The International Committee on Jesuit Higher Education (ICJHE) held its annual meeting from February 21st to 23rd at the General Jesuit Curia in Rome. The meeting was attended by those responsible for regional networks or conferences: Fr. Paul Béré SJ (Africa); Fr. Philip Geister SJ (Europe); Fr. Jaime Ora SJ (Spain); Fr. Joye James and Fr. E. Abraham (India); Fr. Michael Sheeran SJ (USA); Johanes Eka Priyatma, representative of the Asia-Pacific region and Fr. Ernesto Cavassa SJ, president of AUSJAL (Latin America). Fr. John Dardis SJ, delegate of the Discernment and Apostolic Planning, also participated.

The meeting was convoked by the Secretary of Higher Education of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Michael Garanzini SJ, and its main objective was reviewing the preparations for the World Encounter of Institutions of Higher Education of the Society of Jesus, which will take place from July 8th to 12th at the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain).

During the meeting, Fr. John Dardis SJ spoke about the Ignatian approach when thinking about the planning of the universal mission of the Society of Jesus. In addition, each one of the participants presented the general situation of their respective associations or of the regional coordinating bodies, in the case of regions where there are still no associations.

The World Encounter is celebrated every three years and this year’s will follow the path undertaken by Fr. Adolfo Nicolás SJ, with the convocation of the two previous ones: Mexico (2010) and Melbourne (2015). The meeting this year will be especially significant because its central theme will be the constitution of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU). The creation of the IAJU will mark a milestone in the process of strengthening regional and global coordination of the work of the universities entrusted to the Society of Jesus.

During the ICHJE meeting, the attendees reviewed the drafts of the articles of incorporation of the association and the strategic plan of the IAJU, as well as the reports of the working groups of experts that met in January to prepare the possible strategic lines of the association, namely: formation for Ignatian leadership; training for citizen and political leadership; socio-environmental justice; education for the marginalized and refugees; interreligious dialogue; and peace and reconciliation. The groups have continued to work online and will present their reports and proposals at the meeting at the University of Deusto.

Some 400 people from the 200 higher education institutions of the Society of Jesus are expected to attend the World Encounter. The event will have the participation of Superior General Arturo Sosa, SJ, who will address the participants and will meet with each of the networks or regional conferences of the universities.

[This is an adapted version in English of the post published originally in Spanish in the blog of AUSJAL]