It is difficult to analyze the dynamics of networking in the Society of Jesus in a systematic and progressive manner. Through the Jesuit Networking project, we have been working over the past 6 years trying to understand and formulate how the Society of Jesus is advancing in this interesting way of proceeding that allows us to progressively align and coordinate our mission in an increasingly transversal and international way. Today, I would like to focus on the dynamic that we have been able to see through the apostolic secretariats in Rome over the last 10 years.
It was the Secretariat for Social Justice and Ecology that began using this dynamic with the Ignatian Advocacy encounter in El Escorial (Madrid), in 2008. This meeting initiated a reflection on concerted global action within the Social Sector and the creation of the Global Ignatian Advocacy Networks (GIAN), and the progressive articulation of work in networks of social centers at the conference level. From this meeting, four GIANs were launched around priorities for global impact: GIAN Ecology (Ecojesuit), GIAN Education (Edujesuit), GIAN Migration and GIAN Management of Natural Resources (Justice in Mining). Since then, this secretariat has begun to work using a dual structure: a hierarchical one (responsible for the social sectors at the conference and province level) along with a wirearchy structure (leaders of the GIANs and the networks of social centers). In 2014, a meeting of the Global Social Sector was held, Networking for Justice, and all the international networks of the Society’s social sector were convened in Loyola. At present, the meetings of the Secretariat always take into account these two levels.
In 2010, the Higher Education Sector launched a reflection on global collaboration following its meeting in Mexico, entitled Networking for Jesuit Higher Education for the Globalizing World, where Adolfo Nicolás offered his most programmatic speech on international collaboration and networks. Since then, there have been successive global meetings to engage with the theme: In 2015, in Melbourne, entitled Expanding the Jesuit Higher Education Network where the Jesuit Digital Network platform was presented and last July 2018 in Bilbao, under the title Transforming the world together where the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU) network was launched. In this sector, it is important to recognize the contributions of the Jesuit Commons Initiative, which back in 2010, was the first attempt at international collaboration at the global level within the Society of Jesus. Today, the Jesuit Worldwide Learning and Jesuit Digital Network have gained inspiration from this initiative. We must also add platforms such as IGNITED that emerged from the dynamics of the international network of Jesuit Business Schools, which is also a catalyst for the new international collaboration platform of universities, which has yet to reach its one-year anniversary.
The launch of global networking through the Pre-Secondary and Secondary Education Secretariat will be the year 2012 in Boston, with the first international conference entitled The world is our home. At this meeting, joint reflection on the worldwide network of schools began, which gave rise to the Educate Magis platform, through which the second international meeting was held in 2014 in Barcelona (SIPEI) as an Ignatian pedagogical symposium, and proceeded to take the third step two years ago in October, in Brazil, in a meeting of all education delegates with the Father General entitled JESEDU. The next 2020 meeting in Yogyakarta is already under preparation.
This rapid analysis leads to the recognition of a repeated dynamic around each of the apostolic secretariats. Global meetings have increasingly focused on issues of collaboration and networking, and in all sectors has created one (or several) digital platforms for the management and promotion of international collaboration. This is the origin of the projects edujesuit.org, ecojesuit.com, justiceinmining.com, educatemagis.org or the recently launched iaju.org.
It is precisely this model of work that led us in 2012, under the umbrella of the Collaboration Secretariat, to create the Jesuit Networking project, to have a space for dialogue and shared learning on collaboration and networks. We have already held two international meetings on networking (Boston College 2012, Georgetown University 2018) and we are preparing the third. It has been a few weeks since we launched the new version of the Jesuit.network platform, which we hope will be the meeting place for all of us who dream that this emergence of networks in the Society can be accompanied, discerned and designed in a way that best serves the mission that brings us together.