Nine young media professionals participated in the SIGNIS International Fellowship Certificate Programme on “Compassion and Social Communication: Caring for Our Common Home” at Xavier University Bhubaneswar (XUB), India from January to May 2020.
SIGNIS in collaboration with the Xavier Centre for New Humanities and Compassion Studies (XCHCS) and the Xavier School of Communications (XCOMM) organised a unique programme on Compassion and Social Communication Studies for Young Media Professionals with participants from Argentina, Cuba, India, Mexico, Philippines and Togo. Perry Paul G. Lamanilao from Philippines and Sumit Dhanraj from India represented Asia in the International Certification Programme at XUB.
The Global Fellowship on Laudato Si’ is the result of a partnership between SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communication), Belgium and XUB (Xavier University Bhubaneswar), India focusing on being an active voice in today’s world scenario. The fellowship highlights core issues of caring for our common home, inter-religious dialogue, compassion for solidarity, integral ecology, sustainable development, environmental concerns and communication strategies. As a young media professional, the role of a communicator is very challenging and dynamic in present times. How are we going to make a difference? It’s a calling and determination to stand for prophetic values.
The three module certification programme addressed essentials of Compassion and Dialogue, Becoming a Communicator through Social Communication and Caring for our Common Home – Planet Earth. The beginning month focused on preparatory course work at the home country, with the individual project being conducted in the home country as well. The next three months programme at XUB sharpened the participant into becoming a better professional communicator and caring individual with sessions, discussions, debates, lectures, self study, field trips, cultural visits, outings and group projects.
The unique learning experience gave participants ample opportunity to get hands on knowledge of communication skills and insights through learned professionals. The immersion and exposure programme helped participants to grow culturally and holistically. The fellowship provided a platform for meeting people of different cultures and media backgrounds, making new friends and helped in sourcing new ways of collaborating to greater heights. It was an encounter of growing together, learning mutually and sharing life for the common good.
The communication group project “Unfold Nest” by the first cohort of fellows is a digital trans-media book available on the SIGNIS website (www.signis.net). It was an outcome of the inspiration drawn from the encyclical letter Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis. The collective effort of the group helped to position the e-book as an adventurous journey of an individual or community through a narrative of choosing one’s own path through seven stages.
The road map presents several resource materials and various exercises to enrich one’s journey to find deeper meaning in life. The path leads every seeker to the discovery of oneself, community and the planet – our common home. It is a call to make a difference by expectation, encounter and enjoyment. “Unfold Nest” reveals pathways to awareness, change and action. It gives a cosmic approach through sensitivity, solidarity and serviceability. Finally, it’s journey to be lived and sought after.
Sumit Dhanraj (Journalist and Media Trainer)