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Migrants: learning to live together is like learning to love

The commitment to learn to live together with other people is viewed as a key educational challenge of our times that needs to be addressed. In fact is it everyone’s irreplaceable task, with no exception. Drawing from the contributions of a various international bodies – notably UNESCO and the Council of Europe - in an article published by “Rivista di Scienze dell’educazione”, (Science of Education Review) Hiang-Chu Ausilia Chang, Korean, Professor Emeritus of General Education and Comparative Pedagogy at the Pontifical Faculty of Science of Education “Auxilium”, focuses on the need to educate people to live together within a culture of human rights. The expert presented the permanent UNESCO program “Education for All” as a strategy of coexistence, for an inclusive, high-quality, integral education based on solidarity meant as the preferential path for the future, along with intercultural education as an opportunity in the teaching of coexistence. In her concluding remarks Professor Change points out that in order to become concrete, these prospects, and the very “Education for All” program, must be set against the backdrop of education to love, an emerging global challenge of our contemporary societies, absent in the examined programs, rarely envisaged outside the Catholic world. We hereby reproduce Chang’s conclusion, courtesy of the Review

All so-called forms of “educations to” (1), understood as education for all, quality, inclusive, solidarity-based, integral, intercultural, lifelong education, are basically ways, conditions, strategies, to learn to live together. The same principle of inclusion can become concrete only by cultivating every person’s love for their neighbour, along with that of every institution for other institutions. This means that love is the medium that gives concrete expression to the effective, unconditional respect for the equal dignity of every human person, people, and culture.


Believing that all men and women are members of the same family presupposes the belief that we are called to have an authentic experience of abounding love in the family, the place where we learn to love others starting with the selfless love freely received by our parents. The tragedy of disunity in family relations and of domestic violence reveals how paradoxical it is that while human beings – in order to learn to love and live in harmony and peace with others – need to make the experience of being loved, certain lifestyles – centred on personal success, competitiveness, quest for richness and for the ephemeral – contradict these aspirations, making man less of a man.

As educators we should determinedly cling on with conviction to the necessary utopia of learning to live together, understood as the task and the vocation of every human being and of the whole of humanity. In concrete terms, this utopia is achieved by learning to love our neighbour as ourselves, a fundamental ethical principle present throughout human history (2), whence stems the belief that learning to live together entails learning to love.

The progress of a given society is measured according to the degree of attention devoted to those who are excluded (3). There ensues that instead of limiting ourselves to proclaiming the principle of inclusiveness, it is necessary to take action to ensure that this principle is concretized by promoting – also through education – a positive understanding of our neighbour, practising justice in fairness, ensuring that all rights are respected, that is like saying to love our neighbour as our brother or our sister. Thus we must learn to live together because we are called to love as understood by Karol Wojtyła, namely to want the good of the other person (4). Here love is incorporated and fostered in Christian love: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1Cor 1-13).

There emerges the urgent need to recover the meaning of education today and for today, namely the effort to promote the integral growth of our neighbour through the lens of solidarity-based identities “that expresses the truth of man, of God, of the world, hence the truth of their relations” (5).

To conclude, the concepts expressed so far are found in the document of the Congregation for Catholic Education, “Educating to intercultural education in Catholic schools. Living in Harmony for a Civilization of Love”, namely, “the crucial, strategic link binding ‘love of education’ with ‘education to love.’ These two ideas are essential and indivisibly linked to each other. In them, both the educator and the student look towards the good, towards respect and dialogue” (6).

Only veritable integral education can ensure the achievement of the goal of living in harmony and building coexistence on the pillars representing the quest for the common good, mutual love, respect, and true inclusion.

Does it remain a utopia? We prefer to consider it a need

As professionals of education, we want to see it as a challenge to be met adopting the criteria of gradual, progressive steps, in the full respect of everyone’s rights, with the determination of those who don’t get discouraged before difficulties and problems. Indeed, we know of no other effective ways to achieve authentic human and fraternal harmonious coexistence based on solidarity.

(1) The so-called “educations to” are a strong indication that education to values are across-the-board themes that are present in all study disciplines. The known acronym was created by Luciano Corradini, “EDDULLPSSSSSSSIIAALAIEM” that stands for Education to Human Rights, Democracy, Freedom, Employment, Peace, Development, Health, Sexuality, Street Safety, Meaning, to what is Sacred, to Study, Identity, Intercultural education, Environment, Food, Italy, Europe, the World (Cf CORRADINI Luciano et al., Educazione civica e cultura costituzionale. La via italiana alla cittadinanza europea, Bologna, Il Mulino 1999). In some respects these “educations to” also refer to the Soft/Essential Skills that school and education in general cannot neglect. (2) In answering the question on the first Commandment, Jesus said: “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 29-31). (3) The principle of inclusiveness can also be seen in this light, namely, as a seed of hope for a world that can be globalized in a positive and constructive way. For a didactic approach see D’ALONZO Luigi, La differenziazione didattica per l’inclusione. Metodi, strategie, attività, Trento. Erickson 2017. (4) Wojtyła has written beautiful pages on love. For example, he wrote: “It is not enough to long for a person as a good for oneself, one must also, and above all, long for that person’s good. This uncompromisingly altruistic orientation of the will and feelings is called in the language of Saint Thomas “amor benevolentiae” o “benevolentia” for short. The love of a person for anotherone must be benevolent to be true, otherwise itwill not be love, but only selfishness. […]Kindness, is the unselfishness in love; […]:”I want your own good”, “I want what’s good for you.” A “benevolent” person wants this without self-interest without thinking of him/herself. […]It is the love that perfects its subject to the fullest extent, and manages to achieve the essence of the subject and that of the person to whom it is directed in the most perfect way” (Free translation from: WOJTYŁA Karol, Amore e responsabilità, in ID., Metafisica della persona. Tutte le opere filosofiche e saggi integrativi, by Giovanni Reale and Tadeusz Styczeń, Milano, Bompiani 2005, 539). (5) CHANG, Scuola e formazione 111. The title of the following volume prompts further reflection: TURKLE Sherry, Alone together. Why expect more from technology and less from each other, NY, Basic Books 2011. Moreover, it is important not to underestimate the positive aspects of learning to be alone. (cf ARNETT Jeffrey Jensen, Learning to stand alone. The contemporary Transition to Adulthood in cultural and historical context, in Human Development41[1998]5/6, 295-315). (6) CEC, Educating to Intercultural Dialogue n. 47.

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