It was a week during which the momentum of the global Jesuit education network was very much evident. For the education secretaries of the six Jesuit Conferences, the Secretary for Education and those working in the secretariat, the recent International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education (ICAJE) meeting was an opportunity to understand the state of Jesuit education in the world, talk about the projects of the Education Secretariat and discuss initiatives that support the construction and consolidation of the Jesuit schools network.
“It’s always inspiring to meet with the other education secretaries and to discover all the good work that’s being done all around the world. There’s so much diversity in our Jesuit schools, but it’s also amazing that we share a common underlying mission and set of Ignatian values,” said Secretary of Education Fr. Johnny Go SJ, from the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP), of the meeting held in Rome from May 23 to 26. “I always learn so much meeting with these Education Secretaries and hearing about the different ways that our schools are facing the challenges of our work of education today.”
Fr Go shared with the group that for the past two years, the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) has been conducting IGNITE (Ignatian Initiative for Teacher Excellence) workshops regularly – three a year – for teachers, staff and school leaders. The newest projects being developed include a teacher volunteer programme among Jesuit and Ignatian schools, and a student video conferencing project that will promote interculturality and global citizenship.
JCAP is also sponsoring the II Colloquium JESEDU-Jogja 2020, where schools from all around the world will gather at Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to learn from one another and to explore working more closely together as a global network.
“It has been a wonderful week of work with the Commission,” said Assistant for Special Projects Rafael Galaz. “I think there is a common feeling of the special momentum in the global network at the moment which was evident when each member presented a report with the featured news of his/her region.”
The topics covered included the development of Educate Magis, a platform aimed at connecting schools and allowing for global collaboration at the service of the mission, and the evaluation and follow up of the Action Statement of the International Congress of Jesuit Education Delegates (JESEDU-Rio2017). With new inputs from JESEDU-Rio2017, the Commission resumed the discussion on the Education Delegate’s role at the Province level and began the process to find agreement on some common fundamental requirements for the job. They also continued the conversation about associated/partnered/endorsed/companion schools as they are classified in each region.
The Commission also took time to reflect on Fr. General Arturo Sosa’s invitation to discern the Universal Apostolic Preferences for the mission of the Society in accordance with the decrees of General Congregation 36 and related documents. The result of their discernment will be presented to the Fr. General.
Fr José Mesa SJ, Secretary for Education, was not able to be in Rome for the meeting but joined the delegates virtually, which was a new and positive experience.
“I think it’s fair to say on behalf of the Commission that we ended the meeting feeling challenged to keep working hard, but also very reassured by the fruitful results of this period,” said Galaz.
At the end of the meeting, the Commission celebrated the Eucharist in the Camaretas also known as the “Room of Ignatius” where St Ignatius spent his last days before passing away on July 31, 1556.