Paris, April 6th, 2020.
To: All the Superior Councils, International Board, International Structure, Paris’ staff, Permanent, Temporary and Special Commissions, the Holy Church and the Vincentian Family.
16th PRESIDENT GENERAL’s EXTRAORDINARY ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS
Faced with the new coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) which has been hitting mankind for some weeks now, severely restricting people’s mobility, transit through countries, and travel and transport across continents, the 16th President General International seeks to protect the health of CGI members and SSVP leaders around the world, in consultation with members of the International Board, the Permanent Section and the International Spiritual Advisor, and in accordance with the International Rule (Items 1.6, 3.9, 3.10 and 5.2) and the Statutes of the Confederation (Items 3.2, 3.16 and 3.23), and hereby announces the following decisions:
- 1 – SUSPENSION OF ACTIVITIES
The face-to-face meetings/activities held by the International Board and other relevant commissions within the Council General International are hereby suspended until further notice. The focus will be upon the latest IT tools, such as online sessions and videoconferencing.
- 2 – INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
The trips scheduled for Board members, the International Structure and Paris’ staff are suspended, as recommended by international health authorities, until further notice, depending on the evaluation of risks of getting infected or spreading the virus.
- 3 – INTERNATIONAL-STRUCTURE ACTIVITIES
Institutional travels scheduled for International Territorial Vice-Presidents (VPTIs), Zone Coordinators and Territorial Delegates for Youth, Formation and Special Projects are also suspended until further notice. If necessary, each situation will be analysed on a case by case basis upon with President General’s express authorization.
- 4 – POSTPONEMENT OF MEETINGS
The following events are postponed until further notice: the 2nd “All Africa Assembly”, the 9th Pan Asian Congress/Conference (PANASCO 9), the 1st SSVP Latin American Youth Forum, and the 1st SSVP French-Speaking Meeting. The 3rd Territorial Meeting of America 3 (South America) is deferred to the last quarter of 2020.
- 5 – CGI ANNUAL MEETING
The CGI’s 2020 Annual Meeting, to be held in June in Nairobi (Kenya), will be postponed until the end of the year and will be hosted by video conferencing. The Superior Councils will be duly informed of the new date, and will be digitally provided with all documents required to take part in the event and thereby evaluate issues to be voted.
- 6 – PGI’s AGENDA
All the events, ceremonies, anniversaries, plenary sessions and celebrations, scheduled on President General International’s 2020 agenda, will be rescheduled for 2021. The Superior Councils shall kindly propose new dates to President General.
- 7 – NEW INTERNATIONAL HEAD OFFICE
The official opening of the new headquarters in Paris, scheduled for September 12th, 2020, will take place at a later date (to be announced).
- 8 – PARIS’ STAFF
With a view to protecting the health of the employees at the general headquarters in Paris, logistics and coordination will be monitored by the CGI’s Secretary General, sister Marie-Françoise Salesiani-Payet, in compliance with the guidelines set by the French Government.
- 9 – MEDAL AND AGREEMENTS
The “Charity in Hope” Medal, to be awarded to the Jesuit Refugee Service, and the institutional agreements to be signed with the “Sovereign Order of Malta” and the “International Formation Center” (CIF) of the Congregation of the Mission are postponed until further notice.
- 10 – COMMUNICATION & TRAINING/FORMATION
The CGI’s communication services (website, online magazine Ozanam Network, newsletters, emails and social networks) as well as our training/formation online resources will be reinforced and enhanced during this pandemic period.
- 11 – CIAD’s EXCEPTIONAL SUPPORT
The Commission for International Aid and Development (CIAD), under the leadership of the Council General International, is making available an initial sum of € 50,000 to support countries undertaking projects to battle this pandemic, namely distribution of masks, products and health protection equipment to people in need.
- 12 – TWINING’s AND FIS’ ADDITIONAL SUPPORT
The Twining Committee and the Fund for International Solidarity (FIS) will also expedite the allocation of resources and the approval-process of social projects organised by the Superior Councils, especially those focused on the people most affected by the coronavirus.
- 13 –AMIN DE TARRAZI FOUNDATION’s SUBSCRIPTIONS
The deadline for acquisition of new shares by the Superior Councils in the Amin de Tarrazi Foundation (a joint venture created to enable the purchase of our new headquarters at 65, Rue de la Glacière, in Paris) is extended to 31 October 2020. Superior Councils are reminded to consider responding to the request of the Council General when an opportunity arises. The Treasurer General will be pleased to provide all necessary information.
- 14 – PROSPECTIVE EXTENSION OF TERMS OF OFFICE
Those Superior Councils having problems during this period in holding elections for the office of national presidents, as well as the appointment of new leaders, may exceptionally request the Council General to briefly extend the current terms of office, pursuant to Basic Requirement # 11 of the International Rule.
- 15 – YEAR OF FÉLIX CLAVÉ
With regard to the International Themed Year of Félix Clavé, all deadlines set remain unchanged: essays will be submitted until 8th July; the result will be announced on 8 September, and the solemn closing will take place on 8 December.
In prayer and united in faith, we deeply mourn the loss of all precious lives caused by this pandemic. We pray to Lord to deliver us from evil.
At this difficult time, the whole SSVP’s Council General International stands by the Superior Councils, the Vincentian Family and all SSVP members in the world.
Those Superior Councils with financial resources are prompted to make additional donations to the Council General (the Fund for International Solidarity, the CIAD and the Twining Committee) in order to join our international efforts, at this difficult time, with special emphasis on helping the poorest countries.
May mankind get back to normal soon, and may those most affected – the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, the homeless and the sick – find the strength to overcome the hardship arising from Covid-19.
Trusting in Divine Providence, we are sure that we will come out of this crisis soon, that this situation will result in a stronger, more united and more supportive mankind, and that our members worldwide, inspired by our Vincentian values, will do their part in this recovery.
In Clavé and Bl. Antoine-Frederic Ozanam,
Brother Renato Lima de Oliveira
16th President General