Tokyo, Japan, 26 April 2017 -- The Salesian Higher Education Institutions (IUS) in East Asia Oceania (EAO) had their First Regional Conference from 22 to 26 April. The Conference was well attended by six institutions coming from three countries: Salesian Polytechnic Tokyo, Japan, which had the privilege of hosting the first ever IUS Conference in the region; Don Bosco Technical College Mandaluyong and Don Bosco College Canlubang from the North Philippine Province; Don Bosco Technical College, Cebu from the South Philippine Province; Don Bosco Technological Institute East Boroko and Don Bosco Simbu Technical College Kumgi from the Vice Province of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. The Conference had a good mix of 7 Salesian priests, 5 lay people and 1 religious brother. Among the lay people were two female participants.
On the first day, Fr. Tomohiro Kojima, Rector of Salesian Polytechnic, welcomed his 12 co-participants to their prestigious technical institution in Japan. Soon after, Fr. Marcelo Farfan, the IUS General Coordinator, opened the Conference assembly, which was the very first group to meet from among the 5 regional and continental IUS conferences in the Salesian world after the 7th General Assembly in Rome last July 2016. The topics of the Conference were prepared by Fr. Ariel Macatangay, the IUS-EAO Coordinator, while most of the logistical preparations in Japan were shouldered by Mr. Luis Marques, Associate Professor at the Salesian Polytechnic.
Among the important topics discussed were:
- the variety of our higher education institutions in the region,
- assessment of the application of the recently updated IUS Policies 2016-2021 in the institutions,
- study and critique of the working document on the "Orientations for University Ministry in the IUS,"
- presentation of the main features, contents and process of making an Institutional Project for each IUS,
- formation proposals for IUS directors and managers, as well as leading animators of university ministry,
- implementation of the Common Program 5 (2016-2021),
- proposals for networking with other university bodies, with IUS of other regions or continents, and among the IUS in EAO.
Some concrete networking initiatives included the IUS Logo Contest, a unified IUS website, and a publication of scholarly articles regarding "Salesian Charism and Higher Education."
Towards the end of the Conference, the participants agreed on a Common Program 2017-2019 for the IUS in EAO with the following resolutions:
- assure ownership and involvement of IUS at Provincial level,
- institutionalize processes in the IUS especially through the Institutional Project,
- initiate exchange programs among IUS in EAO.
The Conference participants also proposed to hold the next IUS-EAO regional conference in Cebu, Philippines in April, 2019.
As a first regional Conference, all the participants were satisfied with the valuable opportunities for fraternal sharing and family bonding, for networking and collaboration, and for deepening of our common Salesian passion for the education and evangelization of the young, especially those most in need.