This high level training session  was the first in the history of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and took place between February 15 and 18th.

Eleven international leaders took part: MarieFrançoise Salesiani, Thomas Tan,  Joseph Pandian, Basile Ondigui Fouda, Joseph Makwinja, Pius Ehiagwina, Renato de Lima, Eduardo Marques, Edmund Keane, Albert Zoghbi, Ella Bitar, Erwin Tigla.

The CGI held the training in its premises during three and a half days and the sessions were lead by the General Vice-President: Brian O’Reilly, the person responsible for training in the National Council of Ireland: Janis Hatchel, the correspondent in charge of aggregations, the rule and the statutes of the Society: David Williams and finally by the Society’s spiritual advisor: Father Audace Manirambona. The aim of the event was to convey to the VPTIs the main concepts of the Society and what actually makes these concepts key areas so that this message could then be communicated to the National Presidents of their respective areas. Therefore it will be possible to have, where the Society is present, the same structure, the same uses as well as the same spirituality; the actual heart or our confederation.

This training has allowed the 11 representatives to rediscover different communication techniques and leadership styles as well as to speak in public.

Various workshops took place so that the participants could put into practice the theory that they had just learnt. An example of this was the presentation exercise. Here each participant had been asked to prepare a 10 minute presentation and then gave their presentation in front of the group whilst being filmed. The videos were then played back to the group with the aim of evaluating each presentation and to detect possible areas of improvement. This exercise was carried out again at the end of the training in order to witness the progress of each participant.

To enhance the training, role plays were also set up: such as mock conference meetings where each participant took on a specific role assigned to them by the training coordinators. The goal here was to understand how meeting can be carried out efficiently within our own conferences including taking decisions within reasonable time periods whilst respecting the golden rule of consensus. Besides these exercises other subjects were covered. Father Audace reminded us of the fundamentals of Vincentian spirituality, that which gives our organisation its specific nature and its omnipresent role in all actions that are undertaken in the heart of the Society.

David Williams also intervened in order to highlight the importance of the Rule and the statutes in the running and actions of the Society. To finish, the participants could enjoy a visit to the main Vincentian sites in Paris where they could discover the Frederic Ozanam Museum in the Council of Paris, visiting the tomb of Frederic Ozanam, the headquarters and museum of the Congregation of the Mission and the Chapel of St Vincent de Paul and finally the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal guided by Amín de Tarrazi (Frederic
Ozanam Museum) and by Julien Spiewak, Youth Vice-President (Tomb of Frederic Ozanam, Headquarters of the Congregation of the Mission, Chapel of the Miraculous Medal).


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