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EoC: gazes that create and reconstruct

The European Economy of Communion Congress in Baar, Switzerland ended yesterday. The videos of all of the plenary talks are available here.

by Antonella Ferrucci

161021 23 Baar Congresso EdC 13 ridThere were a hundred "EoC actors" who gathered in Baar for the sixth European EoC Congress: 14 countries were represented (France, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Serbia, Croatia, Germany, Spain, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Russia) with a lively representation of young people.

Two and a half intense days of encounter: there was an alternation of regular updates of the state of the EoC today in the various countries represented (the "EoC worldwide") and the themes on the new frontiers of reflection on the Economy of Communion and workshops on specific topics. The morning began with the rolling of the Company Cube that led to the motto of the day.

In the first part of the morning Luca Crivelli brought up an interesting theme on new forms of Social Business, 161021 23 Baar Congresso EdC 02 ridpointing out some cues of interest for the EoC today, at 25 years from its launch, in a world that's very different from that of '91 when examined from this aspect. After that, four young Portuguese participants presented the Raise Project and the Bootcamp held in Portugal, the first local realisation of the Eoc-iin project launched this past March. In the afternoon, EoC updates were shared from around the world and the first round of specific workshops took place.

On Saturday morning, after a brief exchange about the experiences of the previous day and the rolling of the Cube ("Building relationships with all"), Herbert Lauenroth held an interesting presentation on mercy applied to economic and political life. It was followed by testimonials on mercy "as management style": a way of maintaining relationships with employees, 161021 23 Baar Congresso EdC Anouk 08 ridcustomers and suppliers that works at the very heart of people, transforming them, pulling off the best of themselves from them, especially when they are given a "second chance" or granted confidence even if all advice is against it. Providence's answers to this "reckless trust" are often surprising, and give life to real "little EoC flowers". ( See theme in French)

Assigned to deal with the logic of gift and gratuity in the company, Anouk Grevin spoke of gazes: they can "see" the gift in the work of the employees, they can "recognize" it since they know how to express "recognition" for a free act that no-one can buy. She talked about the gazes of mercy capable of putting each and every one in a position to give their best, because they feel the other's trust and manage to express themselves without the fear of making mistakes. One of the greatest wealth of the EoC companies are these gazes that bring many-many fruits: The EoC's task is not "bringing the gift" into the world, - the gift is already there, everywhere - but bringing the right glasses to see it.

On Sunday morning Luigino Bruni concluded the conference with a speech on the perspectives of the 161021 23 Baar Congresso EdC 11 ridEoC today. Just like in a relay race, today there are three generations in the EoC racing together - apart from those "in heaven", none of the of the 91 pioneers has quit - and we are in a very delicate moment of the passing on of the witness, the witness that's the original gaze of Chiara Lubich on poverty that provided the foundations for the charismatic questions of the EoC. Of the early days of Chiara's life in Trent with her first companions it is remembered that the focolarinas invited the poor to lunch at their house, using the most beautiful tablecloths and dishes and they sat together at the table, a focolarina and a poor person. Our first way of curing poverty, even before donating the profits, is to bring it inside the house (by including the poor person in our companies as the first thing) and love it with "gestures of beauty".

Another crucially important step in our time is imitating the intelligence of plants with our EoC companies. Plants, unlike animals, have not developed specialized organs (a brain, a heart, lungs...) but "breathe", "communicate" and "feel" with every part of their body: for this reason in the case of problematic events, a small part surviving is enough for the whole plant to able to start over again. From vulnerability and an infinite slowness due to the condition of not being able to move, plants have produced an infinite resilience. One of the strengths of the EoC in the past few years has been its resilience: that it has been breathing with its entire body, it had no individuals to direct it, but many active members and each person 161021 23 Baar Congresso EdC 04 ridhas felt that everything depended on him or her. In fact, in our companies, the EoC is strong when there is the same energy in every worker of the enterprise. During a generation change, if a company focuses too much on cultural heritage of the entrepreneur alone, when that person leaves, the EoC dies. So how should we create the EoC culture in our businesses and how should we ensure that it is preserved over time? Efforts are needed to give birth to innovative forms of governance that express the EoC, even by differing from traditional forms of enterprise, as it happened with the birth of cooperatives. It is a process, a deliberate project in which we can engage in the next few years to reach the 50th anniversary alive and strong in 2041.

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