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Scholas Occurrentes

Bringing together students from over 400000 education centers in 190 countries to listen to each other’s stories.

Scholas Occurrentes is an international organization present in five continents through its extensive educational networks. Its mission is to create the Culture of Encounter; by bringing young people together from diverse backgrounds in an education experience that generates understanding across the globe.

HundrED 2021


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2021


Web presence






Target group
December 2019
Our utopia, that of all of us who are part of Scholas, is to create a Culture of the Encounter by means of this education

About the innovation

Creating a Culture of Encounter

About Us

Since the beginning, Pope Francis imagined Scholas as the possibility to offer a concrete answer to the calling of this time, entrusting it the task of teaching based on the openness to others, on listening and gathering the pieces of a divided world and devoid of meaning, to create a new culture, the Culture of Encounter.

"Culture of the encounter" is a call to encouraging people to be fearless in the ways they look beyond themselves to the needs of others.

Today, 21 years after the first experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina, dreamed by the then archbishop of the city, Jorge Bergoglio- now Pope Francis-, and six years after its first steps in this world, Scholas is set up as an International Organization of Pontifical Right with offices in Argentina, Vatican City, Colombia, Spain, Haiti, Italy, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Romania, Japan and Chile, and is present in 190 countries through its network, integrating over four hundred thousand education centers and reaching to over a million children and youngsters across the world.

The story of its origin

At the early XXI century, Argentina with its then archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, was immersed in a deep social, political and economic crisis which resulted in death, poverty and a universal cry “may they all just go away”. In the midst of chaos and hopelessness disguised as absolute indifference, Bergoglio gathered teachers José María del Corral and Enrique Palmeyro and gave them the mission to listen to the hearts of the young, because a new culture can only be born from there, from their pains. This proposal transformed diversity into its greatest asset, bearer of trust and beauty.

They formed the first group of students from Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Evangelic schools both public and private, including members from diverse neighborhoods of the city who identified the education system as the source of their main pain, since they considered education was detached from their lives. However, this group of teenagers decided not to give up or get stagnated in complaints, they therefore submitted before the legislature a proposal that was unanimously voted became Law 2.169 “Buenos Aires, Educational City”.

This original group of 70 ended the year with seven thousand teenagers, who, without knowing, gave origin to Scholas.

Pedagogic Thinking

“Scholas senses that that is what education is about. An education that opens up a door to the unknown, which takes us to those places where waters haven’t split yet, so that from there we can dream about new paths” - Pope Francis

Scholas is a call to listen to life, so that from there we can create a culture to celebrate it. It’s education that teaches to find oneself and find one another, to grab the sense created in that encounter.

We were taught we should “have” things, acquire knowledge, tools, degrees to “do”, work, produce, prove so that- eventually only a few- we can be someone in life. This equation, besides postponing and conditioning oneself, subjects us to a mold, or category with which either you fit or you are discarded.

Scholas breaks with this logic by educating based on listening the “Being”, that unique and beautiful characteristic that composes what we are, so that “doing” means creation, the expression of oneself, and finally celebrate “having” which since it matches who I am, needs no more or no less.

When Games, Arts and Thinking are capable of listening and expressing this reality, they become Scholas education language, and all its experiences are an attempt to embody this intuition.

Educational experiences

¡See how our innovation can be implemented in your community, in the Steps section!

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Scholas Occurentes facilitates interactions between young people around the world and focuses on listening and building understanding in a world that does not seem to be prioritising these fundamental skills. By empowering students to embrace difference and celebrate similarities they are educating a new generation of compassionate and fulfilled adults.Their online resources allow for easy access.

HundrED Academy Reviews

Has achieved scale & impact across a significant range of counties. Its framework provides opportunities for young people to explore a creative process and then progress further to become educators/coaches providing opportunities for deeper learning/skills development.

What a wonderful programme that has supported so many across the globe. The impact has been monumental and the scalability is unquestionable. A huge difference over the last twenty years to global education.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Scholas Citizenship

“Now that I am unique, I can give myself to others” - Hugo Mujica.

This is the Scholas' founding experience. For six days, between two hundred and four hundred youths from different schools in a same community meet get together to choose two problems that affect them on a daily basis. After deepening the problems, they are responsible for creating solutions that they present to local authorities on the last day.

This experience, the first one of Scholas, has been lived in the last years by more than 25 thousand young people, from countries as diverse as Paraguay, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Palestine, Cuba, United States, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Mozambique. These young people chose and created solutions for problems such as the lack of the education system, discrimination, stereotypes, bullying and cyberbullying, youth suicide, environmental pollution, insecurity, lack of opportunities, youth unemployment and indifference .

Volunteers, teachers and volunteer educators from all over the world have been involved in the implementation of this experience, with the support of governments, international organizations, religious communities, foundations and companies.

Schools of Arts, Games and Thinking

Once having met at Scholas Citizenship, as a founding educational experience in which young people take on their creating capacity and responsibility, this second stage includes the possibility of starting a journey as educators, sharing their passions and learnings with others.

Through the Schools of Arts, Games and Thinking, youngsters discover Scholas pedagogical perspective and learn educational methodologies to implement in their communities.

Therefore, schools become the first step in the exciting world of being a teacher, in which students themselves are capable of recreating educational experiences with younger children in their institutions, with their communities and in other corners of the planet.

Scholas “ ”

“Paradise is not what has been lost, amazement is” - Franz Kafka.

Is it possible in education to open up some time for intensity, for living the present and following one’s heart and not the ticking of the clock? Is it possible to experience education from a genuine standpoint, without ulterior motives and conditions, from a perspective that rather than imposing and stipulating opens up and receives others?

Even though childhood is part of a chronological stage in life, and therefore it’s a stage with a beginning and an end, it’s a moment for living the time and observing reality.

During this three- day experience between 100 and 200 youngsters with different realities get together to live the time, and through the perspective of childhood including games, stories, painting, thinking, writing and photography

they rediscover reality as a donation, recovering the capacity of amazement. The experience, unlike others in Scholas, does not have a specific name; just like a child who finds a carton box- every group of children across the world will give it a different name based on their experiences.

Childhood, in this sense, means the possibility to recover contact with life, sot that as from that point, create our own living in this world.

Scholas Art

“Man dwells poetically on this earth” - Hölderlin

Art has always been the language of human beings to express their deepest contradictions, their most profound feelings, their highest thoughts and most original questions. It’s been the place for knowing oneself and discover the unknown.

Scholas works on different experiences and disciplines based on art. Some of these include:

Scholas Paint

“Let’s forget what we want... let’s allow the painting to happen” - Heriberto Zorilla

The different plastic art experiences underscore the creative process over the result. They share the search for one’s own expression, traces, color, composition and narrative. Creativity is understood as the result of living an experience, an encounter.

The initial question: “what shall we paint?” disappears, to make way for chaos that blocks the repetitive process. The paintings are the result of a journey that- by challenging preestablished stereotypes, symbols and languages-create a crisis in the understanding of oneself and reality, enabling a new interpretation with every work.

Every mural is testimony of the encounter of differences coexisting in the same canvas. It’s a custody of a unique way of seeing reality. It’s the bearer of a new truth, a new meaning.

A Beautiful Move

A beautiful move is a set of exciting, meaningful, charming and beautiful stories. Their characters during their passage through this world move us, leaving their color, their creation, their move…They are inspiring stories that invite us to understand every life as a unique and beautiful work of art.

“A beautiful move” comes in search of a moving life, of any discipline that has been loyal to its passion filling the world with beauty. From a white canvas using lines, shapes and stains, the character portrays its beautiful move. Drawing from this visual stimulus and ignoring their origin, a group of youths gives a new meaning to the move, transforming it into a mural.

The whole experience is documented from a poetical point of view, creating an unprecedented audiovisual work.

Among others, Pope Francis, Maradona, Ronaldinho, René Houseman, Eric Abidal, Fabio Cappello and Hugo Mujica painted their beautiful move.

Scholas Music

In this experience, youths from various neighborhoods and realities get together to compose and record songs to amplify their voice, add music to their histories and lyrics to their dreams. From its beginning in Villa 31 of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the program is aimed at young people between 13 and 21 years of age from different socio-cultural contexts who express a clear artistic inclination. We get together 5 times in travelling recording studios. Youngsters compose a group song; they record it and prepare a video clip.

They experience the two moments of the artistic phenomena, the introspective and creative process, and the exhibition of their work in an annual music show

Scholas Sport

“Sports are important because the teach how to play in a team, sports avoid selfishness, help to escape from being selfish. Therefore, working in teams, studying in teams, going along the road of life in teams is vital. By playing in teams we become better people, better individuals, more ennobled. By playing in teams, competition rather than being a war becomes the seed of peace”. - Pope Francis

The purpose of Scholas is to help young people live their passion by reclaiming the origin of sports and games, and rediscovering it as an education path and school for life. Sports help develop the social aspects of beings, teaches how to play with others and to prioritize common good over one’s own good. By means of different methodologies, Scholas seeks to give back to sports all its playful and creative dimensions which, through encounters with others, build community.

FutVal and BoxVal

By means of these two experiences, and through several disciplines and sports techniques, the purpose is to generate learning spaces and time to develop values such as resilience, team work, respect, honesty, effort and spirit of solidarity.

FutVal y BoxVal work basically in most vulnerable communities focusing on clubs and sports schools to train the trainers, providing basic elements to practice sports and generating joint work with social stakeholders to favor comprehensive development of children and youths in the community.

Scholas Sports Works with 109 soccer clubs and schools in Argentina, Paraguay, Mexico, Colombia, Mozambique, Italy and Spain. Over 363 professors and 10 thousand children attended the training workshops.

Scholas Surf

This experience is an invitation to “go back to surfing”. Envisaged as something more than just a sport, surf was born as a rite, as the spiritual practice of a community. It represents the possibility of being submerged in the chaos of the ocean and flowing with its evolution. It means being nature with nature.

Surf represents the uncertainty and immediacy dimensions of life.

The ocean is the surfer’s book, the surf board is his pen and every wave represents a poem.

On the one hand, Scholas offers a return to the connection with the ocean that transcends us, and while discovering we are part of a whole, we are saved from isolation, and on the other, we reconnect with our senses and harmonize mind, body and spirit to be in touch with ourselves and all mankind.

Scholas Tofo, Mozambique Surf Club marked the beginning of this experience, and today, besides teaching surf, there are spaces for artistic expression and social care to move children away from alcohol, drugs and delinquency. Today, in Tofo, Scholas represents a place of belonging for kids in a town that lacked places for encounter and be physically and spiritually nurtured.

Scholas Technology


Platform that enables communication and cooperation among education institutions of all levels and cultures to promote the Culture of Encounter. It supports innovative and transforming education projects. 446283 schools and institutions from 190 countries are currently part of this network that supports 541 projects.


Scholas labs is an experience that brings together students and entrepreneurs to create solutions for the most urgent needs in a community. The main working pillars are Scholas Labs Jam and Scholas Labs Incubation Program.

Scholas Labs Jam is a voluntary activity for youths who are passionate about innovation and takes place in different countries during a whole weekend. For 48 hours, educators, developers, designers, businessmen and professionals of all fields get together to create services and models to solve community problems.

Scholas Labs Incubation Program is a coaching process for young people between 16 and 18 years of age during an entrepreneurial journey. Throughout this journey, a context with diverse thinking is generated, and tools and resources are proposed to provide concrete solutions to the challenges identified and, therefore, re- create the community.

Scholas Laudato

For an education connected to the land, its fruits and the communities that depend on it. The world is indebted to conceive an education that incorporates sustainability as a fundamental dimension. Scholas seeks to encourage citizen participation of young people in the light of environmental ethics, in other words, in the care of the "common home".

The area of ​​Scholas Laudato involves education and ecology, or in other words, the care of the “common house”, a concept inspired by the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si ́, from which this area takes not only its name but the principles and values ​​in it described.

The reestablishment of the educational pact in the current times cannot be considered without incorporating the issue of environmental protection and less without the collective awareness it implies. It is necessary to promote and encourage the culture of the encounter that goes through the return to an education connected to the land, its fruits and the communities that depend on it.

The mission of Scholas Laudato is to promote an inclusive vision of education that incorporates sustainability as a fundamental dimension and fosters citizen participation in the light of environmental ethics.

Among its objectives are to promote the culture of the encounter between students of rural schools and urban schools for dialogue and the ongoing commitment of projects; support and train young people in rural and urban areas to disseminate and promote in their communities pedagogical models of ecological awareness; and Involve young people in the work of caring for the environment beyond urban environmental models, putting them in contact with productive and creative processes in rural areas.


This project brings together students from rural and agro-technical schools to work together for the environment. It puts into practice the creation of agroecological gardens that allow young people and their communities to produce their own food and understand first-hand the cycles of nature and the foundations of healthy eating.


This project, worked in common with the Scout movement, responds with an "Always ready!" to the call of Pope Francis to take care of our "common home". Young people from schools in different socio-economic contexts, and Scout groups, work to cope with the socio-environmental crisis that affects our planet.

Wezum - Youth International Observatory

The experiences of youths through the programs previously described brought about new challenges and learnings relevant to the problems that affect them the most and their causes. In several cases, the initiatives resulting within the framework of these education experiences have been implemented in the local communities making remarkable transformation.

Scholas created Wezum after listening to over 30 thousand youngsters across the world. It’s a youth international observatory aimed at analyzing the deep causes lying behind the main problems affecting teenagers.

Wezum’s primary role is to gather, analyze and disseminate significant information through its platform to develop public policies and social programs, promote commitment of different social stakeholders, and provide data to encourage and favor discussion about ideas taking into account direct and concrete experience from young people from different countries, cultures, religions and socio- economic contexts

Scholas Chairs

Scholas Chairs are spaces for reflection and action connected by a large network where every individual (professors, researchers, students) is enriched by the encounter with others. This is possible thanks to the bonds created among different Universities, schools and projects belonging to Scholas.Social.

Its purposes are to disseminate ideas and pedagogic proposals among the different realities of countries and continents, developing synergies among universities, schools and projects and involving students in this research and deepening process, and to generate activities at the service of the community.

Scholas Chairs currently has a network of 100 universities and 35 observing organizations from 35 countries. This network is present at the Scholas Chairs International Congress, held in 2016 at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican City, in 2017 at the Catholic University of Valencia, Spain and a the Harry Truman Institute of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, in 2018 at the Pontifical Villa of Castelgandolfo, Italy and in 2019 at the Fordham University in New York, United States.

The next one will be in 2021 at the CEU San Pablo University, in Madrid, Spain.

Bonus: What’s up?

“Perhaps the meaning of life lies in feeling life...” - Hugo Mujica.

In every educational experience what we feel about what we do is more important than what we actually do.

What’s up is a calling to the impossible: catching the meaning resulting from the encounter, to reveal who I am and celebrate while sharing it.

We are defined by our experience...

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