The collaboration agreement between the Pontificia Università Antonianum, Oikos Mediterraneo, and the Sophia University Institute has been signed

by Sergio Barbaro

On the occasion of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, Saturday, April 6, 2024, the conference “Mediterranean Intersections: Culture and Sport for Peace” was organized at the Auditorium of Oikos Mediterraneo University and Pontifical Antonianum University. Within the conference, an important collaboration agreement was signed between Pontifical Antonianum University, Oikos Mediterraneo, and the Sophia University Institute.

The Oikos Mediterraneo project was established in 2020, in the Franciscan convent of Taranto. OIKOS, Center for the Integral Ecology of the Mediterranean (meaning “house” in Greek), is the root of the words ecology and economy, and is also the subtitle of Pope Francis’ encyclical on caring for our common home.

In a social and economic context where young people increasingly tend to emigrate elsewhere to pursue their dreams, Oikos aims to catalyze projects related to integral ecology in the Mediterranean. It convenes students, youth, researchers, artists, and entrepreneurs to build a new future, both for the city and for the Mare Nostrum.

Oikos intends to build partnership agreements with entities and realities that pursue similar objectives.

Within the framework of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the Sophia University Institute was invited to sign, through its rector Declan Joseph O’Byrne, the first collaboration agreement between Oikos and a university outside the Franciscan network. The agreement includes the establishment of two permanent research tables. The first research table aims to create a “Permanent Observatory on Digital Diplomacy” which, through the analysis of the current situation in the various involved countries, intends to propose development strategies to protect human dignity, fundamental rights of citizenship on the web, and in artificial intelligence systems.

The second research table consists of two paths. The first is aimed at studying indigenous knowledge systems in the Mediterranean with the aim of training a next generation of scientists and managers of cultural and natural resources capable of weaving local knowledge with research practices, political processes, and decision-making planning, bringing indigenous knowledge back to a key role in creating a sustainable future in the Mediterranean.

The second path instead intends to investigate the role of women for harmonious, integral, and sustainable development in order to make known and enhance the enormous heritage derived from the “female perspective” in the countries of the Mediterranean and Africa.

The tables will be composed of researchers from Pontificia Università Antonianum, representatives of Oikos, professors and researchers from Sophia, and members of ANORC, an association engaged in the field of digitization and protection of informational and documentary heritage in both public and private sectors, and ESGR, a benefit corporation committed to business consultancy in sustainability matters.

The agreement aims to be only the first step towards a more fraternal and intense collaboration between Pontificia Università Antonianum, Oikos, and Sophia University Institute, in order to promote joint initiatives and projects aimed at the integral and sustainable human development of the Mediterranean basin, the valorization of this geographical area, and the training of young leaders and researchers.