Agape Italy 11 to 15 September 2019
On behalf of the Board of Oikosnet Europe and on behalf of Agape Centro Ecemenico in Italy, it is our pleasure to invite you to the next Annual Conference of Oikosnet Europe. The AC is scheduled to take place from 11 – 15 September 2019 in the beautiful settings of Torino in Northern Italy.
Theme of the conference
The theme of the 2019 Annual Conference deals with identities in a changing world.
Identity is a tricky thing – you cannot be without it (to whom can you say “you” if you do not know an “I”?) and therefore often it seems to be natural. As we all know it is rather complex and far from being plain and simple: it depends on our history, our local and cultural context, as well as on our intentions – we are something between who we were and who we want to be.
Oikosnet's AC this year takes place in a region that will allow us a proper field work on all the different aspects of identity, witnessing migration flows and cultural shifts. Encountering experts, historians and activists, we will get insights on the identity discourse of the Waldensian Church, a pre-reformation protestant church located in the valleys around Agape, forced into exile and liberated 1848. We will look at how this identity shapes this church's work in the migration contexts of today. We will have a closer look on the migration routes passing in a valley near Agape, how they are affected by a political situation which tries to shape the past for its current intention, and we will find there the urge to define borders as well as the seed for a real European Civil Society. And, last but not least, we will see and discuss practical examples of communitarian work on identity, which needs sometimes to change to remain what it has been.
Agape is woven into a very special context: it is part of a minority church, yet it is located in the only region where members of the Waldensian Church form a majority; Agape has been built at the top a tight mountain valley which has been subject to forced and voluntary migration and it is now witnessing new forms of migration; it has been build right after a time of massive alienation and distance among humans on local, national and international level as a project of reconciliation, common good and community. Its architecture facilitates group processes and community building and in the decades of its existence Agape was be able to welcome challenges and diversities without becoming something different. This has shaped Agape's community and this spirit lives in Agape's walls – as the Annual Conference is our occasion for sharing and updating each other on our missions and projects, we will do so in the communitarian spirit that Agape offers to see the glimpses of a common identity which lies in the shared ground of the One.
Registration and how to get there
Agape lies within the Waldensian Valley in the north of Italy. The closest airport is Turino. And from there it takes some time to drive. For the Oikosnet Annual Conference, Turino will be the starting point of shuttles to Agape. Participants should arrive well before 18h00 on 11 September. More detailed information will be provided to registered participants. For more information on the Agape Center check: https://agapecentroecumenico.org/en
The registration for the conference is open until August 21. We look forward to see you all there!