Two women and three men said “yes” to take over from François Prouteau at the head of Fondacio: Cécile Villegas (France), Kathleen Deckmyn (Belgium), Jérôme Tozé (Benin), Ignacio Rosselot (Chile) and Benoît Vignon ( France). Their names were revealed on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, during a videoconference with all delegates and guests at the Congress. The team of co-presidents will present themselves to the vote of the delegates at the International Congress of Fondacio, at the beginning of May, in Togo.
To switch. This is the challenge that the five co-presidents of Fondacio wish to bring together for the term of office which will begin in May 2023, until 2028. “Switching from one culture to another, leaving more room for a new generation of leaders,” says Marc Fornari, president of the Discernment Support Group (Gad). “Being co-responsible, respecting the principle of subsidiarity… For that, you have to dare to change, with its uncertainties, its bets, its leaps into the void, but also its promises. »
Since the vote on several motions , on January 19, 2023, the Gad has consulted the countries and the Fondacio Council, which have given it their lists of people to form a co-presidency team. This is not a new Fondacio governance body, but a working team that assumes and shares the role and responsibilities of the president. The Gad then organized meetings, individual then collective. “The constitution of the team of co-presidents was a progressive co-construction”, until the announcement, Tuesday, of a “ quintet” of co-presidents . This team will present itself to the vote of the delegates at the International Congress of Fondacio, from April 29 to May 5, in Togo.
Criteria for selecting co-chairs
The Gad took into account several criteria to form this team:
- Complementarity of experiences and skills;
- Diversity of cultures and ages;
- Gender balance;
- Ease and desire to work together;
- And finally, openness to the international dimension of Fondacio.
Thus, it was Cécile Villegas (France), Kathleen Deckmyn (Belgium), Benoît Vignon (France), Jérôme Tozé (Benin) and Ignacio Rosselot (Chile) who, together, said “yes” to the co-chairmanship project. To be elected, this team will have to collect two-thirds of the votes of a hundred delegates from the 23 countries where Fondacio is present. A consultation will also take place for the Board of Fondacio and its ratification. The president of Gad stresses: “We are therefore at an important stage today, but the process is continuing. Each co-chair took the floor to introduce themselves.
Cécile Villegas first. This 30-year-old architect by training crossed paths with Fondacio in 2017, during a civic service in Chile: “This trip, which was supposed to be a one-year break, was a decisive four-year shift. I was left free to set up the project that was close to my heart, I was trusted and given responsibilities. I found meaning in my work and discovered Fondacio’s charisma. » Cécile and her Chilean husband moved to France two years ago. She integrated the third place of the Hermitage and became co-responsible. “I am therefore the proof that, in Fondacio, we give space to young people, regardless of their experience… I am very grateful for that. »
Cécile has also been working for the globality for two years. “It allowed me to get close to the different realities of Fondacio around the world. Today is a new stage in my adventure with Fondacio and with Christ. I have been asked to be part of this co-presidency team and I am here, in front of you, to say yes! Because when the Lord proposes such an adventure, He accompanies us and carries us. Working with Kathleen, Benoît, Jérôme and Nacho gives me a lot of momentum. Not everything will be easy: we don’t know what awaits us and many things remain to be clarified. What is certain is that I am available and ready to listen to give Fondacio momentum towards a flayed world, which requires that we invest our lives to make it more beautiful, even if it is only a drop in the ocean. »
Kathleen Deckmyn , 62, has been a member of Fondacio in Belgium since 2014. She lived for more than twenty-five years in the Philippines, where she was in charge of development projects for a Belgian non-governmental organization (NGO). This agricultural engineer by training, specializing in soil sciences, tropical agriculture and agroecology, has been a member of the quartet of the Belgian Council for three years. “This co-responsibility experience is very rewarding and avoids the heaviness of solo responsibility,” she appreciates.
“I did not expect to be called up to Fondacio’s presidential team. What a surprise ! My first reaction was to be both enthusiastic and completely terrified. I listened to the Holy Spirit. I feel the call to care for and serve the people of Fondacio, one and diverse. The spirituality of Fondacio joins me. She is the gift that God has given us to share his Love, especially with the most fragile. This is my base and my priority. Integral ecology is also rooted in me. As Pope Francis said in Laudato Si: everything is linked, everything is given and everything is fragile. »
Benoît Vignon , 38, has been a permanent employee at Fondacio for twelve years. Trained as a physiotherapist, he contributed for eight years to the Board of Fondacio France, of which he was also co-chairman for two years, alongside Marianne de Boisredon. He has been co-responsible for the third place of the Hermitage for four years. He testifies to what drives him: “I was lucky enough to be sent by Fondacio to train in collective intelligence and organizational coaching. This opened me up a lot to the issues of how to function, how to work together while leaving room for everyone. I believe that Fondacio carries within it something of innovation for the world and for the Church. »
“Fondacio has something to offer, like a path of novelties for the world and for the Church. As a charismatic community, we have to bear witness to this life in the Spirit of Christians who deeply believe that Christ is risen and that this transforms life. This is not only done through our projects, our sessions, our community life, but also through our way of being together, of governing our institutions, of looking for money… This is one of the things that lives and who perhaps pushed me to dare to say yes to the call to contribute to this team, so that at the level of the whole, we can experience this shift together. »
Jérôme Tozé , 51, is a volunteer on the Board of Fondacio in the term of office which is ending. This Beninese media professional and entrepreneur “has accumulated twenty years in individual support”, especially in youth and family pastoral work. The goal: “to raise up in Benin and in Africa potential leaders who are rooted in a real, conscious relational commitment, both family and pastoral and citizen. It has given me, in recent years, wings in my desire to move forward to take care of myself and the relationship. »
“What I carry in this yes to being part of the co-presidency team is first of all the surprise of discovering this call. I take the measure that it is a new adventure and a leap into the void with a major change in the mode of governance. But it is not primarily my skills, my weaknesses or my limitations that matter to God. This is my heart and how I come to Him. With the other members, I was joined in the momentum that there is both a historical line that can be a force to transform and above all a renewed vitality and energy, turned towards the mission. I am invited to contribute to making a shift for Fondacio as a whole. »
Ignacio Rosselot , 62-year-old Chilean, has been a member of Fondacio since 1980 and a permanent member since 1985. “I have had various commitments in pastoral care, evangelization and service to the most vulnerable through the practice of medicine” , presents he. Ignacio Rosselot participated in the creation of the Cristo Vive Foundation in Chile. He was responsible for Fondacio in this country and spent twelve years in France, during which he worked to structure and promote the social mission, was vice-president of the association in 2004 then president from 2008. “A rich human experience, but also very hard. We had to deal with a governance crisis. »
Returning to Chile at the end of his term, he took over the management of the Cristo Vive foundation, of which he was executive vice-president until December 2022. Member of the Board of Fondacio, he agreed to be available for a shared presidency. “However, to be able to give a clear yes, I need to be convinced that Fondacio really wants to continue to walk as one community with global governance. Why and for what do we want to walk together in the years to come? Thus, in a collective project, with the four people who preceded me and with the whole community, yes, I am ready to associate myself and bring my experience and my abilities, to accompany new generations to open up and lead new ways. Yes, I believe in Fondacio and in the hope that calls us together. »
” THANKS ! »
Following these five presentations, François Prouteau, current president of Fondacio, shared his gratitude “for your testimony, for your yes to being available. I am very touched. Many thanks to the Gad, who didn’t finish his job, but did a good part of it. This quintet of co-presidents is joyful. It is the expression of this community which grows in its co-responsibility and which allows itself to be guided by God. »
Other delegates also expressed their gratitude and encouragement to the team of co-chairs. Laurence Guérid (France): “I am very touched by your five testimonials, by your experiences in or outside Fondacio, by your faith which transpires… It pleases me to see Fondacio leave for five years with a team like that. THANKS ! Ferdinand Adindjita (Togo): “It’s beautiful, it’s magnificent, we are behind you. The adventure will be beautiful, thank you! »
Olga Lucia Benavides (Colombia) expressed her joy “to feel the diversity of the team of co-presidents who invite us to walk together. I give thanks for your availability and willingness to take this leap into the void, to enter into this governance together. Indeed, we can revive new inspiring ways of doing things. » Finally, Jason Chan (Asia) highlighted a “ Real diversity , with younger people. It’s wonderful to see that different continents are represented. »