When we see the many challenges in Europe and the Near East such as Migration, the Polarisation of Political discourse, Poverty, Ecological issues, extreme Islam we ask ourselves: “Surely the Jesuit network can play a part in addressing at least some of these?”. With this in mind, we have designed a programme that aims to mobilise the resources of Jesuit Universities and Faculties across Europe and to link them with our Social centres. It is entitled Higher Education for Social Transformation (HEST). The basic idea is that those engaged in academic research can be challenged by realities in the ground while those advocating for change on the ground can benefit from high quality research. We want to influence decision makers in politics, finance and industry with well-founded arguments and with data based on solid research.

Selected Themes

The vast majority of Jesuit Higher Education institutions got together and they chose the themes that were relevant for both their institutions and for the Society of Jesus. In this bottom-up process, the selected and relevant themes were the following:

1. Ecology and Environmental Challenges

2. Economy, Poverty and Ethics

3. Christian Muslim Relations

4. Dialogue Science and Religion

5. Ignatian Studies

6. Anthropology

7. Migrations and Refugees

Expected goals

Hest aims at the Following three goals

1. Provide meaningful and quality research and design a solid dissemination and advocacy strategy for each cluster

2. Pressure for greater multinational cooperation in reforms/activities that would understand the structural causes of poverty and inequality in the world and promote changes

3. Strengthen the Jesuit Identity of Jesuit Higher Education Institutions

The second cluster meeting of the HEST Program. The second cluster meeting of the HEST programme (Higher Education for Social Transformation) took place on February 24, at Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid and was hosted by its Chair on Science, Technology and Religion. The cluster on Dialogue Science and Religion was the one to continue the process started by the cluster on Economy, Poverty and Ethics.  Dr. Sara Lumbreras, one of the coordinators of the Cluster and Dr. José Manuel Caamaño, the Director of the Chair kindly welcomed us and leaded the meeting. 6 people participated in the meeting: Josef Quitterer (University of Innsbruck) Joaquín Menacho (IQS - Barcelona) Jacek Poznansky SJ (Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow) José Manuel Caamaño (Universidad Pontificia Comillas) Sara Lumbreras (Universidad Pontificia Comillas) José Carlos Romero (Universidad Pontificia Comillas - HEST coordinator) Dominique Lambert (University of Namur), the other coordinator of the cluster, could not participate in the meeting but contributed with a letter in which he provided some enlightening ideas for the future work of the cluster. After praying together with ‘Patient Trust’, a beautiful text by Teilhard de Chardin sj, José Carlos Romero presented the general lines of the HEST programme, with its 7 clusters. Then, before the coffee-break, each participant introduced his/her institution and the activities regarding the topic of the cluster in which he or she was already involved.  Since we already knew who we were and what we were doing, we were ready for the next step, i.e. to think creatively about how to propose a collaborative future work. And ideas emerged smoothly! During the brainstorming round about possible topics for the common research, a consensus raised around the concept of “power”, and a possible research question came afterwards: “Science and religion in the crossroads of power relations in post-modern societies”. After such an intense session, we enjoyed an excellent lunch at ICADE, courtesy of the Chair of Science, Technology and Religion The meeting ended with a session about how to organize the future work: Josef volunteered to prepare a first draft to be shared and the other members committed to including their contributions in order to have a first manifest by the end of July. We also agreed on meeting again next February 2018 in Innsbruck in a two days’ workshop. The cluster on Dialogue Science and Religion is on its way. Now it is time for other clusters to follow this fascinating path!
The first cluster meeting of the HEST Program. The first cluster meeting of the HEST programme has finally taken place on January 16, at the IQS facilities in Barcelona, thus becoming the starting pistol for the rest of the clusters. The cluster to take the lead has been the one on Economy, Poverty and Ethics. Dr. José Sols Lucia, one of the coordinators of the Cluster, welcomed us to his university and guided us during the whole meeting. It was a particularly significant moment for all of us who are working in this HEST adventure. The main goal of the meeting was to dream of what we wanted to achieve with this cluster in the next three years and contextualize and concretize in key action steps and activities. 10 people participated in the meeting:  • Javier Arellano (Universidad de Deusto)  • Pedro Caldentey (Universidad Loyola Andalucía)  • Eoin Carroll (Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Dublin)  • Dariusz Dankowski SJ (Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow)  • Marta Ramos (Universidad Pontificia Comillas)  • Albert Evrard SJ (Université de Namur)  • Mihály Borsi (IQS - Ramon Llull University)  • José Sols (IQS - Ramon Llull University)  • Frank Turner SJ (Delegate for the Intellectual Apostolate)  • José Carlos Romero (Universidad Pontificia Comillas - HEST coordinator) The meeting was divided in three main parts: in the first one, José Carlos Romero presented the general lines of the HEST programme, with its 7 thematic clusters and its clear orientation towards the collaborative work between the higher education centres of the Society of Jesus in Europe and its social centres. After a fruitful round of questions, which helped clarify some aspects related to the programme, we proceeded to a second part in which Dr. Pedro Caldentey explained the context and some possible lines of research for the cluster. Again, the presentation gave rise to an interesting exchange of views on the course of the cluster. Finally, we faced the last part of the meeting that sought to concretize the research question and propose the next steps to take. We finally chose this general research question: No one will be left behind: How can we promote justice and common good in global economy? Ideas and practices to build inclusive and sustainable societies: Beyond the paradigm of competition and self-interest. We also defined a transversal approach to that question:  A common analytical and critical perspective: a preferential option for those living at the margins And we decided to look for specific questions with a narrower and more defined approach according to one or more of the following perspectives:  • Theological and Philosophical perspective.  • Public policy/Legal perspective.  • Business perspective  • Economic perspective.  • Cultural perspective.  • Ecological perspective. In order to close the final formulation of the research, we decided that each of the assistants would send to Pedro and José their feedback to the draft proposal.  Afterwards, the Programme and the Cluster coordinators would work in a concept note from those feedbacks. The note will include the final formulation of the questions and the vision of the Cluster together with concrete proposals on research teams organization, outputs and timelines. The meeting ended with a kind farewell to everybody. The cluster is already running, or better said, flying! An exciting research process is waiting for us.
An initiative from the Jesuit universities and faculties in Europe and the Near East. Europe and its values – that’s a key theme in recent years. It’s also the theme of a new Jesuit program called “Higher Education for Social Transformation” (HEST). It involves a unique collaboration between the Jesuit higher education institutions across Europe and the Near East and the Jesuit social centres. With this program the institutions aim to help our societies to discover core values, reflect on them in depth, and find ways to incarnate and apply them to make the lives of the poor more humane and just.  The Steering Committee met for the first time in Brussels on the 18th of November 2016. The aim was to plan how to move forward the 7 programme areas: Ecology and Environmental Challenges Economy, Poverty and Ethics Christian-Muslim Relations Dialogue Science and Religion Ignatian Studies Anthropology Migrations and Refugees Several experts in these areas working at Jesuit higher education institutions across Europe form each cluster.  Focusing academic research on real social challenges of European Society is the main goal of HEST. Dr. Dominique Lambert, international expert on Dialogue Science and Religion said: “There are already many good existing academic papers on these topics, we need a new perspective to respond to the real needs of the society, that is why the focus on social transformation is key”. In the meeting, there were 2 representatives from each cluster as well as José Ignacio Garcia, the social delegate of the CEP. He helps to link the academic research done in the universities and faculties with what is happening in the Social Centres. During the morning, the group listened to presentations from Dani Izuzquiza SJ, representative of the Cultural Reviews network in Europe; José Ignacio García SJ,; as well as two representatives of the European Commission, who gave participants tips on how to advocate in the European Institutions and how they saw the future of Europe. In the afternoon, cluster representatives were encouraged to start organising the first group meeting These will take place in the first half of 2017.  : “There was an great response from the cluster representatives: said John Dardis, CEP President. All of them came with ideas and the commitment to move things forward”. All the clusters ended up with a date for the meeting, a place to gather their group and several ideas of what the group can offer to help achieve the goal of the program. One of the experts on the issue of Economics and Poverty summarized his feelings: “with all the bad news we are receiving lately about the future of Europe, like Brexit or the growth of extremist rhetoric in the political scenery, I am grateful to see an initiative like this one take shape, it gives me hope for the future!” The meeting was hosted by the President of the Conference of European Provincials, Father John Dardis SJ, by the HEST Coordinator, Checa Romero, and the CEP Planning Advisor, Diego Losada, See also:    Universities Meeting Faculties Meeting in Uppsala