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Don Guillermo Basañes

Don Guillermo Basañes was born in Washington DC from an Argentinian family. His first encounter with the Salesians of Don Bosco was in Buenos Aires, where he attended a school of theirs for 12 years.
On January 31, 1986, he became a Salesian himself. After an initial educational and pastoral period in Buenos Aires and in the Tierra del Fuego, he then left for Angola, Africa, as a missionary. He later moved to Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, where he continued to study theology. On August 12, 1995, he was ordained priest in Argentina, but he immediately returned to Angola where he became involved in organizing educational activities for the youth. At the same time, he kept studying to better serve his mission, and subsequently obtained a Licence in Educational Psychology from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome. For two years - 2006 and 2007 - he was a Salesian Inspector in Angola, and a teacher at the Higher Institute of Pedagogy and Philosophy in Luanda and in the Province of Cabinda. In 2008 the General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation appointed him General Councillor for Africa, i.e. the person in charge for all the Don Bosco Missions in the 38 sub-Saharan Countries. During such time, he consolidated the presence and prestige of Salesians in Africa, significantly improving their leadership in the Continent.
Since 2014, he has been the General Councillor for the Missions. In this role, he has strongly supported the Salesians’ European Project, which aims at promoting the inclusion of young non-European missionaries into the Mission.
Don Guillermo Basañes strived to bring the Salesians to two Countries where they were not present: Malaysia and Gambia. He was also committed in a project aimed at developing a new international collaboration for the South Sudan refugees in the north of Uganda.

Reasons for assigning the Award

For over 150 years - and for 60 years in Alcamo - Salesians have successfully accomplished their mission around the globe, particularly in the field of education. After overcoming several initial difficulties, they have focused on many needs of the society, contributing to relieving the poor people’s suffering and to their emancipation. In fact, thanks to the two pillars of their system, i.e. their schools and oratories, they have educated hundreds of thousands of young people, with the objective of fostering the moral and civil growth of the youth. Through their missionaries worldwide, the Salesians courageously speak up, bringing to the forefront the needs of the voiceless classes. In this respect, Councillor General for the Missions, Fr. Guillermo Basañes, has always acted concretely under the guidance of spiritual ideals in order to pursue justice and peace, with the goal to build a more human society that should be able to respect each person’s dignity.

Conferimento Premio Internazionale per la Cultura "Vissi d'Arte Città di Alcamo"

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