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Holy See confirms investigation of Order of Malta

January 17, 2017. The Holy See has issued a statement Tuesday in response to "attempts by the Order of Malta to discredit” the new group established by the Vatican to conduct the investigation of why the Chancellor of the Order of Malta was asked to step down.

Pope sends condolences for victims of Turkish cargo jet crash

January 16, 2017. On Monday morning, a Turkish cargo plane has tragically crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing dozens and hospitalizing many others. Many homes and vehicles in the small village are also destroyed. As a result, Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin has sent a message of condolences to the victims of the disaster on behalf of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis to meet with Palestinian president on Saturday

January 11, 2017. Pope Francis will meet with Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas on Saturday, January 14, at the Vatican to inaugurate the new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See.

Former Director of the Vatican's school for diplomats, Justo Mullor dies

December 30, 2016. The smiling archbishop Justo Mullor died this morning in Rome, at the Pío XI Clinic. He was 84 years old.
Pope Francis

Pope approves new decrees for the Causes of Saints

December 22, 2016. On Wednesday, December 21, Pope Francis authorized the following decrees for the Causes of Saints:

How would you imagine a post-war Syria?


The Syrian Civil War has been called one of the worst humanitarian crises after World War II, killing at least 250,000 and constantly rising numbers of more than 7.6 million displaced. 

While it may be difficult for some to imagine a peaceful Aleppo, these architecture university students have taken it one step further by creating a future housing concept for Syria as part of the matterbetter, Syria: post-war housing competition. 

Architecture student
"It was very interesting because the biggest part of the work was the research before the project. We were obliged to do a lot of research and a main part of our project was understanding the stories that would have been behind this new housing design that we were about to make, to understand who will come back to Syria after the war. We had the chance of studying different case studies about stories.”

Additionally, this group of four mastered the competition by studying the Syrian people. They dove into their traditions and personally met with refugees to ask them more about their culture.

Architecture student
"We contacted one of the refugees who happened to be there when we were completing this contest. This person then gave a lecture at  one of the city venues and we approached him there, because we were really interested in his story. It's one of the coincidences of life, because in the end this guy is a young man who is our age, 24 years old. One thing that was very funny was that he is an architecture student, like us, and he told us his story.”

After learning from this man, and studying various other cases, the team decided to build a flexible system that could be used in Aleppo or the outskirts, near Damascus. The four also learned about the importance of the private patio to Syrian families. Thus, they created a ¾ tiered system. The patio is on the bottom level, and the top part of the house covers it, providing the privacy that is so crucial. 

The competition was completely up to interpretation for all 250 participants, but only this group of four won with their "Endless Future” project.  

Architecture student
"I think that our work is very important when studying how this must continue to last until 2050, or more or less the expiration date of the world. We have created a formula for sustainable urban development to support social taxes, the return of identity around the cities and especially to seek opportunities to focus on sustainable urbanism. An urbanism that is adapted to people, and is participatory and coherent.”

This was the mission of this contest, to devise a plan and a way for Syrians who want to return to the land that once was their calm, peaceful home. This team completed that in a way the judges called "an interesting marriage of ancestral techniques and conventional industrial materials.”