As we have settled into the new year and are beginning Lent, we take this opportunity to reflect on the year gone by. For us at Educate Magis, 2017 was the second full year of the existence of our global platform and we have so much to be grateful for. We celebrated the beginning of 2018 with over 3900 members from over 80 countries. We would like to thank each of you for your support and for answering with us the Society’s Call to “act as a universal body with a universal mission”. In particular we would like to thank the volunteers who share news and resources with the global community, who initiate and respond to conversations and who make global collaboration such an enriching experience!
2017 stands out as a particularly vibrant year for the global network of Jesuit schools. It was Fr. Arturo Sosa’s first full year as Father General and as the year went on we learnt more about the Decrees issued by General Congregation 36 and how schools and other ministries around the world are responding to these. In March and April, we celebrated the Virtual Congress in preparation for the first International Congress for Education Delegates, JESEDU-Rio 2017. The Virtual Congress was a chance for teachers, school leaders and those working in educational networks of the Society to watch or read the Keynote presentations prepared for the Congress and offer their input, their thoughts, their feedback and ideas. It was hosted on Educate Magis and was a wonderful example of the global community of Jesuit schools embracing new ways of proceeding in the 21st century.
In October we, the Educate Magis team, were fortunate to be present for the Congress in Rio de Janeiro where for the first time in the History of the Society Education Delegates from all regions of the world gathered together to discuss the Jesuit education as a Global Network. As part of the Communications team for the Congress we shared daily news articles, interviews, videos and photos of the Congress as well as sharing experiences and stories from the global community with the Congress participants. With over 100 participants from 42 countries it was a wonderful representation and reminder of the richness and diversity of the global network of Jesuit schools.
We took some time this year, with the help of some of our community members around the world as well as the ICAJE members to update both the printable and online interactive global map of Jesuit schools. We are delighted to see this map appearing in more and more schools around the world and being used in creative ways to show our teachers, students and their families that we are part of something bigger; that we belong to a network of schools spread out over 6 different regions of the world.
We continued sharing individual stories of refugees published by JRS for their Mercy in Motion campaign, to help open the minds and the hearts of people reading or watching them. These stories serve to raise awareness amongst our students of the situation which millions of displaced people find themselves in and to encourage us as a global network of Jesuit schools to act as global citizens and take action against this injustice.
Throughout the year schools around the world shared their experiences of fighting for the Right to Education by implementing the Global Red Chair in their schools, raising awareness about the millions of children who do not have access to education and encouraging students to think of ways to change this situation. We are looking forward to continuing to bring this project to schools around the world, together with Entreculturas and Friends of Fe y Alegría US, and to sharing all of the wonderful work which is being done in school communities.
We were delighted to be able to promote a number of global initiatives which began in individual schools or regions and were shared with schools around the world, through Educate Magis, in order to make these initiatives a global experience for our students. Some of these initiatives included BGReen Festival (Portugal), Expression 2017 (India), Cuentos para la Paz (Mexico), Magis Mannequin Challenge (Asia Pacific), We are all Earth (Latin America), Somos Hermanos (Latin America). We look forward to sharing some of these initiatives and more new ones in the coming months. If you have an idea for an initiative or competition you would like to open up to the entire community of Jesuit schools, please let us know and we will be very happy to support you!
Responding to the increasing importance being placed on Global Citizenship Education, we put together a Global Citizenship in the Class page which brings together a variety of resources and tools which all schools are welcome to use. These include a Global Citizenship Course to help teachers gain a deeper understanding of what Global Citizenship Education is, a set of Global Citizenship Lesson Plans, from Prof. Fernando Reimers of Harvard University for teachers to use in their classrooms, access to and resources for our Global Citizenship Action Project (the Global Red Chair Project) and a new tool called Connected Classrooms. Connected Classrooms allows teachers to connect their students via video and will soon be expanded to include exciting new features (stay tuned!).
In December of last year, we used Connected Classrooms to bring together 8 schools from 7 different countries around the world so that students could share their Christmas wishes with each other. We look forward to schools using this platform to connect with other schools across the globe and to the exciting possibilities this will bring.
Continuing to Grow
You will have noticed that we also took some time this year to redesign our homepage and add some new sections to the site. We will continue to make updates to the platform so please let us know if you have any ideas or suggestions. As our global community continues to grow we are delighted to have the support and help from many of our community members. If you are interested in volunteering with Educate Magis please let us know!!
Thank you for being part of our global community – we look forward to another wonderful year sharing with and learning from each other.
“We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it” – Pope Francis.