Multicultural Natives:

Challenges and Opportunities of a Bridging Generation

From July 5th to 7th, the 8th International Symposium on Migration and Religion was held in São Paulo, promoted by the Graduate Studies Programme in Religious Studies and the Graduate Studies Programme in Social Sciences of PUC-SP, by Missão Paz- CEM (Migration Studies Center – São Paulo) and SIMI. Each year, the event brings together researchers and academics from different thematic backgrounds to contribute to the elaboration of the topic of migration and to possibly subsidize individuals and institutions working in welcoming migrants.

This year’s theme was Migration, Identity, and Generational Challenges. Over the various editions, the international dimension of the topics discussed, the involvement of speakers, and the multidisciplinary approach to the study of human mobility have made the Symposium increasingly a reference for universities and ecclesial communities in Latin America, as well as for the numerous organizations working in the field of human mobility. Among the participants of this edition were Fr. Fabio Baggio from the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Fr. Aldo Skoda, director of SIMI.

Fr. Skoda participated in the opening conference with a presentation on Multicultural Natives: Challenges and Opportunities of a Bridge Generation. Specifically, Fr. Skoda focused on the children of migrant people as “a possibility on one hand to confirm the relative stability of the presence of migrants in a society, and on the other hand, the opportunity to reflect on the dynamics of integration.”

Moreover, Fr. Skoda stated, “the social and pastoral analysis of the inclusion of these people represents a current challenge not only for public institutions but also for the Church. The complexity and intertwining of stories, sensitivities, cultures, languages, traditions, values, different communicative codes require a specific competence, a completely new approach, and continuous attention to the person situated in a particular culture and context.”

The children of migrants are the litmus test of society and of the Church on the authenticity of values, relationships, motivations, abilities, and intentions to build a cohesive community where differences are neither instruments of claims nor exclusion, but the means of authentic reception and communion with the other.” It is therefore fundamental to build a path of accompaniment attentive to their particular experiences and thus create “pedagogically and socially significant contexts where life is lived as a process of continuous maturation” and where conflicts are addressed and transformed “in the logic of collaboration, donation, and solidarity.”

Translated by Gabriel Biondo, SIMI intern