentation of a year or two, it will become a course open to everyone, and will propose a cultural perspective born from the charism at the service of unity, as a service to the Church and humanity.
We would like to remind our readers that it is possible to enroll either as a student (participating in the courses, being entitled to a tutor, taking the exams, and receiving a university extension certificate), or as an auditor (participating in the courses, not being entitled to a tutor, not taking the exams, and receiving a university extension certificate of participation). The difference is also in the cost of enrollment.