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Croatian alumna pursues international cooperation

Alumna Marina Šijaković, head of the Center for Fostering the Wellbeing of Vulnerable Persons of the Catholic University of Croatia, shares about her efforts to build connections with other safeguarding organizations.

A meeting between members of the Center for the Fostering the Wellbeing of Vulnerable Persons and Maria Rudan, head of the Human Dignity Strategy, which works with Hungarian religious communities, was held at the Catholic University of Croatia (CUC) on 22 and 23 March. Created in 2020, the Strategy's main mission is protecting human dignity — of children and vulnerable adults, in particular — in cooperation with the religious orders of Hungary. Among its goals are the creation of support systems, common safeguarding standards, and training programs, and the further articulation of a Christian understanding of the human person.

My colleague Dr. Josip Bošnjaković and I met Mrs. Rudan at the International Conference on the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults in Central and Eastern Europe "Our Common Mission in the Protection of the Children of God", held in Warsaw from 19 to 22 September 2021, organized by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the Polish Bishops' Conference.

On the first day of our meeting, the rector of the CUC, Dr. Željko Tanjić, joined us and expressed his wholehearted support for international cooperation when it comes to such an important topic.

The two-day meeting was rich in mutual inquiries about strategies for working in the field of safeguarding and with the exchange of experiences, such as dealing with resistance to the topic of safeguarding in post-communist societies and Church institutions and organizations.

We also explored opportunities for future cooperation. Some possible areas for collaboration include conducting training, translating and publishing resources, sharing information about projects, and developing our organizations.

We look forward to working together to protect the dignity and promote the wellbeing of all vulnerable persons.