testata retro Sophia

The Rector of Taiwan’s Providence University visits Sophia

“Extraordinary partnership possibilities”


The Pontifical Congregation for Catholic Education had sent an invitation to the authorities of the Providence University of Taichung, Taiwan, to visit Sophia particularly in conjunction with its participation in the first World Congress promoted by the Vatican Organisation in Rome from 18 to 21 November, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of the Second Vatican Council Gravissimum educationis.


Thus the entourage decided to dedicate a few days of their trip to Italy, from 22 to 24 November, to visit Loppiano and especially Sophia, with which it has had a bond of friendship for some time now, starting from the participation of some Sophia professors in an Inter-University Symposium held in Taiwan in 2013, also attended by the SUI Rector, Piero Coda. Back in April 2013, Sophia and Providence University had also signed an important agreement protocol which set the terms for the exchange programme of students and professors, to achieve fruitful cooperation in academic research.



The main players of the agreement had been Piero Coda of Sophia, and Prof. Chuan Yi Augustine Tang who had presided from 2012 in the academic activities of the Chinese university, an institution that since 1949, has grown over the years, supported by the  religious  congregation of the Sisters of Providence established in the United States. Today the university counts a population of about 10,000 students and has achieved the qualifications as one of the top ten universities of Taiwan (out of 31 universities operating in the Island).


There were great expectations on both sides for this encounter, which contributed to giving an atmosphere of warm cordiality to the time spent together – starting from the tour of the city of Florence. Prof. Tang and his wife, Melody Yang, with Sr. Anne Therese Falkenstein of PU’s Board of Directors, and Sofia Wu, one of Prof. Tang’s staff, had a meeting with some of SUI’s students, and appreciated the spontaneity and conviction in sharing their experience in Sophia. Furthermore, Augustine Tang and his wife also recalled a brief stay in Loppiano 15 years ago and the hospitality they were shown by all its citizens, and said that “... it is also because of this that we feel this visit is like coming home.”


The core of the visit was the moment in which they spoke about the new challenges the two universities were facing. The social and cultural frameworks are evidently very different, but the interrogatives posed by the new generations, who were welcomed and upheld in Loppiano as in Taichung, made us perceive, through the beauty of our differences, also the extraordinary unifying factors and the possible concrete synergic actions to undertake, that are like a beam of white light in which the colours blend.  To describe the sentiments they all felt, Sr. Falkenstein used the strong image of the Gospel episode of the encounter between Mary and Elisabeth.


Being aware that the culture of unity can be deeply shared, they decided to immediately start a concrete cooperation initiative: for the next academic year, one or more professors of Sophia have been invited to Providence University to return the courtesy visit and hold one or more brief seminars in the autumn of 2016, to be jointly promoted with PU at its facilities for teachers who are interested in founding academic activities on inter- and-trans-disciplinary teaching methods. In the summer of 2017, they will participate in the first Summer School promoted by Sophia in Asia,  to be held in Tagaytay, Philippines. Moreover, there would be the possibility for the enrolment of some PU students in the Master’s and Doctorate courses in Sophia.

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