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A year of war in Ukraine

Comillas organised an event to remember and raise awareness of the situation

Comillas organised an event to remember and raise awareness of the situation

27 February 2023

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The Universidad Pontificia Comillas wanted to remember the conflict that, a year later, still has Ukraine as a sad protagonist. To do so, the University Community brought together representatives from our university, from the social sector of the Society of Jesus and Ukrainian students at Comillas. The first to speak was Enrique Sanz, SJ, Rector of Comillas, who, as well as thanking the different participating institutions for their presence, brought up the importance of thinking about the answers to the different questions that this situation can raise. This conflict, as the NGO Entreculturas pointed out, is currently leaving eight million refugees, six million internally displaced people and eighteen million people in need of assistance.

Alberto Priego, lecturer of International Relations at Comillas, began the round of presentations by setting the context and recalling how events have unfolded from a year ago to the present day. Then came Pablo Funes, coordinator of the Cooperation Area of the NGO Entreculturas. Pablo highlighted the mobilisation of different institutions of the Society of Jesus, and its intervention, fundamentally, with refugees. He also appealed to the One Proposal strategy: "It makes a lot of sense for all of us to come together to answer to this emergency and this need". He also explained: "Our proposal has been to reach 73,000 people with different actions and different objectives. We have organised it according to the four verbs with which the Pope invited us to act in our work with refugees: to welcome, which includes listening and understanding the problems of others; to protect and enforce their rights; to promote, that is, to dignify the lives of others with tools such as education; and to integrate".

Macarena Úbeda, Pueblos Unidos' Reception and Social Coordinator explained the work of her organization in listening for peace. Pueblos Unidos got in touch with volunteers who could translate the necessary materials, set up a listening service in collaboration with UNINPSI and managed the proposals for help that arrived from different places and sectors: "A wave of solidarity, which we were not really used to, began," said Macarena. Channelling all these proposals, Pueblos Unidos wanted to highlight a message: "There have always been forced migrants. We have to open our arms to people wherever they come from in order to make the verse from Matthew 25:35 ‘I was a stranger and you invited me in’ a reality”. And he added "this reality that was presented to us helped us realize that we have the capacity, both from the Administration and from the civil society, to answer in a generous, organized and, above all, quick way to the needs and suffering of thousands of people fleeing their countries of origin in search of a better future".

Dana Lipman, student of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas, coming from Ukraine, was in charge of closing the meeting table. Dana wished for everything to be over, and emphasized values such as peace, solidarity and cooperation. “I think that as long as we have the possibility to talk about that, it makes sense to do it in order to raise awareness among people who forget or get used to the situation my country is going through”. However, Dana wanted to finish her speech thanking all the people and organizations involved in supporting the situation that Ukraine is going through.

Finally, a short recital of Music for Peace was given by the students of the Creative Voices Workshop, coordinated by Comillas Arte, with the collaboration of the Choral School of Madrid. In addition, the university community said the prayer Adore and Trust by the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, followed by a minute of silence.

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