Lasallians from across the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN) attended the World Congress of Lasallian Education at Universidad La Salle in Mexico City, Mexico, from March 14-16, 2019. The event’s theme was “Lasallian Education for the 21st Century” and was one of the various global events celebrating the Year of Lasallian Vocations.
Marta Vazquez, a science teacher from DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was among the RELAN attendees and presented at the Congress. Reflecting on her time in Mexico, she said, ”During the Congress, I was overwhelmed and very impressed by the amount of institutions and people working for the same goal. I truly realized that we are a global family. It was very interesting to learn about so many different projects and initiatives and meet extraordinary people. I left Mexico City full of enthusiasm and energy.”
The goal of the meeting was to provide a space for Lasallian educators to analyze the perspectives for the future of education and to share their reflections and good practices. Throughout the gathering, attendees were invited to attend keynote addresses as well as workshops, roundtable discussions and a graphic exhibition.
When asked what her biggest takeaway from the experience was, Janell Kloosterman, AFSC, director of Leadership Formation for the District of San Francisco New Orleans responded, “Our Lasallian world is filled with dedicated, kind, passionate educators whose love of students has become central in their life. And most importantly these educators will continue to grow in their profession because they simply know they must because it is what is best for young people. The Lasallian mission is alive and well and in hands of extraordinarily talented and gifted educators.” Kloosterman was a presenter in the roundtable discussion entitled “Lasallian Pedagogy of Today.”
Attendee Peter Sigmund, chief operating officer at La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, called the gathering one of the most affirming experiences in his 28 years of teaching at La Salle College. “I was sitting in the large theater with 900 people from all over the world. The content was being translated into multiple languages, but it was clearly evident that we all had one thing in common: we were dedicated Lasallian educators. It didn’t matter if you were from Germany, Australia, Singapore, the U.S., Mexico or Argentina. We all had the same values of educating young people and dedication to helping the poor. These values that have been passed down from Saint John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers.”
The Congress attracted more than 600 participants from 18 different countries.