Jesuit Universities Meeting in Brussels
We are in the middle of a crisis of vision and solidarity in Europe: Brexit, refugees, Ukraine war... The public discourse is polarised. There is a wide poverty both, economic and spiritual, a desert of religious feeling and a lack of capabilities to address the deepest human needs. People are really struggling. To this situation we need to ask ourselves: “how do we respond to all of this?” This is a question that Father John Dardis SJ asked the rectors of the European and Middle East Jesuit universities during a meeting that was held in Brussels (in Centre Avec) on the 21st of June.
During the meeting there was an amazing atmosphere amongst the 13 participants, moved by the desire of deepening the sense of Jesuit mission and identity across the Higher Education Institutions. The meeting was planned to discuss the proposal of “Higher Education for Social Transformation (HEST): A Kairos for Jesuit institutions!” that proposes to link higher education institutions with social centres and reviews to address certain issues of relevance for the Society, the Church and the European and Near East societies. We are talking about themes such as: migrations and refugees, ecology, poverty, anthropology...
This project is a response to Father General’s letter to the whole society “On the Global Economy” in which he called Jesuits and lay collaborators to read the document Promotio Iustitiae #121 . Some of the proposals in it are:
- We should leverage our commitment and reputations for sound research and clear positions through direct advocacy. - We should therefore utilize our network of institutions to turn a spotlight on significant policy issues and to pressure for greater international cooperation in reforms that would make the lives of the poor more humane and just. - Our professional schools should collaborate to address issues about which there is a special knowledge, a direct contact with the social reality and the capacity to impact change through faculty, student, and alumni action
Participants were very supportive of the initiative and are willing to work together with the faculties of philosophy and theology, the social centres and the reviews to turn our institutions into instruments of economic justice and reconciliation.
Next stop: Uppsala. On the 10th of July the faculties of philosophy and theology will discern and work to move this project forward.