Pontifical forum in Africa to emphasize cultural development, dignity of human person

.- Pontifical groups on culture and evangelization released a communique on Tuesday announcing an upcoming forum next year in Africa which will highlight development strategies in the country, “focusing on the human person made in the likeness and image of God.”

A preparatory meeting for the forum titled “Cultures, identities of peoples and development in Africa and the Black Diaspora” began on Sept. 27 in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The effort is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Congregation for the Evangelization of peoples, and is slated to be held in Abidjan in March of 2011.

“This year Africa is celebrating fifty years of independence of many countries from colonial rule,” read the communique released by the Pontifical Council for Culture. “How far has this culturally rich and diverse continent, made up of different colors and hues, profited from independence? What mark has development made on people's lives and how has globalization impacted the cultures of the continent?”

“The Pontifical Council for Culture in collaboration with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples aims to create a forum with representation from different ecclesiastical, international and non-governmental organizations in order to find ways and strategies through which development can be promoted while focusing on the human person made in the likeness and image of God,” the statement added.

The gathering, wrote the council, is also intended “to become a permanent place of reflection, for concrete proposals for a cultural and educational engagement which will promote a body concerned with development in Africa.”

Those participating in the current Sept. 27 – Oct. 1 preparatory meeting include Fr. Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Also present will be Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr, president of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (CERAO) and vice president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), other bishops and theologians, as well as diplomatic representatives from the Ivory Coast.

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