Sunday, 17 August 2014 00:00

I.T.OUCH in Brussels: Impressions and projections


BRUSSELS, Belgium.

"I.T.OUCH . For cultures to dialogue."  This is a project of the Teresian Association that began in Brussels, Belgium, late last year.  This article is a summary of the events of the academic year of 2013 - 2014 and presents plans for 2014-2015.

When art and music, spiritualties and religions, education and citizen engagement meet, then a variety of educational projects arise to promote hospitality and peace, that is when I.T.OUCH is made clear.

If cultures do not dialogue, they become dehumanized

In late May, Brussels - Belgian and European capital - lived a violent shock due to an attack that killed four people at the Jewish Museum. The crime of the Jewish Museum is one of the most serious problems the country has experienced since World War II. In the eighties, Belgium suffered a series of anti-Semitic attacks that hit this community hard. Since then there had not been a similar episode. This time, the alleged perpetrator is a twenty-nine year old Frenchman that fits the category of the so-called foreign fighters: citizens outside the Syrian conflict traveling to fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and, if they survive, they become radicalized. 
(More on the news)

0307-1In this city, the Teresian Association began late last year the new "I.T.OUCH program. For cultures to dialogue." This project of humanization of our plural societies and civic engagement using art and music, educational gatherings and internalization of values, seems "to be successful with this response at this time" (M. Uribe).


During the first year of the program, the following have been the activities of I.T.OUCH:

  • Launching of the program: November 30, 2013.
  • Recreational and educational activity for families with children: "Following the Star of the Magi," January 5, 2014.

  • Meeting and ecumenical prayer with the president of the Protestant Churches of Belgium, January 24, 2014.
Meeting on the theme of “weakness” with the director of Caritas International and his wife, February 21, 2014.
Concert by children and young people of Europe, March 15, 2014. 

  • Thematic Meeting on the Jewish and Christian Passover, April 24, 2014. 

  • Artistic evocation of fire and its symbolism on the night of Saint John (photo exhibition, poetry, concert) June 23, 2014:
Personalized tutoring in Spanish, French, mathematics, and music (weekly activities from September 2013 to June 2014).

ITOUCH 'also initiated "networking activities":

Participation in the ecumenical proclamation of the resurrection in Liege, April 20, 2014
Testimony of five young people about their experience in 400 interreligious projects in 50 countries (10 months of travel) May 19, 2014.
End-of-the-year concert by the students of pianist Nana Kubinidze, June 13, 2014. 

The activities attracted many different people and were very lively.   Thus, I.T.OUCH, attentive to the signs of the times, will continue enlarging its scope of activities.  It will seek to enter into more networks and systematically work to train people for intercultural, interfaith, and inter-convictional dialogue.

Planning for the future

For the academic year 2014-2015 the project proposes the following agenda: 

Monthly activities

  • September 2014: Meeting – testimony: “I commit myself.” Social projects in Brussels and international volunteering. 

  • October 2014: Participation in the launching of the 5th centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Jesus, which is a project of the Teresian committee on the 5th centenary (GFT500) .
  • November 2014: Meeting - testimony. “Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom of happiness” ... - Visit - testimony. “The Tool Museum” - a Christian guide, fellow atheists, a largely Muslim audience'. 

  • December 2014: Alameda Dialogue. “Resistance.” Alternatives to neoliberalism. Can the different philosophies and religions say something? This approach will be based on the social teaching of the Church, in collaboration with the 'Axcent' association. – “Brussels sings Christmas carols,” in collaboration with the Christian communities of Brussels.
January 2015: Participation in a non-Catholic Christian liturgy and meeting with the community. 

  • February 2015: Meeting - testimony. “The issue of gender.”
March 2015: Concert “Youth of Europe,” in collaboration with music schools from different countries.
April 2015: Testimony - debate. “Prisons ... and children? Education challenged by the arrest.”
October 2015: Symposium and prayerful experience. “Have Judaism and Islam left traces in the life and the work Santa Teresa? Can her mystical experience help advance interreligious dialogue? Does it provide an answer to the search for meaning of our contemporaries? “

Ongoing activities throughout the year (September 2014 - June 2015)

  • Training of volunteers in Brussels, in collaboration with European Schools: 4 modules of training for young volunteers as well as individual and group support.
 Formation of international volunteers, in collaboration with the BICE and others: five training modules for young volunteers as well as individual and group support. 

  • Tutoring and lifelong learning: individual or small group tutoring in Spanish, French, mathematics, music and Dutch.

Activities to be done from September 2014 - June 2015.

  • Sociocultural educational experience in collaboration with neighborhood schools 'Choir peace' children and / or youth
  • Interfaith training experience in collaboration with the Center for Christian dialogue with Islam 'The Kalima', training modules for youth and young adults to learn to live in multi-religious societies.

Alumna Nana Kubinidze, Concierto Bruselas 13 de junio 2014

The activities can be accompanied by artistic elements.  There is room for the unexpected. Activities may be changed or others may be added.  Any financial help to continue carrying out the program will be very welcome.

On May 14, 1936, Pedro Poveda wrote: "My head and heart are in the present moment" (Works I, I believed, therefore I spoke [521]) and said: "It is well that you are informed and that you receive news, but do not be alarmed, because we are in a moment in which even the most peaceful lack the necessary serenity. In addition, there are many lies, some exaggerate and distort the facts, not with the intent to lie or alarm, but because they are infected and are victims of their nerves,  living in almost constant stress. Rest in the loving arms of Jesus. "

On May 24, 2014 Brussels lived a lethal attack because of lack of education to dialogue.  In many places of the world the flames of violence continue to devastate. I.T.OUCH prefers a different flame, the “living flame of love that tenderly wounds the soul”(cf. St. John of the Cross).   Apparently, this flame is lighting a fire.

Thanks for 2013-14!  We welcome 2014-2015!

Christiane Cludts, Juani Romera, Rozemarijn Vanwijnsberghe, Cairn I.T.OUCH’

Boulevard Lambermont 262
B-1030 Brussels
Telephone: +32-(0)2/218.55.32
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Bank: I.T.OUCH’ Centre Alameda, IBAN: BE53 3701 0952 9053



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