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Pope Present for Launch of Scholas Occurrentes Foundation in Japan

First Office in Asia

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Scholas Occurrentes Foundation on November 25, 2019, inaugurated in Japan its first office in the Asian continent; Pope Francis himself inaugurated it in the framework of his apostolic visit that the Supreme Pontiff has been doing in Thailand and Japan since November 19 and will culminate tomorrow 26.

The official launch of this new headquarter was held on Monday, November 25, after the first educational experience of the Foundation was held in Tokyo. Young people between 15 and 18 years of age from various religious communities in Tokyo, Osaka, Chiba, Saitama, and Gunma participated.

Five representatives of the group met Pope Francis this morning and told him about this experience, their concerns as young Japanese and their proposals for changes as future leaders.

Seiji Tanaka, 18, expressed to the Pope some words on behalf of the group of young participants: “When we ask ourselves, what are we studying for? We think it must be to create a more just and peaceful world; we feel that this is the mission that we have been given. During these days of the Scholas program, we have discovered that there are things that cannot be expressed with numbers or logic, and that is in people’s hearts”.

Pope Francis had the opportunity to answer them: “I am very happy with the testimony you give, because you do not repeat things done, that you learn with your head, but are creative, You create things; because true wisdom is not only to fill the head of ideas but to express oneself with the three languages: the language of the mind, what I think; the language of the heart, what I feel; and the language of the hands, what I do. I thank you for the testimony and courage because it`s much more comfortable to stay locked in your ideas, but going out, feeling and doing, is a risk, and you run that risk, and it is very beautiful”.

After many years of working internationally to enact a change in the education system, Scholas is certain that young people want to be heard and want to actively participate in the transformation of their communities.

In this way, Scholas, created by Pope Francis in Buenos Aires when he was archbishop of this city under the name of School of Neighbors as a project that sought to integrate students of all religious denominations, arrived in Japan where its first official headquarters will be installed in the city of Sendái.

With Japan, there are now 13 physical offices of Scholas worldwide; including Argentina, Vatican City, Colombia, Spain, Haiti, Italy, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, and Romania; The Foundation aims to lay new offices in more countries within the next few years.

After the first official visit of Scholas in mid-September, which laid the foundations for the arrival of Scholas in Japan, this time, José María del Corral, world president of Scholas Occurrentes, was received by the deputy governor of Miyagi prefecture, Mr. Shinya Endo, and the deputy mayor of the city of Sendái, Mr. Shinichi Takahagi. They both expressed great enthusiasm for the arrival of Scholas in Japan and said they would extend their support to host the next worldwide Scholas meeting.

In mid-September, José María del Corral also met with Yoshitaka Tanimoto, the President of the University of Kansai Gaidai, in the city of Hirakata, located between the cities of Kyoto and Osaka.

The meeting, attended by Koichi Kurata, associate director, was also attended by; Norihisa Fujioka, deputy executive director of International Programs; Yoshihisa Nishimura, director of the Asian Studies Program; and Kayoko Ochi, executive project coordinator, of the International Education Center of this university.

For its arrival in Japan, Scholas has the support of the Institute for Asian and African Studies, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, represented by its director Prof. Nissim Otmazgin, and members of Japanese religious communities, including Sukyo Mahikari, Rissho Kosei-Kai, Myochikai.

Scholas Occurrentes, an international organization of Pontifical Right created by decree of His Holiness Pope Francis, is present in 190 countries and its network integrates 500.000 schools and educational networks. Its mission is to achieve the integration of all students in the world through technological, sports, and artistic initiatives that promote education on the basis of the culture of encounter.

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