Who Do You Want To Be? A Global School Experience inviting young people to discover a path toward the fullness of life.Participate here
By Marie-Thérèse MICHEL
Nov 7th, 2016

In October, 95 Heads of Primary Schools from 11 different Provinces around Europe gathered in Ludwigshafen, Germany for 3 days. The meeting aptly took place in the very pleasant ZIP (Zentrum Für Ignatianische Pädagogik) Center for Ignatian Pedagogy, hosted by HPH (Heinrich Pesch Haus). 


In JECSE, 4 prioirities have been our guidelines for the past 2 years;

  • 1 – Faith and Ignatian Spirituality
  • 2 – Commitment to Social Justice
  • 3 – Reconciliation an Peace in a diverse Europe
  • 4 – Responsiveness to the Dynamics of Change

With this conference we wanted to;

  • Answer the dynamics of change (Priority 4)
  • Enhance Ignatian Identity (Priority 1)
  • Strengthen the European feeling by working and sharing best practices and tools and foreseeing more networking

2 Keynote speakers, Amaia Arzamendi – General Director of a school in San Sebastian and Marc Desmet SJ – Flemish medical doctor in charge of Palliative care, helpd us to reflect on these objectives. 

People could share and debate around several questions;

  • Can we deepen our roots while we are trying to understand a new world?
  • How can we acknowledge, accept and cope with our human fragility?
  • Is innovation a duty? A burden? A strong desire? Or a way of creating new routes to educate? Do we need new leadership
  • We also reflected on Ignatian pedagogy with the 4 Cs  ( Conscience, Competence, Compassion, Commitment) trying to  identify practical and creative tools to help us implement them , starting from an experience in Ireland (Galway).


Through workshops and examples of European collaboration people could discover the dynamism of many provinces. To further explore the possibilities of collaboration and networking, Ciara Beuster, Community Facilitator of Educate Magis was also invited to give a brief introduction to the online community of Jesuit schools worldwide. 

Last but not least and as usual in our meetings, participants had some time to meditate on their personal path as primary heads with Bernard Peeters SJ and in the beautiful Roman cathedral of Speyer.

Although the sun wasn’t always showing outside, the joy and pleasure shown by the participants was proof that these meetings at the European level can really build and are already building a strong and living network.