The solemn inauguration of the Academic Year 2021-2022 took place on the morning of Friday, 1 October 2021, at the Maurice Borrmans Library of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI). In the presence of the entire academic community, the President of the Institute, Prof. Diego Sarrió Cucarella, M.Afr., gave a brief welcome and address, which was followed by the greeting of the Vice Grand Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Stanley Lubungo, Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa. Prof. Alessandro Saggioro, professor of History of Religions at the Sapienza University of Rome, then offered a Lectio inauguralis entitled Ideas of Peace in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern World, a theme that stimulated interest and questions among those present.
The event concluded with the celebration of Holy Mass in the church of S. Francesco a Ripa presided over by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. In his homily, Cardinal Sandri recalled how “going out to meet the other, who remains for us a brother” is “the engine and the source” of the identity of PISAI. But going out to meet the other also means “identifying with his experience, studying what he studies, delving into the texts that are at the basis of his religious experience, allowing oneself to be questioned by his way of seeking and honoring God”. This is exactly what some important Christian witnesses have done, the Cardinal recalled, including Blessed Charles de Foucauld, the Blessed Martyrs of Algeria or the priest of the Church of Rome Don Andrea Santoro.