“The current experience of COVID-19 is showing us many things about ourselves and our world” said Father General Arturo Sosa SJ in his address on 24th March 2020, mainly that “we are one humanity. Every human being, every people, each culture that contributes to human diversity is part of this one, varied, rich and interdependent humanity.” The pandemic has been forcing us to reflect on our lifestyles and contemplate on the type of people and society we aspire to become. This crisis has made us realise how strong the bonds of solidarity are. Therefore we need a common global education element in our schools in order to respond to this global challenge that we are facing. Global Citizenship Education seems to become more relevant than ever.
In our Jesuit context this was highlighted in the JESEDU-Rio2017 Action Statement which provided the first global network wide action guidelines. Action Statement 12 (“The delegates further commit to working with the schools´ leadership to oblige all faculty and staff be formed in global citizenship so that they can help students understand their future as global citizens”) was one of the eight prioritized stated actions for all delegates and schools to work on within the following five years in order to become a universal body with a universal mission.
In 2019, a Global Task Force on Global Citizenship was convened by the Secretariat of Education (Secondary and Pre-Secondary). The Task Force, of which I was a member, united the diverse voices and realities of the six geographical regions of the Global Jesuit Network of Schools, along with JRS-Education and Fe y Alegría. We prepared a framework as a guideline by integrating the Universal Apostolic Preferences and the JESEDU-Rio2017 Action Statement with the global dimensions in our Jesuit schools.
These new guidelines, approved by the Board of the Italian Jesuit School Network (Fondazione Gesuiti Educazione) on December 2020, incorporate and build on the existing Global Citizenship materials gathered by the global community and include also the key global identifiers proposed in the document Jesuit Schools: A Living Tradition in the 21st Century (2019), as commitments that every Jesuit school ought to make and the Apostolic Plan of the EUM Province 2018, which inspires us on our journey especially with future generations, integral ecology and listening to the poor.
These guidelines implement the already existing official set of Guidelines for the school of the EUM Jesuit Province about the fundamental areas of the Jesuit education in our school network (such as media education, pastoral and spirituality, curriculum, administration).