The journal > Year 6 N.11 June 2010

Education: A Global Question

Year 6 N.11 June 2010



A Manual of Life in the age of Migrations

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Peter-K. Turkson


From Tradition, to which this section of the last edition of Oasis was dedicated, to Education, a subject that forms the title of the cover of this edition of our review, is one short step but one not in the least to be taken for granted. Short because it is evident that the connection between the two terms is very close: to communicate and to test what we receive from the past involves a work of acceptance and dialogue with the next generations and not only with previous generations. But this work, this ‘handing over of a manual of life’ as Cardinal Turkson calls it in his leading article, is not mechanical and consequential. It involves of necessity the role of freedom, indeed of two freedoms: between those who give and those who receive is created a dynamic relationship that is open to the unforeseen and to shared construction. The authors of this section explore the different aspects of the subject of education, from its foundations and principles to the historical experiences that document how at the centre of every culture is specifically located that process of knowledge and communication which unites the generations.

An Action Beyond Boundaries (Including those Established by States)

The role of education is decisive for the development of relations between Muslims and Christians and in combating fundamentalist tendencies that seek to separate the two communities. Many countries accept the presence of Christian schools, others do not. The special situation of North Africa.

Henri Teissier

That Patient and Tenacious Sowing over 150 years

In 1854 the first school of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was created. Today there are forty-five schools in Jordan, Palestine and Israel, with over twenty-thousand pupils and a staff of two-thousand people. A reality of extraordinary commitment and testimony to the dramatic situation in the region.

Fouad Twal

In the Footsteps of the Charity of God that Receives Every Pain

From Amman to Aqaba and on to Anjara, following the pathways indicated by ‘Our Lady of Peace,’ an institute for receiving and educating disabled children that has spread throughout the country. Founded by the Jordanian Catholic community, it responds to the needs of all families, without any distinction.

Marialaura Conte

A Reform against Violence and the Loss of Meaning

The heavy challenges that the Algerian school system has to face:the quality of teaching, the harmonious development of society, economic growth. On the one hand it is necessary to ‘educate the educators’ and, on the other, to generate in young people a critical spirit, a taste for questioning and a capacity to understand vital questions.

Mustapha Cherif

Between the Generations: Reasons, Crisis, Challenge

The meaning of education according to the millennial experience of the Catholic Church. Even since its origins, convinced that it has received a patrimony that must be for everyone, the Catholic Church has attended to how to transmit it. And with a care that has no equal in history.

Jean-Louis Bruguès

Adaptation or Consisting in: an Anthroplogical Question

In the current context, education displays a ‘crisis of meaning.’We receive a great deal of education in behaviour but none in freedom.Society requires skills and efficiency and in exchange guarantees every kind of right or claim. The fundamental question is our vision of man.  

Francesco Botturi

In the schools of the world face to face with faith

The former British premier presents the readers of Oasis with the programme produced by his foundation. ‘In the global life of the twenty-first century we must promote understanding between believers and project a positive image of religious identity.’ A project at work in eleven countries.

Tony Blair

Good Intentions: so Easy and so Dangerous

Multiculturality as an ‘idea’ (or multiculturalism) has been placed in a state of crisis by multiculturality as a ‘fact.’ The result is schools pervaded by tensions and paralysis whereas it is specifically in classrooms that the real match of open dialogue and a shared journey will be played out.

Luisa Ribolzi

Immigration: Why is not enough " not to be racist "

The challenge of relationships with the other, those who belong to another culture or another religion, affects the whole of the educational process which begins in schools but goes well beyond them. Italy, which does not have strong ethnic or ideological paradigms, can meet this challenge better than other countries. 

Paolo Branca

Learning to Co-exist in a Smiling Islam

In the largest Muslim country in the world the educational system as well is based upon the five principles of the Pancasila, the ideological architrave on which the state rests. The Constitution upholds the right to religious freedom and in schools religious education, as well as respect for different identities, is assured.

Azyumardi Azra


St. Augustine wrote to his friend Deogratias on the meaning and method of education, referring in particular to the work of catechesis. Fifteen centuries later, in the speech that Benedict XVI gave to Romans ‘on the Urgent Task of Educating Young People’, there emerges a singular and powerful consonance with the vision of the Bishop of Ippona. At the centre of the two texts is the ‘dialogue of freedoms’ typical of the educational dimension, a dialogue that culminates in love. This necessarily includes love for truth, as this Pope himself observed in his meeting with the Muslims of the Cameroon. And which re-echoes in the medieval pages of ‘the proof of Islam’ Al-Ghazâlî.

The Mercy of God, the Heart of all the Catechesis

'It was mainly for this purpose that Christ came, to wit, that man might learn ho much God loves him; and that he might learn this, to the intent that he might be kindled to the love of Him by whom he was first loved': for St. Augustine this was the essential core of Christian education.

Saint Augustine

From one Generation to Another, a Suffered and Grandiose Passage

Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Faithful of the Diocese and City of Rome on the Urgent Task of Educating Young People, 21 January 2008

His Holiness Benedict XVI

The Great Shared Pathway

Meeting of the Holy Father  Benedict XVI with Representatives of the Muslim Community of Cameroon  Apostolic Nunciature of Yaoundé, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Holy Father Benedict XVI

The True Believer is Saved Through Works, not Learning

The Muslim mystic and jurist al-Ghazâlî exalts the opposition  between abstract and formal knowledge which is connected with ‘gratifying [the] ego and with worldly exploits,’  and spiritual endeavour, which, instead, generates good actions

Abû Hâmid al-Ghazâlî


Minister, thinker, leader writer and consultant to various international organisations: Georges Corm is one of the most brilliant and eclectic figures of the Lebanon today. He loves opinions that go against the mainstream as one can understand when reading this impassioned interview in which ardour and tension reveal his absolute love for his suffering and irreplaceable land.

Catch us if you Can! I will explain to you why despite everything no one will manage to put us Lebanese in a trap

Beirut. In a city that is reborn and at risk every day, an interview with Georges Corm. A Maronite Christian, a politician, a writer, a lecturer and a polemicist, a multi-faceted man who, like so many of his fellow countrymen, goes against the mainstream. 'His' Lebanon is different from the clichés and traditional interpretations and shines out because of its vitality intertwined with pain and drama.  

Georges Corm


A journey to the United Arab Emirates where the idea is to change the face of a piece of the world. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants, very many of whom are Christians, are active day and night in the colossal building sites that bring out from the desert the flowers of cement and glass created by man.

The Army of Immigrants that Goes to Mass and Erects Skyscrapers

Crisis or no crisis, the march of the Emirates from the desert to the ‘super metropolis’ has not stopped. And it continues to swell the ranks. Of the seven million residents, only 15% are autochthonous. Indians, Bangladeshis, Filipinos, Middle-Eastern people: the colony of workers coming from every corner of the globe is involved in a colossal building experiment destined to last another twenty years.

Riccardo Piol


Interventions, analyses et témoignages en provenance de différents pays et concernant différents thèmes. Dans ce numéro : préparation du prochain synode du Moyen-Orient ; la vision de la femme dans le Coran et dans l’exégèse musulmane ; la finance selon l’Islam ; une philosophie des droits de l’homme ; en Irak, au refuge des chrétiens ; le Liban des croyances célèbre la mère de Jésus.


Articles, analyses and testimonies from different countries and on different subjects. In this edition: preparing for the next Synod of the Middle East; the vision of women in the Koran and in Muslim exegesis: finance according to Islam; a philosophy of human rights; in Iraq in the refuge of the Christians: the Lebanon...

Iraq: Pain nourishes the Resistance of the Christians

A visit to the monastery of Al Qosh, the last refuge of displaced people from Mosul where “whoever wears a cross around their necks runs the risk of being murdered.” And yet there is the belief that the climate of terror may finish: “Despite our misfortunes the moment of mutual understanding appears to us to be nearer.”

Gian Micalessin

Pathways of the Feminine in the Muslim Tradition

According to the Sura of Women, God created human beings from one person or soul and the term used to define this one person or soul evokes both sexes. Amongst the ninety-nine names for God, ‘the merciful’and ‘the compassionate’ stand out. Etymologically, they refer back to the maternal womb.

Ida Zilio-Grandi

In the Name of Mary United at Least for a Day

In the Lebanon the Feast of the Annunciation, which by now has been celebrated for three years by Christians and Muslims through shared initiatives, has been made a national holiday by the government. In this country of eighteen confessions, devotion to the Mother of Jesus thus also becomes an opportunity for mutual understanding.

Mohammed Sammak

Human Rights Between Hard Power and Soft Power

A conversation with Abdullahi Ahmed an-Na‘im, a Sudanese, a lecturer  in the United States of America, a disciple of the great reformist thinker Muhammad Taha, who was executed in Khartoum in 1985. ‘Universality must be built  through the idea of progressive consensus. The use of brute force must be avoided.’  

Abdullahi-Ahmed An-Na'im

The Bank That Cannot Pursue Its Own Interest

A prohibition on excessive profits and usury, the obligation to give alms to the poor: these are the bases of the economic and financial life of Islam,derived directly from verses in the Koran. In them there is no condemnation of wealth or social difference which are seen to be natural and permitted by God.

Ersilia Francesca

For the Small Flock a Possible Mission. Perhaps

Towards the assembly of bishops for the Middle East. The theme chosen points to the fundamental problem of the Church in a region that is characterised by bitter and deep conflict. On the one hand, divisions and, on the other, emigration: the very presence of Christians in their original homeland is at stake.

Paul Hinder

Book Reviews

In the books of this edition: the modern revolution that began in Geneva; the icons of the Holy Land; so as not to lose the genius of Massignon; the madras schools and their function; why one cannot speak about a ‘return’ to the sacred. And lastly, to end this section, an itinerary between the films of today and yesterday following the red line of the ‘tale of formation’.

At the Origin of Modern Law

John Witte’s successful volume represents a significant contribution to the history of juridical thought and its relation with the phenomena of renewal or religious reform in the West. For some time now the author has been following a line of research, which has made the centre where he is the director – the Center for...

Andrea Pin

The Hidden Treasures of Christian Arab Art

Abraham dressed like an Arab Sheik. A horse ­depicted in Romanic style. The robes of the saints decorated as if they were miniatures. An Ecce Homo and a Saint Joseph with Child of ­obvious Latin tradition. A Byzantine ascension as theme and composition of the scene. Gold ­assist technique to illuminate the robes of Chr...

Mattia Guidetti

Massignon: Messenger and Researcher

In 2008 the Association of Friends of Louis Massignon celebrated the centenary of his conversion. It was in fact on 3 May 1908 in Iraq that, in dramatic circumstances, Massignon ‘finds Jesus Christ’ after carrying out archaeological research at al-Ukhaydir. Baghdad then became a city ‘very dear’ to him since it was the...

Maurice Borrmans

Models of Islamic Education

For a long time the Islamic school par excellence, the madrasa, was considered a relic of the past, ­destined to disappear upon contact with the western world. Then the ascent of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the challenge launched by the madrasas to the Pakistani government have ­suddenly brought them back into the n...

Martino Diez

Faith, Culture and Holy Ignorance

For years scholars have bet on the disappearance of God from the history of man. Modernisation – they maintained – involves a progressive abandoning of religious beliefs, inevitably destined to be replaced by more scientific and rational explanations of reality. There was talk of the death of God, of His eclipse, of th...

Michele Brignone

Vitality, Struggle and Tenderness: the Most Beautiful Tale is Encounter

In the cinema of today (but also in that of yesterday) what still manages to surprise and move us is the crossing of two human pathways, where the real denominator common to everyone emerges: the need for love and happiness. And it is not just by chance that often a master and a disciple  come to meet at that crossroads

Emma Neri


Discovering the mosque, centre of prayer and place of civilisation

Recently there has been a lot of talk about issues relative to the Muslim world and the many problems concerning the way in which a meeting is possible – and to be hoped for – between different standpoints which not only does not take anything away from anyone, but which are able, on the other hand, to add something. O...

Giovanni Curatola*

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