St Augustine has been invited by the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) to join an initiative that, through the new Vatican Department for Promoting Integral Human Development, will provide support to Papal diplomacy on important global issues. St Augustine is one of only two African universities to have been invited to join the group – the other being the Catholic University of Ghana. Other members of the group includes: Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium), Catholic University of Rio (Brazil), Université Saint Jospeh (Lebanon), Georgetown University (USA), Fordham University (USA), Catholic University of Nanzan (Japan), Catholic University of Sophia (Japan), Australian Catholic University, Eichstatt Catholic University (Germany), and Université catholique de Lyon (France).
Although the precise contours have yet to be determined, the aim of the initiative is to strengthen the Holy See’s capacity for analysis and action when dealing with some of the important crises confronting the world. The objectives include: providing pontifical diplomatic representatives with notes on specific issues; drafting analyses for the Department for Promoting Integral Human Development; submitting recommendations to certain papal representatives in international institutions.
Msgr GALLAGHER, the Vatican’s Secretary for State Relations, who has expressed his ‘heartfelt thanks’ for the initiative, is hopeful that the group will soon assist the permanent missions of the Holy See accredited to the major international intergovernmental organizations, such as the UN Headquarters in New York, Geneva and Vienna, UNESCO in Paris, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and the Food and Agricultural Organisation in Rome.
Prof Garth ABRAHAM, President of St Augustine, will be attending an IFCU workshop on ‘Leading Catholic Universities’, in Rome, at the end of September.