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20 April 2012 | 15:38



On 12 April last,  Stefan Vanistaendel, sociologist and researcher for BICE, and Dr Michel Manciaux spoke at a conference on  resilience, part of a series of conferences entitled « Childhood and the Search for Meaning » organised by BICE and the Institut Catholique de Paris.

Professeur Manciaux (Nancy) began by outlining growing trends from which resilience has emerged, based on three converging trends: the observation of human life, either from a clinical or a non-professional standpoint, secular literature such as novels or biographies, and scientific theory. It is interesting to note that stories of resilience – without mentioning the term – abound in world literature, especially in difficult periods of history, such as for example in Charles Dickens.

The importance of children’s attachment has been developed by Michel Manciaux, who emphasizes the fact that human fragility can become a vital force if it is harnessed. He insists on the importance of ethics in daily life, ending on Ricoeur’s notion of ethical aim: « The aim of a good life, with and for others, within just institutions ».

Stefan Vanistendael of BICE in Geneva pursued the idea, explaining that resilience can be observed in all walks of life. He developed the importance of viewing others in terms of their potential and personal resources, beyond their problems. A pragmatic way to search for meaning, an essential factor in resilience, lies in exploring all the positive ties, however small, which exist between a person and the world around him: life stories, adapted responsibilities, projects, beauty or christian spirituality, which is itself an invitation to connect more proufoundly to life.

If you would like to learn more about resilience, we invite you to read Stefan Vanistaendel’s work, published by BICE : Children’s rights and resilience, Resilience or the Realism of hope, Resilience and Spirituality.

The next conference in the series « Childhood and the Search for Meaning » will take place on Thursday 7 June, 2012, at the Institut Catholique de Paris, and will describe a compared vision of childhood from a Christian and Buddhist viewpoint.

To learn more »