The President of the Mitxelena Association supported the intention of the Mayor of Puente la Reina/Gares to reconsider the rehanging of the European flag in the Town Hall

About twenty representatives from five European adult education institutes met in Pamplona to hold the first face-to-face event of the Erasmus+ project funded by the European Commission, which aims to define the intercultural content and competences that people working in the professional practice of social counselling or coaching should have.

The group sessions and accompanying discussion rounds took place on 15 and 16 September at the Public University of Navarre (UPNA), with the presence and participation of Begoña Pérez Eransus, Vice-Rector for University Projection, Culture and Dissemination at UPNA; Jesús Hernández Aristu, President of the Mitxelena Association and retired professor at this institution; Susanne Rieger, President of the European Association for Supervision and Coaching (EASC); sociologist Josetxo Beriáin and the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of CC. HH.SS and E. Arantza Almoguera, quality coordinator of this centre.

At the first face-to-face meeting after almost a year of work, the delegation discussed the cultures that are fighting for supremacy in the global world and their influence on the daily lives of citizens. Aspects that every person dedicated to supervision and coaching must take into account in the exercise of their profession, acquiring and developing those dialogical skills and competences that facilitate understanding, comprehension and intercultural communication, whether in the economic, business, institutional or interpersonal spheres.

Based on the theoretical premises shared at the conference, the institutes will develop the curricular profile for the training of coaches at postgraduate level, which will be recognised throughout Europe. In Pamplona, the competences for the practice of coaching and supervision were defined. The intercultural perspective is necessary in a continent, Europe, where people from very different countries and situations live: Refugees, migrants and people from other cultures, with a diversity of traditions and cultural realities, some of which coincide and some of which diverge.

After the two working days, the congress participants – from Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Spain – visited a point on the Camino, Puente la Reina / Gares, «as a symbol of building an open and intercultural Europe», according to Hernández Aristu. They visited the pilgrims’ hostel, the crucifix church originally donated by German pilgrims, the hospital where pilgrims were admitted on the way there and back, the defence system, the church of Santiago and the medieval bridge.

Thanks to the explanations of Miguel Pérez, who acted as a guide, the congress participants were able to empathise with the history of the pilgrims who came from their home countries and passed through the same streets.

Re-introduction of the flying of the European flag

The reception by the mayor of the city, Oihan Mendo, was the highlight of the stay in Puente la Reina/Gares. The mayor highlighted the identification of the people of Puente with their town, which is open to welcome and care for pilgrims and pilgrimages, and the responsibility for the community manifested in the work carried out in «auzolán». He praised Mitxelena’s initiative to visit Puente la Reina, as the Way of Saint James that passes through the town is linked to the thousands and thousands of pilgrims who come and have come to Santiago de Compostela from all the Nordic countries.

In this context, he pointed out that they would reconsider raising the European flag on the balcony of the Town Hall, seeing that initiatives such as the meeting that took place in UPNA testify to the fact that in Europe, groups and collectives such as those present here are involved in the construction of Europe through their work and efforts. The flag was withdrawn at the time because the city council felt that the European institutions were not doing enough to welcome refugees.

The President of the Navarre Mitxelena Association thanked the city for welcoming him to its highest political representation in the plenary hall of the city hall and supported the mayor’s intention to reconsider the re-installation of the European flag. «The European Union is not only made up of its institutions, which are sometimes not even ready in the first place to welcome foreigners who are persecuted in their own countries, but also of its citizens, its peoples and regions. The Star Flag, like the Way of the Stars itself, stands for more than 400 million people who see and feel themselves represented by this flag,» he said.

At the end of the event, the mayor presented each member of the delegations from the four countries represented with the red cloth of the Puente la Reina Fiestas. The day ended with a culinary encounter and an Ultreya toast.

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