The Campus Capacitas in Valencia obtains the Gravissimum Educationis Award

On June 22, 2021, the Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, presented in Valencia, Spain, the Gravissimum Educationis Award of the Holy See to the Campus Capacitas of the Catholic University of Valencia (UCV) in a solemn academic act that served as a gesture of institutional recognition for the educational work of the university and the high value that disability has for the Vatican.

The session was attended by the Cardinal Archbishop of Valencia, Antonio Cañizares, Guy-Réal Thivierge, secretary general of the Gravissimus Educacionis Foundation, the rector of the UCV, José Manuel Pagán, as well as members of the Board of Trustees and the Governing Council.

During the celebration, Monsignor Versaldi highlighted the “testimony of scientific rigor and ethical sense” of the UCV for disability and inclusion, and expressed his hope that the educational entity renews the spirit of its mission and launches it to “new scientific and educational horizons, of commitment to science and man”. In this sense, he referred to the Valencian university as a “truly Catholic university, capable of producing a true cultural revolution”.

The Vatican’s head of Catholic Education indicated that this award fulfills one of the specific purposes of the foundation created by Pope Francis in 2015: “to recognize and highlight the work in the commitment of educational realities that stand out for their testimony of scientific rigor and ethical sense, also for their demonstrated capacity for networking and for having developed new educational models that allow us to demonstrate the Catholic response to the challenges of the contemporary world.” “Capacitas, transversally integrated in this university, is an academic, professional and social reference for people in situations of dependency, their families and the social and professional agents employed in this field. It has made an impact in promoting equal rights and opportunities,” confirmed Versaldi.

The secretary general of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), Francois Mabille, did not want to miss the academic event. He launched a message by remote connection, stating that “addressing access to higher education for people with disabilities is a crucial issue for universities and, in particular, for Catholic universities, in the light of the humanistic values of the Church and its intellectual tradition”. In this regard, Mabille exposed that UCV leads the international observatory inserted in the global project of inclusion launched by IFCU in 2014: “I am very happy about the awarding of this prize to UCV, which is an important recognition not only to a strong intellectual mobilization, but also to a humanistic involvement of this University and which is fully in line with the development of the social responsibility of universities promoted by IFCU“.

For his part, the rector, José Manuel Pagán, has shown his “joy” to see “how that initiative of the Campus Capacitas, strongly promoted by the rector José Alfredo Peris”, is today a “happy and joyful reality” that makes visible the commitment of the UCV “with inclusion, personal autonomy and comprehensive care for people with disabilities and their families”; commitment that has been developed “transversely” in all its centers and areas, “both teaching and research, dissemination and care”. “How important it is to recognize today, at this moment in history, the unique contribution that each person with disabilities makes to the common good. Let us not fail to see in them the presence of Christ himself, to recognize the dignity of every human being, remembering that this does not depend on the functionality of the senses,” he said.