Port of Spain, May 28, 2015 (SIGNIS) - The SIGNIS Board of Directors, meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in the last week of May, has decided to accept the invitation from the President of SIGNIS North America, Pierre Murray, to hold the next World Congress at Laval University in Québec City, Canada in June 2017. Planning for the Congress will begin shortly.

The Board also took the significant decision to approve the proposal that the recently beatified Archbishop Romero be nominated as a co-patron of SIGNIS. The President of SIGNIS, Gustavo Andújar explained that Archbishop Romero is an example to Christian communicators for the ways in which he spoke out in defence of the poor and for justice and reconciliation.

Another important decision made by the Board was to appoint Ricardo Yáñez as Acting Secretary General from September 1st 2015. This follows the departure of Alvito de Souza, who after 7 years will be stepping down as General Secretary to pursue new career opportunities in the field of development. The Board expressed their deep appreciation for all that Alvito had done in his time working for SIGNIS and wished him every success in the future.

During the meeting the Board was addressed by Nuala Menezes, President of SIGNIS Caribbean who spoke of how the organization has spread right across the region. Former President of UNDA, Sr Angela Ann Zukowski, from the University of Dayton also spoke, presenting the work of the Caribbean School of Catholic Communication which she founded in 1994 with the late Archbishop of Port of Spain, Anthony Pantin. The School, supported by the Living Water Community and Trinity TV, offers a three-year, one-week-a-year training programme in different communication skills to a wide range of students.

Today there has been a shift form older lecturer-student models to one of self-directed learning helping students find internet resources. Instructors now act as consultants working with the students on their productions. A workbook has also been created. Input is given in the form of short talks, no more than 20-25 minutes followed by table conversations with 4-6 students. Increasing use is made of the technology owned and used by the students such as smart phones.

Board members were also able to visit the studios of Trinity TV which has recently launched a 24/7 service and to learn about their future plans.

The Board approved plans to build a new SIGNIS web portal in collaboration with SIGNIS Latin America and SIGNIS Brazil. Members also reflected on how to link the SIGNIS theme, Promoting Stories of Hope, with concrete actions and identified priorities and key activities for the SIGNIS Desks over the next two years.

The next meeting of the Board will be in Québec City in June 2016 which will give Board members an opportunity to visit Laval University, where the sessions will be held, in advance of the Congress in 2017.

Visit the picture gallery of the Board on our Flickr