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BY NANCY TUCHMANJuly 8, 2015

Over 200 leaders from Jesuit colleges and universities across the global are gathering in Melbourne, Australia, this week for a conference entitled, “Expanding the Jesuit Higher Education Network: Collaborations for Social Justice.”  ISN has invited a number of attendees to offer reflections on the sessions and discussions taking place during the gathering.

200 leaders from Jesuit universities, colleges, and other related institutions from around the world have gathered this week to explore the Mission of Jesuit higher education globally in today’s world.

In his welcoming address to the conference, Fr. Michael Garanzini, S.J., Secretary of the Higher Education Secretariat of the Society of Jesus, offered a synopsis of where the Society has come since the last meeting of this kind in Mexico City in 2010.

At that meeting, Fr. General Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., developed three central themes:

  • Depth in human relationships is too often lacking. For example, think of the superficiality of Facebook “friends” and relationships with Twitter “followers.”
  • Creativity is needed as an antidote to the “business-as-usual” inertia of cultures.
  • Networking among our 175 Jesuit Colleges and Universities around the world will allow us to leverage resources so that we can do more (magis).

Through the 5 years since that meeting, the Fr. Nicolas has travelled around the world visiting Jesuit apostolates. Five themes have emerged in the talks that he has given:

  • The Catholic and Jesuit mission/identity must have primacy within our universities.
  • We must provide access to our education to the poor.
  • There is a new interest in Ignatian Spirituality and Pedagogy among youth.
  • Inter-religious dialogue needs to increase on our campuses.
  • Environmental sustainability and economic justice need to be prioritized in our universities.

One of Garanzini’s goals for the current Melbourne gathering is to learn how to facilitate stronger networking among the 175 Jesuit Colleges and Universities, to better leverage resources in service of the marginalized. He also asked how he as Secretary of Higher Education could be helpful, and if the Society should think about staffing the office so that more could be done to help facilitate the network.

Share your responses to his questions and any other suggestions in the comments below.

1 reply
  1. Avatar
    RAYMOND OLIVER says:

    I am only now hearing about the conference. The topics and concerns are timely with my own recent observations and concerns. This concern is the apparent lack of focus and action to enhance, at least one, critically positioned and important Jesuit institution of higher education outside of the US. I will try to send Fr. Garanzini, SJ an email. At the same time, I have decided to see what I can do to enhance the distinction and profile of this and maybe other critically important campuses overseas.
    Ray Oliver, Esq.
    LOYOLA Lks Shore ’73

    Reply

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