Economy of Communion celebrates 25 years
TWENTY FIVE years ago, in 1991, the Economy of Communion(EOC) was launched. Focolare foundress Chiara Lubich visited Focolare communities in Brazil. During that visit Chiara was disturbed to find slum areas, the favela, surrounding the city of tall modern buildings, where people lived in abject poverty. She likened them to “a crown of thorns” around the city. Those involved with the Focolare in Brazil included not only professionals and the middle class people but also the poor. A similar situation exists in many countries, including the Philippines.
Distribution of profits
After that visit, in order to help meet the material needs of the local community, Chiara Lubich proposed a new economic model for profit businesses that could generate additional jobs and divided voluntarily share profits in three parts: one, for direct aid to those in need, two, for educational programs that foster “a culture of giving” and three, for continued business development.
In the Philippines a number of existing businesses transformed into EOC businesses such as a rural bank, a distribution and circulation company. Others, felt called as entrepreneurs to set-up nascent businesses. This was the start of Ancilla Enterprise Development Consulting, our training and consulting company that we set up as a respond to the call.
EOC businesses commit themselves to build sound relationships with employees, customers, regulatory agencies, the general public and the environment. These new relationships include those who receives aid, who are truly active participants in the project. Sharing one’s needs with dignity and sincerity is appreciated as a contribution to increase the life of communion, and many who achieve sustainable economic means later give up the help to favour others in need.
The Focolare movement has millions of members throughout the world. The EOC has brought together a network of 754 companies worldwide that are committed to pursuing higher goals beyond just profit. In fact, in Pope Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth)he noted the Economy of Communion as a promising economic model.
First Pan Asian Congress
On May 26-29, 2016, the Philippines hosted the first Pan Asian Congress at the Mariapolis Peace in Tagaytay City. The Conference theme is “Economy of Communion, Economy for All”. It is cited as a new paradigm in business and economy. It will present a new way of viewing economy and doing business that is characterized by communion, fraternity and solidarity, especially with the poor sectors of society.
The congress aimed to bring together entrepreneurs, professors, young people and members of civil society with a passion for changing the business world. It seeks to understand in depth the challenges facing Asian nations despite of the unprecedented economic growth of the past years.
Economists expected to give talks during the the congress includes members of the Economy of Communion international commission such as LuiginoBruni (Italy), Anouk Grevin (France), Lorna Gold (Ireland), Teresa Ganzon (Philippines) and Luca Crivelli (Switzerland). Invited as a guest lecturer also is Dr. Annette Pelksman-Balaoing of the University Of Rotterdam, Netherlands, who gave a perspective on globalization and how it has affected Asian nations in the past decade. It is expected to draw participants from different nations around the world with majority of participants coming from Asia and Australia.
A unique feature of the conference is the incubation session that catalyzed and encouraged new EOC businesses. Enterprise Development Group, an Ancilla Technology partner based in Silicon Valley has offered the use of its cloud based application, “One Hour Innovator” as a contribution likely to boost innovation and creativity to the event.
UST youth forum
Before the conference proper, on May 23-24 a youth forum on the economy of communion was held at the University of Santo Tomas. It created an opportunity for young people to “get to know an inclusive economy based on a culture of generosity, practicing principles of solidarity, reciprocity and communion among economic stakeholders and players.
The Economy of Communion proponents all over the world look forward to a productive conference and the continuing celebration of an “economy for all” growing in the coming years.
(Tita Datu Puangco is the CEO and President of Ancilla Enterprise Development Consulting, a major training and organization development company in the Philippines with an Asian reach. It specializes in enterprise transformation, executive coaching, corporate leadership and functional training, human resource systems, corporate academies, learning events and manage- ment of business training centers. Visit Tita’s Blog at https:// titatalkstraining. blogspot.com. For additional information please email author at tdpuangco @ancillaedc.com.ph or at tita.puangco@ yahoo.com)