“Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay” Pastoral care with migrants and refugees

Scalabrini International Migration Institute - Training course 18-21 September 2023 (online and in presence)

On the occasion of, and in preparation for, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, to be celebrated on September 24, 2023, we are pleased to announce the opening of registration for the training course "Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay" Pastoral care with migrants and refugees (September 18-21, 2023, 11:00 am-2:00 pm Rome time).

Organized by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) and the Scalabrini International Migration Institute (SIMI) and promoted by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the course is aimed at religious women who wish to learn more about the issues or want to be trained to serve migrants, refugees and/or asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, victims of trafficking, itinerants and their families. The training sessions will introduce the phenomenology of the migratory phenomenon, the international legal framework of human rights and will focus on the responses that the Church can provide: click here to download the draft program.

The course, which will be held in person at the headquarters of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (Palazzo San Callisto, Piazza di San Callisto, Rome), is open to a maximum of 45 participants and 300 online. Depending on availability, registration requests will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.

September 18-21, 2023, 11:00 am-2:00 pm Rome time

in presence and online

Headquarters of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development - Palazzo San Callisto, Piazza di San Callisto, Rome


Registration link available here

The course is open to a maximum of 45 participants and 300 online. Depending on availability, registration requests will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.




Julia G. Young


Dr. Young is a historian of migration, Mexico and Latin America, and Catholicism in the Americas. Dr. Young has been a fellow at the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, as well as the Institute for Policy Research at Catholic University. In 2020-2021, she was a fellow at the Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs. She has published scholarly articles in The AmericasThe Catholic Historical ReviewMexican Studies/Estudios MexicanosModernism, and the Journal on Migration and Human Security. She is the author of the prize-winning book, Mexican Exodus: Emigrants, Exiles, and Refugees of the Cristero War (Oxford University Press, 2015). She co-edited Local Church, Global Church: Catholic Activism in Latin America from Rerum Novarum to Vatican II (The Catholic University of America Press, 2015).




Gabriele Beltrami

Fr. Gabriele Beltrami was born in Rome on 14 November 1970. During his university studies in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, thanks to his increasing awareness of the world of human migration and the Church's commitment to it, he matured his missionary vocation and in 1995 entered the Congregation of the Missionaries of Saint Charles - Scalabrinians. After studying Philosophy and Theology and specialising in Ecclesiology, he is ordained priest on 16 September 2006 and, after three years of an intercultural pastoral activity in Switzerland, he is called to undertake studies in Social Communication Sciences in view of a new assignment in the nascent Communication area of his institute, which he led for over ten years. 





Alessia Puddu


Psychologist, psychotherapist with an integrated relational approach, familiar mediator, she is an expert in ethnopsychology and developmental and adult psychodiagnostics. Member and manager of the reception desk and internships in ETNA, she has been involved for years in psychological support for migrant and adoptive families, political refugees and unaccompanied minors. She has been invited in many congresses, seminars and courses in this topic . She has collaborated on the matter with the University of Cagliari, with the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital, with the Opera Don Calabria and with Defense for children. In her private practice she deals with teenagers, adults, families and couples coming from different part of the words.






Cheryl Lee Chan

Cheryl Lee is a former consultant with the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei.  Her passion for migrant advocacy, comes from her deep solidarity with the poor and marginalised. She holds an MA degree, majoring in Pastoral Studies, from the Ateneo de Manila University and has undergone the Scalabrini Migration Center “EXODUS” Training Program, in Philippines. She has actively worked with vulnerable migrants/refugees in Malaysia through the Malaysian Office of Human Development, in her short mission stints in Philippines, Cambodia, Cairo and Rome and soon, in her new home, Melbourne, Australia.



Regina Polak

Assoc.-Prof. Dr. Regina Polak, MAS was born in Vienna 1967 and studied Catholic theology, philosophy and „Spiritual Theology in the interreligious process“ in Vienna and Salzburg. She is head of the Department for Practical Theology at the Catholic-Theological Faculty of the University of Vienna. Her research foci are religion and migration, socioreligious transformation in Europe, interreligious dialogue and challneges fort he Church in Europe. She is also the theological advisor oft he migration Commission oft he German Bishops‘ Conference and Personal Representative of the OSCE on Combating racism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance against Christians and members of other religions.  

Gioacchino Campese

Gioacchino Campese  is Scalabrinian missionary and Professor of Pastoral Theology of Human Mobility at theFaculty of Theology of the Pontifical Urbanian University. 
He studied theology in Manila (Philippines), Chicago (USA) and Rome where he obtained a doctorate in missiology. He has written and edited several books and articles on the theology of migration. He has done pastoral work with migrants and refugees in Mexico, USA and Italy.



Claudia Bonamini

Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at Jesuit Refugee Service Europe. She hold a EIUC E.MA master’s degree in human rights and democratization and she attended the Gradute Study Programme in Human Rights at the United Nations Office at Geneva.


Víctor Genina

Victor Genina is a specialist in international migration. He graduated from El Colegio de México with a thesis on the resurgence of nativism and historical patterns of xenophobia in the United States. He holds a Master's degree in Political Science from the New School of Social Research in New York and a PhD in Political Philosophy from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).


Oliviero Forti

Oliviero Forti, a law graduate from La Sapienza University in Rome, is currently head of the Migration Policies and International Protection Office of Caritas Italiana. He has been dealing with human mobility issues for over 20 years, first as a researcher and consultant for several Italian universities, then engaging in institutional and advocacy activities at national and international level. He has since written numerous articles and publications on the phenomenon of immigration and international protection. He worked at the European Commission for the establishment of the European Migration Network. More recently, he promoted the 'MigraMed' network through the involvement of Caritas in Mediterranean countries committed to human mobility. He is currently involved in the implementation of humanitarian operations from Africa and the Middle East.


Andrea Marchesani

Andrea Marchesani is Italian and a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. He graduated in Political Science and International Relations at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. He also has a masters degree in Business Management from the Regent’s University in London. Choosing the Universal Church over the private sector, he first served in the Permanent Mission of the Holy See at the United Nations Office in Geneva. He joined the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Holy See in September 2018, where he coordinated the Research Office until January 2023. With the integration of the Section within the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development of the Holy See he became a member of the Research Section where he is the responsible for migration, refugees and human trafficking. He also serves as External Advisor for the Foreign Affairs Office of the Order of Malta regarding migration, human trafficking, issues in the digital world, and human rights.


Aldo Skoda

Aldo Skoda is a Member of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles (Scalabrinians). After completing his studies in Philosophy and Theology with a Licentiate in Christian Anthropology, he graduated in Psychology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and obtained a Doctorate in Pastoral Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. Skoda is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Human Mobility at the Pontifical Urbanian University; Executive Director of SIMI, an institute specialising in interdisciplinary research and training on migration; Director for Europe and Africa of SIMN, an organisation that supports, promotes and coordinates the socio-pastoral action of the Scalabrinian Missionaries globally.



Genobeba Amaral & Marides Santos

Members of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit;  Genobeba Amaral has a formation in Law and a specialization in “peace building and reconciliation”. From  2017-2019 she was assigned to the VIVAT International Indonesia secretariat office in Jakarta as executive secretary. From 2020 she is entrusted as the director of VIVAT International Indonesia in Matraman-East Jakarta.
Marides Santos is accountant by profession. She worked among marginalized communities, particularly Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines. She functioned as the Executive Secretary of the South-Central Luzon Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples (CBCP-ECIP) and was serving as SSpS Congregational Communications Coordinator based in Rome, Italy.  Currently, as part of the Executive Team of VIVAT International in New York, her areas of advocacy at the UN focus on Women and Girls, Migrants and Refugees, Poverty Eradication, and Financing for Development.

24 August 2023