Contact: Deanna Howes Spiro, Vice President of Communications, AJCU
From August 3-6, nearly 400 presidents, faculty and administrators from Jesuit institutions and organizations across the world gathered at Boston College for the 2022 Assembly of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU). The theme of this year’s assembly was ‘Discerning the Future of Jesuit Higher Education,’ which built on the theme, ‘Transforming Our World Together,’ from the inaugural IAJU assembly at the University of Deusto in 2018.
Participants at Boston College included members of IAJU Task Forces on Global Citizenship; Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees; Peace and Reconciliation; Environmental and Economic Justice; and the Role of Theology in Today’s Jesuit University. Task Force members shared updates on their collaborative work to develop programs and initiatives that have been implemented at Jesuit colleges and universities across the world since 2018. Additional sessions included a pre-assembly workshop on ‘Democracy Under Threat’ and group break-out sessions on the Magis Student Exchange Program; Reinventing Jesuit Business Education; Best Practices in Mission Integration & Formation; Developing a Laudato Si’ University Plan; Reconciliation and Peace Centers; African Jesuit Universities; and Secularism, Religious Pluralism and the Jesuit University.
A highlight of the assembly was a keynote address from Jesuit Superior General, Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J., who delivered his remarks in Spanish. He said, “The members of the IAJU are called to discern from the ground of the identity that is their reason for being, the principle and foundation of their mission, and the bond that unites them. Many universities have been examining this identity in recent years. We have been invited to return to its sources during this Ignatian year. It is the same spring that fed the long and complex discernment in common of the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus, and it still flows to make fruitful the apostolic works that put the preferences into practice.”
On the last day of the assembly, members of each regional association that comprises IAJU (please visit IAJU.org for a full list) had the opportunity to meet with Fr. Sosa for 30-minute conversations in which a group of representatives shared challenges and aspirations for higher education in their geographic regions. Later in the afternoon, one representative from each regional association gave a “report out” to all assembly participants that included recommendations for the next IAJU strategic plan.
The assembly concluded with a Mass celebrated by Fr. Sosa, followed by a banquet and award ceremony. For the first time, IAJU awarded the St. Peter Canisius Medals for Extraordinary Service to Jesuit Higher Education to individuals and institutions from each regional association. From the North American region, two faculty from Loyola University Chicago were the inaugural recipients: Nancy Tuchman, founding dean of the School of Environmental Sustainability, and Michael Schuck, professor in the Department of Theology and the School of Environmental Sustainability. Tuchman said, “It was an incredible honor (and surprise) to be nominated for the IAJU North American region’s St. Peter Canisius Medal with my colleague, Michael Schuck. For me, having the opportunity to work for the Jesuits on the greater mission of a faith that does justice has made all the difference in my life’s work.”
Tuchman offered an additional reflection on the impact of this year’s gathering. She said, “The assembly demonstrated the value of IAJU as an organizing body that coordinates the collaborative efforts of the Jesuit higher education network around the eight global concerns identified by the current IAJU Strategic Plan. The work that has been accomplished by each of the IAJU Task Forces to address these issues between the 2018 Duesto and 2022 Boston College Assemblies is remarkable and inspiring. We’re a much more effective network as IAJU.”
We invited several other participants from across the AJCU network to share reflections on the 2022 IAJU Assembly; please scroll down to read more.
Steve K. Stoute: President, Canisius University
“In reflecting on my time at the 2022 IAJU Assembly, I feel incredibly blessed to embark on this journey as president of a Jesuit institution with companions from around the world, all dedicated to addressing the most pressing issues of our time, from a place of love, consistent with our Jesuit, Catholic identity. I look forward, with renewed hope, to our shared endeavor of empowering the next generation of leaders who will go forth and set the world on fire.”
Chinyere Oparah: Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, University of San Francisco
“One of the many things I carried back with me from our very rich discussions in Boston, and from meeting counterparts from around the world, is the global reach and collective possibilities of the Jesuit network. Nowhere is this more clear or urgent than in the context of Pope Francis’ environmental enyclical, Laudato Si’, which calls on universities to cultivate the next generation of environmental stewards and to work to avert climate catastrophe. I was inspired by the ideas of my colleagues from Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines and by all those who participated in our discussion. Our universities have a responsibility and a leading role to play in cultivating global citizens whose care for the planet and one another transcends borders. As a network, we are uniquely positioned to do that.”
Thomas Banchoff: Vice President for Global Engagement, Georgetown University
“The explosion of Zoom technology during the pandemic has allowed us to connect young people across the Jesuit network in dynamic ways. So many of our students share the commitments to solidarity, the common good, and engaged citizenship – local, national, and global – that animate our colleges and universities. The IAJU Global Citizenship Fellows Program helps students learn how to make a positive difference in a world increasingly divided along national, religious, and social lines — and become “global citizens” along the way.”
Rev. Sami Helewa, S.J.: President, Campion College
“The Assembly was like a rotating planet with three orbiting moons: The Gospel, Advanced Education and Democracy. There was a prophetic urgency to dialogue and collaborate within Jesuit education to enhance a culture for speaking truth to power.”
Serena Cosgrove: Associate Professor and Faculty Coordinator of the Central America Initiative, Seattle University
“Consoling. After the IAJU Assembly, I was filled with consolation. This gathering allowed us to see our own local realities in global perspective. I found this global conversation invigorating and inspirational. I was particularly moved by the opportunity to bear witness to our sisters and brothers leading universities in countries facing conflict or authoritarian regimes, such as Ukraine, Venezuela and Nicaragua. May these personal connections facilitate increased solidarity and mutual learning as we move forward.”
Rev. Nicky Santos, S.J.: Jesuit Community Rector & Associate Professor of Marketing and Management, Creighton University
“The IAJU Assembly in Boston was a powerful reminder to me of the global reach of the Jesuit higher education apostolate. The ability to meet and interact face to face with people from different countries and cultures was an enriching experience. I loved the panel with the students because they are the reason why our higher education institutes exist; to see them exude hope filled me with hope for the future.”
Clara Dwyer: Executive Director, Alpha Sigma Nu
“The IAJU Assembly was remarkable. It was personally and professionally rewarding for me as the new Executive Director of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society, because the time offered opportunities to connect with institutional leadership, understand the global impact Jesuit education has in the world, and the important tasks we must commit ourselves to better our society. Jesuit Superior General Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J. provided inspirational direction to help us discern the future of Jesuit higher education. He encouraged us to recall the diversity amongst and humanity within our students, and the care we must practice with them and one another. The IAJU Assembly reinvigorated the necessary sense of solidarity as key to our Jesuit identity and for that, I am grateful for the time together at Boston College.”
Please click on the following hyperlinks for more information on the 2022 IAJU Assembly at Boston College:
- Assembly Program
- Session Recaps and Reports (English and Spanish)
- IAJU Task Forces and Working Groups
- Flickr Album with Photos
- YouTube Playlist with Plenary Session Recordings
- English Translation of Fr. Sosa’s Speech
- Spanish Translation of Fr. Sosa’s Speech
Many thanks to Stefon Greene (Le Moyne College) and Mikolaj Cempla (HumanStories Studio) for contributing photos to this article, as well as the members of the IAJU Communications Team for contributing content and providing support throughout the assembly: Ignacio Garrido Cruz (Loyola Andalucía, Spain); Ana Karen Barragán Fernández (IAJU); Brittany Fried (Georgetown University, USA); Elena Pérez Velasco (Loyola Andalucía, Spain); Juan Galera (Loyola Andalucía, Spain); Ana Jimenez (Loyola Andalucía, Colombia); and Alberto Herrara (AUSJAL).