Salesian World by Zoom, 20 November 2023 -- Spanning time zones across the world the Salesian Social Communications Sector, Rome, met online on 17 November 2023, using the ZOOM platform. Present for the meeting was Fr Gildásio Mendes, Social Communication Councillor, the team from the Social Communication Department, Rome, and the different coordinators from each of the regions. Coordinated by Fr. Ernest Rosario (South Asia), the objective was to build on the Salesian Communication network and evaluate programs held during the year.
Fr. Gildasio opened the meeting with words of gratitude for the wonderful work that each does in their different regions, throughout the Congregation. Setting the tone for the meeting, he outlined the goals and reminded the members to: 1. Build relationships; 2. Be active in taking initiative in the different activities; 3. Collaborate to move forward and 4. Networking is vital. “Accompaniment, Formation and Presence are essential as we move forward together with the referent of each region,” he reminded the members. He then invited all the members to promote and make the ‘Letter of Communication’ known. He expressed his joy to share the copyright of his recent book ‘Don Bosco and the Digital Reality.’
Each of the Regional Coordinators then shared their joys and challenges of the region.
Fr. Rigobert Met (Africa-Madagascar) spoke of a stable team, the formation of the young and the new initiative of mobile journalism to be rolled out.
Zaida Navarrete (Inter America) presented the different programs of the year - the meeting in Chile, the voices project and the discussion held with 98 participants on the ‘Dream of nine.’ The first meeting of musicians is also scheduled, together with programs and plans for 2024.
Fr. João Carlos (Brazil) spoke of the preparations for the bi-centenary, the visit of the Rector Major and the Brazilian Bishops' Fraternity Campaign. He also shared that after the meeting in Rome, the delegates will spend four days in Rome to learn more about communication. The 10 Salesian and the Salesian sisters delegates, together with young people, will study the letter that has been circulated.
Fr. Ambrose Pereira SDB, (East Asia - Oceania), highlighted the commitment of the EAO region to journey with young people through the Voices and DBGYFF program. The young people dealt with Digital and Substance Addiction, Environment, and Violence. Giving a voice to Indigenous people is being headed up by Cambodia. The Salesian Bulletin, seminars on AI for the Salesian Formators and others were conducted. Plans for 2024 include online and in-person formation.
Fr. Marcin Wosiek (Central and Northern Europe) stated that the different languages of the region make it a bit difficult to have joint programs. He hopes that the Conference meeting will engage everyone.
Fr. Ernest Rosario (South Asia) said that the Voices project highlighted migrants, unemployment, addiction, etc. BOSCOM has been working for the past 27 years at the film festival in Chennai, the Don Bosco Digital Forum, the Salesians musicians, and the BOSCOM General Assembly. The SPCI has consented to set up a central office in Mumbai. Plans also include coordinating a three-day formation around World Communications Day.
Fr. Harris Pakham (Rome), responsible for South Asia and East Asia-Oceania, highlighted that the Voices project was well received. The unique Film Festival project is moving forward. A National Seminar will also be held together with visits and programs to the different provinces of the two regions.
Fr. Ricardo Cámpoli (Rome) was able to interact with several delegates while in the United States and Colombia. The School of Communication commenced with a meeting with 140 participants. A meeting to spread the Salesian Bulletin highlights was also held.
Fr. Macije Matia said that communication in Europe dwells mostly on the war in Ukraine and Palestine and Israel. In Africa, an office for the region is planned to be sent up in Nairobi. The Mobile Journalism course will commence in Gambia. Media strategies are being dwelt on and a website for the region is being designed. Speaking about the Conference of 2024, he encouraged the delegates to complete it. He asked the members to suggest speakers for the conference from different regions and discuss the ‘Key Issues’ that have been circulated.
Fr. Gidásio expressed his satisfaction at members' zeal. He stressed not merely news flashes but persons of credibility. He spoke of the International Commission of Artificial Intelligence and the new document needs to be studied and revised.
The meetings for 2024 will be held on 17 May and 4 November 2024.