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Countries lose young people to global markets

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A Web-only photo by Igor Speretto, WCC

Youth gather in worship during the World Council of Churches assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

March 1, 2006

By Maurice Malanes* 

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (ENI) — Young people from developing countries are losing the means to be citizens in their own countries due to commercialized education, which stresses producing graduates for the global market, according to church and youth leaders gathered in Brazil.

“ Young people are losing meaning in their lives and losing what it means to be citizens in their own country. This is because of a kind of education geared towards producing graduates for the large machine of globalization,” said the Rev. Romeo del Rosario, a United Methodist and president of the Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines. Del Rosario spoke to participants at a side meeting on the final day of the Feb. 14-23 World Council of Churches 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre.

He cited not only young people who take up nursing so they can go to the United States, Canada, Britain and other developed countries, but also young people studying in seminaries that train clergy. One-tenth of the Philippines’ 88 million people work overseas, Del Rosario said, citing figures from the labor and employment department.

“ As a pastor, I teach my students to serve their country, but the drive of many young people to work overseas is really strong,” he said.

British educator Ruth Conway, who works for Anglican and Methodist programs, also complained about some universities in both developed and developing countries serving the corporate interests of multinational companies.

She explained how some universities in Britain, in coordination with other institutions in developing countries, have become the research arms of pharmaceutical companies researching and developing new drugs and genetically modified organisms.

The corporate mindset has also infested many churches, according to youth leader Ferdinand Pahtrose of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in India. “Some churches see prospective ?converts’ as ?clients,’ as if they are selling some kind of goods,” said the
seminary student, without naming any denomination.

“ So the challenge for us, seminary students, is to help push for a spirituality that promotes respect for human dignity and develops human relations based on the sanctity of the human being, not based on commercial criteria or interests,” Pahtrose added.

Reflecting on the WCC’s assembly theme, “God, in your grace, transform the world,” Pahtrose said the world that globalization has now engulfed could be transformed “through God’s grace and through the internal transformation of

*This article was distributed by Ecumenical News International.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or

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