MISSION AND MINISTRY | President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., and Vice President John T. Sebastian, Ph.D., for mission and ministry, attended the inaugural meeting of the International Association of Jesuit Universities in July at the University of Deusto, the Jesuit college in Bilbao, Spain.
A major achievement of the meeting was the signing of the charter for the IAJU by representatives of the six regional conferences – North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, South Asia – but over the course of several days delegates also met in task forces to advance discussion of six key focus areas for the new organization, namely: civic and political leadership formation; education for the marginalized and refugees; environmental and economic justice; inter-religious understanding and dialogue; leadership in an Ignatian way of proceeding; and peace and reconciliation.
The conference, themed “Transforming Our World Together” brought to Northern Spain nearly 400 delegates from some 200 schools and faculties worldwide to explore the potential for collaboration within a global network of Jesuit institutions of higher learning. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., the secretary for higher education in the Society of Jesus who also serves as a trustee of LMU, led the planning for the meeting.
The highlight of the gathering was a day spent in Loyola, the home of St. Ignatius, where the charter was signed and where each regional association had the opportunity to engage in conversation directly with Superior General Arturo Sosa, S.J. Father Sosa also delivered an address to attendees at the Basilica in Loyola. His presentation, titled “The University as a Source of Reconciled Life,” can be found at http://iaju.org/official-documents in the original Spanish and in English translation. In his talk, Father Sosa warned against globalization, which he described as tending toward a homogenization of human culture, and emphasized the importance of mundialización, a form of world citizenship that promotes “the growth of the interaction between culturally diverse human groups that are capable of sharing a common vision of the interests of all humanity.” He also noted two challenges for Jesuit universities today: (1) “overcoming the geographic and social boundaries within which our university institutions operate” and (2) “promot[ing] a culture of safeguarding vulnerable people.”
The meeting concluded with the election of a board of directors, who will advise Garanzini and plan the triennial IAJU conference. More information about the IAJU can be found at http://iaju.org/.