Québec, June, 21st, 2017 (SIGNIS). After two full days of discussions, learnings, and speeches, the SIGNIS World Congress came to end. The closing ceremony was a time of celebration and remembrance, as people were awarded and honoured.
John Pungente, SJ, was given the SIGNIS Life Time Achievement award. This pioneer of media education was born in 1939. He has worked at the Center for the Study of communication and culture, created award winning television series, to help media literacy teachers in teaching contemporary TV and movies. He influenced and still influences a large number of media educators in SIGNIS.
The winner of the #IseeHope contest, a video competition organized by SIGNIS for young people, was revealed: Edgar Borgia, from Indonesia, for his short film "In your eyes". The jury gave its prize to the film for its "depiction of a young lady struggling with her conscience". This film "awakens in us hope and faith in our ability to choose our destiny and be guided by our truest values." The film pointed also that a lot of abortions could be avoided if the boyfriend, family, and friends take also their responsibility.
French Canadians who worked for Unda, OCIC and SIGNIS were then honoured. The commitment and professionalism have helped SIGNIS to have a solid foundation. Jean-Paul Guillet, S. Huguette, Fr. Pierre Murray, Fr. Pierre Belanger and many others were thanked. prof. Guy Marssechault gave a short overview of the international commitment French Canadians had in OCIC, Unda and now SIGNIS in the last ninety years.
Jim McDonnell, the programme coordinator of the Congress, asked the audience: "How will we, as communicators, convey hope?". He identified four themes that came up during the different sessions: The challenge of the new, the power of creativity, the need for collaboration and the commitment to hope. He also underscored the power of story to inspire, to create and foster change.
Finally, Gustavo Andujar, SIGNIS president, said that “the Congress has marked a propitious moment to trace its course towards the future, in continuity with a long and rich history of almost 90 years of service, but also with imagination and inventiveness ... we count on you and the extraordinary family of SIGNIS, to begin, with this jubilee year for the 90th anniversary of the Association, a new era of service to the goal of peace, justice and reconciliation”.