The core mission at JESC (Jesuit European Social Centre) is to reflect on the life, policies and practice of the European Union. We seek an engagement which authentically expresses Christian faith, remains close to the poor and marginalised, analyses social reality with competence, and advocates for justice in European political structures. In a context in which the EU is undergoing the most acute political crisis of its existence, JESC seeks a critical but constructive engagement with the EU. As a work of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, JESC expresses the commitment of the Society of Jesus to a Europe where human rights, freedom and solidarity are the foundation of integration.

Operationally, JESC is organized in four Secretariats:

    • - European Affairs: an institutional presence in Brussels to the EU Institutions, and with ecclesial and civil society organizations that relate to them, facilitating discussion and reflection of European issues.
    • - Justice: coordination and assistance to the four Justice Networks of the JCEP and support for the Delegate for the Social Apostolate of the Conference.
    • - Ecology: support for the advocacy work on integral ecology of Jesuits and partners under the umbrella of EcoJesuit; publication of “Eco-bites”, our ecology newsletter.
    • - Leadership: running of the European Leadership Programme (ELP), a five-month Ignatian based formation that combines European politics, the experience of living in community, and practical insights into the European institutions, and also spiritual reflection, coaching sessions and volunteering activities.

Visit the web site.

On February 16th, Fellows, partners and friends of the European Leadership Programme (ELP) gathered at Press Club Brussels to celebrate the completion and achievements of the Fellows’ last 5 months within ELP. The evening began with beautiful speeches by JESC Director, Filipe Martins SJ, followed by Barbara Segaert, Project Coordinator at UCSIA, who have remained close to the Fellows throughout the whole programme. Heartfelt testimonials by current, Anna Taraczkozi, and former, Gianmarco Palermo, Fellows were shared, allowing the audience to get a feel of what it is like being a part of the ELP community. Before reaching the awaited certificate distribution moment, our keynote speaker, Pierre Gurdjian, board member and co-founder of Belgium's 40 under 40, took us to the top of a building through his speech, breaking down the importance of understanding the self through an assessment of the world and finding our place in it all. This memorable event ended with an “Irish blessing for the way” from Archbishop Noel Treanore, the new Apostolic Nuncio to the EU, and an apéro dînatoire where participants were able to mingle, catch up, and meet new friends of ELP.
The Advocacy Group of the Xavier Network, the Europe-based Jesuit social network of institutions dedicated to emergencies and development in the Global South, had their annual meeting on the 11th-12th January in the JCEP (Jesuit Conference of European Provincials) office in Brussels. The group mainly addressed the topics of Caring for our Home (advocacy in Ecology), Justice in Mining (in partnership with overseas institutions), as well as strategies and resources needed for successful advocacy campaigns (in alignment with the Jesuit Province structures). JESC’s Director Filipe Martins sj, and Ecology Officer, Béla Kuslits, were invited to participate in a segment of the meeting, and the entire group then visited JESC to share about the projects in which each institution is involved with. In a world full of complex and urgent challenges (ranging from growing refugee flows to climate change), solutions require focused, collaborative and long-term advocacy work, like the one this group has been engaged in.
The European Leadership Programme is an Ignatian inspired residential formation for young professionals. The Fellows live and work in the heart of Europe, help marginalized communities, and follow spiritual coaching as well as professional mentoring sessions. An opportunity to meet current and former leaders from the EU ecosystem is provided, facilitating informal discussions and testimonies of their career and ethical challenges. The ELP houses harbour 20 Fellows and are located close to square Montgomery in Brussels. Fellows usually do a traineeship programme in one of the EU institutions or NGOs in Brussels in parallel with their ELP participation, as ELP is designed to offer programs in the afterwork hours and weekends  For further details, information on previous speakers, alumni testimonials and traineeship opportunities please visit the webpage.   Interested in joining the Programme? Apply before 2023 February 15 at  JESC 
It was in the Autumn of 2021 that the European Laudato Si’ Alliance (ELSiA) organised its first ecology workshop in Taizé. As some might know, ELSiA is a Brussels-based alliance of several faith-inspired organisations to which JESC belongs, that collaborate together in order to promote the ecological vision and proposed practices of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical letter. This first workshop went very well, so the call for a second workshop this November 2022, dedicated to “Ecological Conversion” and taking place also in Taizé, was welcomed with much expectation  So, to Taizé we went, on the weekend of 10-13th November, 25 people from several different countries and organisations, united by the work and care for our common Home. The facilities in Taizé are sober and simple, and the beauty of the place (in the French Borgogne region), the songs of the common prayers (three times a day, according to the centuries-old monastic tradition) and the hospitality of the brothers (who invited us for their table for the Sunday lunch) make Taizé a truly remarkable place.  As for the contents, the workshop had challenging inputs from different speakers, namely Fr. Federico Tartaglia and his personal call for unifying religion and nature, and Dr. Mark Charlesworth and the importance of Aquinas’ theory of virtues for proposing today a new way of living. We were also invited to immerse in nature, in “experiential moments” conducted by the experts Christine Kristoff and Dr. Raffele Rufo, as a complement  to our natural western tendency of “intellectualising reality”. There was also time for a zoom connection with two participants in COP27, the Member of European Parliament Pierre Larrouturou and the African activist Tanin Kuntai, who shared about the ongoing negotiations and the hopes and frustrations they were living in the Sharm el-Sheik meeting. Last morning, we heard the team of the innovative “Casa Velha” ecology and spirituality project in Portugal, a place where visitors are invited to learn and allow themselves to be led by the rhythms and “voice” of Mother Earth.  At the end, each participant was to summarise the learnings of these days. Some felt enriched by the intellectual inputs and shared reflections. Others named the serenity of a different style of living, in deep connection with nature. And others mentioned still the interconnectedness among all participants, when there’s the time for “real listening and sharing”. Being now back to the European cities where most of us work and live, the several imprints of this Taizé meeting remain, and drive us further in the direction of the individual and societal “ecological conversion” that our planet, and people affected by climate change, urge for. 
Saturday October 8th marked the European Leadership Programme's (ELP) Inauguration day which welcomed the new cohort for Fall 2022. This cohort consists of 16 Fellows coming from nine different countries; Hungary, Italy, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Philippines, England, Ukraine, Belgium, Brazil, and Poland. The day started with introductions and ended with a mass presided by JESC's Director, Filipe Martins. Their progress will be documented on ELP's social media accounts. Such, and much more information about the ELP, can be found here.
JESC’s team has gone through some changes in these last months, and the joy of receiving new members (like the recently arrived Feblezi Huebi, our new Junior Communications Officer) goes hand in hand with the sadness of saying goodbye to departing members. Now, Luciano Larivera SJ is going back to Italy, after spending more than a year in JESC’s European Affairs Secretariat. Luciano worked tirelessly, many times discreetly in the background, to set up events such as Passion for Europe and the 2021 Jesuit Alumni Brussels Gala. He was also the author of several articles, explaining different European political issues with clarity and depth. His commitment and availability will be missed and remembered (as well as his cooking skills!). JESC wishes Luciano a great return to Italy, and he knows that this will continue being his home as well. On the picture: Filipe Martins SJ and Luciano Larivera SJ