BY CHRIS KERR | July 30, 2012
This week approximately four hundred Jesuit educators have gathered at Boston College for the first ever International Colloquium on Jesuit Secondary Education. Individuals from two-hundred institutions representing sixty different countries have converged for this unique opportunity to discuss Jesuit mission and identity and the idea of a global educational network. The colloquium is kind of like an Ignatian Olympics with such a diversity of attendees. However, instead of individuals or teams declaring themselves the winners, this group is gathering with the purpose of discovering ways to collaborate across the globe to enhance the 500+ year tradition of Jesuit education at the secondary level. In the end the results of this work will make winners out of the students, faculty, parents, and alumni that they encounter, who are inspired by a rigorous academic environment, holistic education that values the whole person, and spiritual development which has a commitment to justice rooted in the Gospels at its core.
The first full day has been a tremendous opportunity to encounter school leaders from across the globe with a great desire to expand the opportunities for their students, faculty, parents, and alumni through global collaboration. The morning begin with a video welcome by Jesuit Superior General Fr. Adolfo Nicolás and an introduction by Fr. Jose Mesa, S.J., the Jesuit Secretary for Education at the Curia in Rome. Fr. Mesa emphasized the importance of each school’s commitment to be mission driven and to see themselves as part of a broader network of Jesuits and collaborators and of the Church.
The day also included an overview of Jesuit education throughout the world from regional representatives, a panel on the Jesuit Mission in light of the Jesuits 35th General Congregation, and an address inviting participants to see the “classroom as wide as the world.”
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.