“Conferences and Councils support other Conferences and Councils that are in need, both nationally and internationally. It is one of the most cherished activities of the Society (…). The direct link between two Conferences or Councils that consists in the sharing of prayer and deep friendship and material resources, is called twinning. This activity contributes to world peace, to understanding and to cultural exchange among nations” (definition from the International Twinning Manual).
The Twinning Programme is one of the oldest forms of support to our brothers and sisters in developing countries, defined under three important headings: The Sharing of Prayer is a two-way effort essential for the Spirituality of our Society, communication through the exchange of regular correspondence is a vital link that allows the development of true relationships and the possibility to learn from one another. Finally, transferring money allows the Society in richer countries to support the work of Conferences and Councils in developing nations.
The Twinning Programme is a vital part of the Society’s work. Globally, our family is made up of many thousand “twins”, of differing languages and cultures, working together towards the glory of God’s poor, to whom our Patron Saint, Saint Vincent de Paul, dedicated his life.
There are thousands of twinnings throughout the world between countries linked, not exclusively, by language, culture and history, (in 2009, for example, a twinning was set up between South-Tyrol and Guatemala).
In 2011, the General President appointed an International Twinning Commission, chaired by Tony Muir (Australia) as international coordinator, whose complex task is to set up an effective and appropriate structure for tens of thousands of twinnings that exist in the world. The members of the commission, coordinators in different continents are:
- Carmela Addante (America)
- Dominic Dunstan (India and Oceania)
- Terry Brown (Europe)
- Patrick Ebhoje (Africa)
This Commission was gathered in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) at the beginning of March to write a new Manual of Twinnings that will set the procedure to follow in case a Conference wants to be twinned or a donor Conference wants to help others Conferences in need.