European Federation of Catholic Universities

FUCE Summer School on
European Humanism in the Making
4-8 July 2022

UCSIA organizes the international Summer School on ‘European Humanism in the Making’ for the European Federation of Catholic Universities.

The first Summer School on ‘European Humanism in the Making’ took place from 8 to 13 July 2019. It was hosted by LUMSA University on their campus in Gubbio, near Perugia in Italy and was attended by 22 (mainly) bachelor students in law and psychology, theology and philosophy, political and economic sciences, social and cultural sciences, geography and education. They came from 15 universities from 10 countries, as diverse as Georgia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland and Lebanon.

They engaged in classes in the morning, workshops in the afternoon and public lectures in the evening. The students valued the summer school as an enriching experience, allowing to envisage Europe from various disciplinary perspectives and as a fine occasion to confront and deepen ideas and develop personal thoughts. They appreciated the multicultural exchange with open-minded persons from various religious traditions and the personal interaction with the teachers.

The second edition of the summer school had to go online, but the next edition is again scheduled in Gubbio from 4-8 July 2022.

The programme consists of the following five modules, structured in two parts:

PART I – Historical and Cultural Roots: Implications for Europe Today

  1. Contribution of History to European Consciousness
  2. Literature, the Arts, Translation and European Identity
  3. The Tradition of the European Enlightenment and the Islamic Heritage

PART II – Social and Political Construction: Implications for the Future of Europe

  1. European Social Humanism
  2. Governance, Democracy and Civic Engagement

Public events


FUCE Summer School student panel
7 July 2022


FUCE Summer School Webinar
8 July 2021

Waning Europeanness

FUCE Summer School Webinar
5 July 2021


Courses I, II and III form an essential basis for understanding how facts and fiction shape a mental geography with real impact in the world and how this legacy needs to be reclaimed and critically reinterpreted in light of the future.

Courses IV and V are inseparable from one another in their focus on the social and political dimensions of Europe, inviting a  constructive reflection about the European model we want to build. It helps students to acquire a “mentality of social responsibility” within European humanism, a new kind of citizenship that can help to overcome these challenges and contribute in an active way to an advanced European humanism, becoming active agents of change.

Course I – Contribution of History to European Consciousness

Sarah Durelle-Marc of the Law Faculty of the Catholic University of Lille coordinates the first course of the FUCE Summer School.
Course I focuses on the large unfolding idea of Europe, since the middle ages to the 19th century, and how it grew facing the rival civilization of Islam, outside and inside the European borders and the general evolution of the European 20th century, a highly concentrated period of inner adversities contrasting with generous hopes, rooting on a pendulum tension between humanism and its various enemies, and opposing destruction and creation, regression and progress, darkness and light.

The course outline starts from historical roots, over the development of European consciousness during four periods and ten symbolical events and the articulation between peace and European consciousness, to the role of institution building for European integration. It culminates in the question of how a European identity may be institutionally translated in favour of peace and shared values for a politically concerted project.

The core programme encompasses two contributions by Odile Wattel of the Catholic Institute of Paris and Sarah Durelle-Marc, Catholic University of Lille. In addition guest professor José Miguel Sardica of the Catholic University of Portugal will deliver a public lecture on Europe and totalitarianism.

Course II – Literature, the Arts, Translation and European Identity

Course II focuses on how literature and the arts have built their own European narratives. Translation has somehow been the true language of Europe, a cultural technique to deal with the multiplicity of languages and identities in Europe and as a proper method for living together.

This course starts from reading texts from national heritages through a European lens with an eye for the narrative construction of reality and identity and imagined communities. Europe is approached as an imagined construction through narration on which identity is built. It is also about the interpretation of a project of cooperation in dialogue, within a broader context beyond Europe and its critique from an outside perspective. It is about the historical experience of difference and competing narratives negotiated through mutual recognition. As such, comparison and critique, negotiation of difference and neighbourhood are essential features of European literature. Translation is key for listening to voices from elsewhere.

The core programme encompasses two contributions by Fernando Ariza Gonzalez of the University of San Pablo, Madrid and Peter Hanenberg of the Catholic University of Portugal. Peter Hanenberg will also animate the public session MyEurope, inviting some of the participants for a panel discussion on how they perceive Europe.

Peter Hanenberg of the Research Center for Communication and Culture at the School of Human Sciences of the Catholic University of Potugal in Lisbon coordinates the second course.

Course III – Religion and Science and the Challenges of Humanism in Europe

Ali Mostfa of the Center for the Study of Cultures and Religions of the Catholic University of Lyon is coordinator of the third FUCE Summer School Course.
Course III aims at bringing under scrutiny the history of science and the history of technology in Europe and their relations with religious discourse. Science has brought to our societies both a method for studying and interpreting the real world and a new vision of the relationship of man with the universe and with ‘modernity’. This course will raise and reconcile two fundamental visions: science and technology as a positive fruit of modernity and critique of the modern grand narrative of scientific and technological progress.

Europe has an ambivalent bond with science and this is part of its culture. The debate has evolved from pro- versus anti-science stances with science being defended as a source of shared truth against traditional forms of knowledge and science as an answer to new challenges against science as a new form of enslavement to the contemporary debate on science changing the nature of man (from what we can do to what we can become) and technology escaping man’s control. This has led to a distrust in science as a source for policy-making and the demand to democratize science.

The core programme encompasses contributions by Ali Mostfa of the Catholic University of Lyon and Paolo Monti of the University of the Sacred Heart in Rome.

Course IV – European Social Humanism

Course IV is designed to arouse students’ curiosity and interests about the values that have been building the European people over time. European humanism can be understood as a coherent set of values and ideals which have shaped not only a specific vision of the world, but also a civilization characterized by peculiar social and institutional forms. Catholic social teaching is part of this humanistic social tradition and the result of the encounter between the Gospel and the different cultures which have shaped Europe. It is worthwhile to take a critical ethical look at the practical implementations of this same tradition over time towards ‘an integral ecology and the full development of humanity’.

European values are being continually constituted within a particular socio-political context. What values and ideals inform the social structures of European society? What is the place of Catholic Social Teaching in European Social Humanism? This will be applied to cases on migration and cultural diversity. A return to similar cases in history will help us to understand the challenges and might offer possible solutions. We are living in in a time of social breakdown as described by Hobbes in ‘Of the Natural Condition of Mankind’ (1651) and are faced with the challenge to build a new social order. Do we need a new social contract?

The core programme encompasses contributions by Michael Shortall of Maynooth College in Dublin and Wim Weymans, Chair of European Values, Catholic University of Louvain.

Michael Shortall of the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical University St Patricks College Maynooth in Dublin coordinates the fourth FUCE Summer School course.

Course V – Governance, Democracy and Civic Engagement: Beyond Differences

Patricia Santos Rodriguez of the Law Faculty of the University CEU San Pablo in Madrid coordinates the fifth course.
Course V follows upon the former, as an evidence of application of the values presented. The reflection offered focuses on the social and political dimensions of Europe (on the crisis of democracy; the rise of nationalisms and populism and the social crisis; immigration and multiculturalism) inviting a  constructive reflection about the European model we want to build and helps students to acquire a ‘mentality of social responsibility’ within European humanism, a new kind of citizenship which can help to overcome these challenges and contribute in an active way to an advanced European humanism, becoming agents of change.

The course familiarizes students with current issues related to democratic participation and offers formation in civic engagement. A first part is devoted to the topic of democracy and civil society. There was a surge in civil society organisations after WWII, growing exponentially after 1989, but today the sector seems to be under threat. What does this imply for civic participation? Can we speak of a global civil society? Are the so-called ’European’ roots able to provide a particular answer or will they merge with other values for new cosmopolitan societies?

The second part focuses on citizenship and leadership. What citizenship and what organization culture (what kind of science) are needed to tackle emerging issues and take into account the voice of the marginalized?

It provides a pedagogical approach and tools for reflection on European social responsibility through self-learning and evaluation. The last part of the module links the values learnt in former courses to practical applications in the field of solidarity and social citizenship.

The core programme consists of contributions by Monica Dias of the of the Catholic University of Portugal, Leszek Gesiak of the Jesuit University Ignatianum of Krakow and Patricia Santos Rodriguez of the University CEU San Pablo Madrid.


Student Testimonials



University Centre Saint-Ignatius Antwerp


European Federation of Catholic Universities


Barbara Segaert, Scientific Coordinator, UCSIA
T | +32 (0) 3 265 49 60


Prinsstraat 14
B-2000 Antwerpen
Tel. +32 (0)3 265 49 60
Fax +32 (0)3 707 09 31