Abuse crisis: A new home for the Institute of Anthropology
By Salvatore Cernuzio and Gudrun Sailer
On Wednesday, the Villa Malta – the historic edifice on Rome’s Pincian Hill, which for more than 70 years has been and continues to be the headquarters of La Civiltà Cattolica – welcomed the new offices of the Institute of Anthropology (IADC).
The former Centre for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University, which is led by Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, underwent a metamorphosis in April last year to broaden and deepen its objectives and interdisciplinary research programmes, with the sole aim of proactively advancing scientific reflection on human dignity and the care of all vulnerable people.
A more ample workspace
The Institute – which exactly one year ago saw 33 students receive diplomas in Safeguarding – has seen its faculty and team of collaborators grow over the course of the past year. New, larger, and more dynamic spaces were needed to accommodate the expansion of activities. Thanks to the support of donors and friends, the prestigious venue of Villa Malta was chosen for the expansion.
Inauguration with Father Sosa
The inauguration of the new workspaces took place on 15 June with the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, S.J., inaugurated the new workspaces on 15 June, with the participation of the staff, teachers, and members of the Jesuit community of Villa Malta.
“This Institute, part of the Pontifical Gregorian University, is one of the most important frontiers of our commitment to the necessary cultural conversion that leads to guaranteeing safe and dignified environments for every human being,” said Father Sosa. “We have started a journey and achieved some goals, but we know how far we still have to go to be up to the task entrusted to us as a universal body.”
New offices reflecting mission's importance
For Father Zollner, the new arrangement of the Institute of Anthropology “gives us the workspace we need, because we were squeezed in” at the Gregorian. He said, “It was important that we move on because we are hiring more people to join our mission of being committed to safeguarding.”
In remarks to Vatican News, the head of the Institute said, “It gives us the space, a very visible and prestigious place in the architecture and in the geography of Rome, so that we can welcome international guests and hold conferences here. We really hope that this will be a thriving centre of exchange on different levels, scientific, academic, from the media side and so forth.”
Father Zollner noted that the Institute is continuing to build its residential program, intended to serve those “who come here to Rome to train as safeguarding officers in our diploma course in English and in Spanish, in our master’s programme, and in doctoral studies.”
Asked about upcoming projects, the head of the Institute said, “The major project that is on our agenda at the moment is the revision of our blended learning programme and e-learning programme that we want to adapt also to the cultural realities better than it has been used until now.”
He continued, “Then we want to strengthen our research arm,” adding, “We are happy to say that some people from other faculties, from other universities, will join us over the next months so that we can work on concrete research projects.”