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Pope Francis has once again called for a global compact on education during an October 15 event at the Aula Magna of the Lateran University in Rome.

Initially planned for May 14, the gathering was delayed as a result of the global pandemic.

“We consider education to be one of the most effective ways of making our world and history more human,” the pontiff stated in a video message. “Education is above all a matter of love and responsibility handed down from one generation to another.”

Learning is “a natural antidote” to individualistic thinking that can create indifference to the needs of others, he said, emphasizing that the future cannot be one in which we neglect “dialogue and mutual understanding.”

“The goal of this educational investment, grounded in a network of humane and open relationships, is to ensure that everyone has access to a quality education consonant with the dignity of the human person and our common vocation to fraternity,” he said. “It is time to look to the future with courage and hope. … May we be sustained by the conviction that education bears within itself a seed of hope: the hope of peace and justice; the hope of beauty and goodness; the hope of social harmony.”

Pope Francis first called for this compact in a September 2019 message, drawing on ideas and themes set forth in his Evangelii Gaudium exhortation in 2013 and Laudato Sì encyclical in 2015.

“Every change calls for an educational process that involves everyone. There is thus a need to create an ‘educational village,’ in which all people, according to their respective roles, share the task of forming a network of open, human relationships,” he stated in the September 2019 message. “According to an African proverb, ‘It takes a whole village to educate a child.’ We have to create such a village before we can educate.”

The compact is guided by a document that provides an overview and details its context, vision and mission. It doesn’t call for or provide specific programs or actions but urges the creation of an “educational covenant” by which we come “to see others who are different from us as our travelling companions, and not as a threat to our identity.”

Education is not only for the good of children and youth, but also for the whole of society and the world, the document says. It provides “a path of formation for younger generations,” “an opportunity to review and renew our entire society” and a means to empower individuals “to become direct protagonists and builders of peace and the common good.”

The full address and gathering can be viewed here. A website with additional information about the compact is available here.

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