Recap of 2010 Conference
Conference in Mexico City focused on globalization, sustainability efforts
U.S. Jesuit college and university presidents gathered with their colleagues in higher education from around the world on April 22-24, 2010 in Mexico to focus on ways to improve the international networking capabilities of Jesuit higher education.
The conference, “Networking Jesuit Higher Education for the Globalizing World: Shaping the Future for a Humane, Just, Sustainable Globe,” was held at the Jesuit Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. Participants focused on frontier challenges such as poverty, sustainability and human rights as related to the work of Jesuit universities worldwide. The keynote address on the intellectual apostolate was delivered by Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus.
The conference followed previous international meetings of presidents, e.g., in 2001, when they met to address what Pope John Paul II had described as “serious contemporary problems,” and attending to “their ethical and religious dimensions.” The 2010 meeting hosted the largest international gathering of faculty with presidents to discuss how to strengthen Jesuit, Catholic identity and mission; better serve society and the Church; and better network among themselves and other ministries of the Society of Jesus, such as the Jesuit Refugee Service, and Social and International Ministries.
“The 2010 conference presents us with a great opportunity to use advancements in technology and the positive dimensions of globalization to realize the potential of Jesuit higher education – the only global network of higher education in the world – and to benefit the women and men we serve,” said Fr. Charles Currie, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU).
An important part of the conference was small group discussions of papers on various topics prepared from the perspective of the six geographic regions of the world. Topics included Regional Challenges Facing Jesuit Higher Education, including Jesuit, Catholic Identity and Mission, and several Frontier challenges: Theology, Science and Culture; Markets, Inequality and Poverty; Ecology and Sustainability; and Human Rights and the University. Over forty papers were prepared and made available on the web prior to the conference to encourage the group discussions at the meeting itself.
Representing North America in preparing these papers were: Dr. John DeGioia, president of Georgetown University; Fr. Douglas Marcouiller, S.J., provincial superior of the Missouri Province; Dr. Nancy Tuchman, Associate Provost for Research and a Professor in Biology at Loyola University Chicago, Fr. Michael Garanzini, S.J., President of Loyola University Chicago; Fr. David Hollenbach, S.J., of Boston College; Fr. Paul Crowley, S.J., of Santa Clara University; Fr. John O’Malley, S.J., of Georgetown University; and Fr. Charles Currie, S.J., president of AJCU.
Mr. Chris Lowney, author of Heroic Leadership, made a presentation on the Jesuit Commons as an ideal way for Jesuit universities worldwide to respond as a network to the needs of marginalized populations served by Jesuits. This fledgling initiative cultivated innovative education and social service collaborations across the Jesuit world to benefit very poor communities by bringing together resources from the entire global Jesuit network.
“Learning in a global context is the future,” said Paul Locatelli, S.J., Secretary for Jesuit Higher Education in Rome and Chancellor of Santa Clara University, and principal organizer of the meeting. “And as the only global network of higher education in the world, Jesuit higher education should seize this opportunity and at the same time, accept its responsibility for helping to fashion a more humane, just and sustainable world for all.”
For more information about the meeting, "Networking Jesuit Higher Education for a Globalizing World: Shaping the Future for a Humane, Just, Sustainable Globe," visit http://www.uia.mx/shapingthefuture/index.html.
Adapted from an AJCU Press Release.