As we begin a new year and indeed a new decade, we pause to look back on the year gone by; on its challenges, milestones and achievements. For us at Educate Magis, 2019 was the fourth full year in existence and we have a lot to be grateful for. We welcomed a new team member, Jesús, and we celebrate the beginning of this new decade with over 8,000 members from over 80 countries. We would like to thank each and every one of you for your support, your valuable contributions and for joining the global community on this journey together to answer the Society’s Call to “act as a universal body with a universal mission”. We would like to give a special thanks to the volunteers and contributors who shared their experiences, perspectives, news and resources and who continuously open their minds and hearts to global collaboration and strengthen this colourful global community.
Milestones in the Education Apostolate
2019 we think will stand out as a particularly significant year in the contemporary context of Jesuit Education. In February, after a long process of discernment over almost 2 years, Fr. General presented us with the Universal Apostolic Preferences – 4 areas which will give a horizon, a point of reference and a lens through which all Jesuit work should be carried out in the next 10 years. These are: To show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment; To walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice; To accompany the young in the creation of a hope-filled future; To collaborate in the care of our Common Home. These 4 Apostolic Preferences “are an invitation to rethink how we live, how we work and how we relate to the people we serve” (Fr. General Arturo Sosa, SJ). It is very encouraging to see some members of the community already discussing these Apostolic Preferences and hear how schools are planning on integrating this lens into their work. Later this year, in November, the International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education (ICAJE) released a new document “Jesuit Schools: a Living Tradition in the 21st Century – An Ongoing Exercise of Discernment” a living text with three interrelated parts: a reflection on the foundational documents of Jesuit Education, a presentation of our current global reality and the presentation of 10 Global Identifiers of Jesuit Schools to help with the reflection on what makes a Jesuit school Jesuit.
The introduction of both the Universal Apostolic Preferences and the new “Living Tradition” Document will no doubt help shape and deepen much of the work being done in Jesuit schools across the world over the coming years and we look forward to seeing how they influence the growth of the Educate Magis global community.
Our Global Network
In October we celebrated the 2-year anniversary of JESEDU-Rio2017 – the first International Congress of Jesuit Education Delegates. This Congress concluded the first cycle of International Gatherings “Walking as a global Network at the Service of the Mission”: ICJSE Colloquium (Boston-2012), SIPEI Seminar (Manresa-2014), JESEDU-Rio Congress (Rio de Janeiro-2017). The second cycle “Discovering our Apostolic Global Potential” will begin in July 2020 with the II Colloquium JESEDU-Jogja in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. The second JESEDU-Rio2017 anniversary was a wonderful opportunity to pause and celebrate the ongoing journey of awareness and implementation of the 13 Actions from the JESEDU-Rio2017 Action Statement. Throughout the year we shared Interviews with Education Delegates from different Provinces and Regions in which they shared how they have been working on the JESEDU-Rio Actions in their Province and schools.
Through out 2019 we saw many engaging and fruitful conversations happening in our global community. Interesting projects, ideas and discussions emerged from your participation in “Conversations” on Educate Magis. We had great discussions about the Universal Apostolic Preferences, Global Citizenship, the environment, curricular and extra-curricular subjects such as Chess virtual connections, Music and Flipped Classrooms, important reflections on the Examen, discerning the role of social media in Jesuit schools, the IPP, your dream for your country and more. Here is a summary of the Top 10 conversations from 2019 for you to enjoy.
- In 2019 we had a number of exciting Connected Classes where students from around the world came together online via video to share their work, perspectives and ideas with fellow students. In March we hosted a Connected Class on Caring for the Environment where students discussed the actions they are taking in their respective schools to Care for our Common Home.
- In May we hosted one on Interreligious Education where two experts on the topic shared their experiences and knowledge and students had a chance to ask questions and learn about the importance of listening and trusting others in beginning to engage in meaningful interreligious dialogue.
- To celebrate Ignatius Day in July we hosted a Connected Class where students prepared questions which they would have asked St. Ignatius if he was still alive today and their fellow students in other countries answered as they thought St. Ignatius would have answered. A fun and educational way for schools around the world to celebrate St. Ignatius Day!
- On the 4th of December, we hosted our third annual Global Christmas Celebration where students from different schools came together through Connected Classrooms to share some information about their schools, a Christmas song/poem/prayer or story they had prepared and finally a Global Christmas wish for all Jesuit schools around the world which we shared with the community on Christmas.
- Throughout the year we also had various schools using the Connected Classrooms tool to give their students an opportunity to engage with their peers from different countries to practice a language, learn about history, geography, science and other subjects.
Ignatian Global Citizenship
The area of Global Citizenship expanded and developed a lot in this past year. At the beginning of 2019 the Secretariat convened a global taskforce to work on Global Citizenship. Throughout 2019 the taskforce, with members from the six Jesuit regions of the world as well as JRS-Education and Fe y Alegría came together virtually in a creative and inspiring process over a number of months to deliberate and understand what Global Citizenship means in an Ignatian context, what it means for our schools and how we can educate our students, in a truly Ignatian way, to be global citizens. The work of the Secretariat Global Citizenship Taskforce has been integrated into the Global Citizenship section of Educate Magis, providing us with a framework and resources we can use to deepen the global dimensions of our schools and classrooms. The work is presented through a set of interactive and practical web pages (under Global Citizenship) which show:
- An Ignatian Definition and an overview of the following pages
- Ignatian Historical and Contemporary Context
- A Way of Proceeding: A Historical Approach
- Activities and Plans
Continuing to Grow
These are just some of the things which stand out as we reflect on the year gone by. There were of course so many other global conversations, connections, initiatives, prayers, materials and experiences shared by you – the members of our diverse, colourful and continuously growing global community. Thank you so much for all you bring to this community! We look forward to continuing this journey together.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”