Below you will find the position papers for the six IAJU Task Forces, full papers are available to download at the bottom of the screen:
Civic and Political Leadership Formation
Every university is a “proyecto social” either challenging or reproducing the status quo. Every university president is therefore a political leader. Presidents make public statements together, when appropriate, around vitally important national and regional issues.
In an era where politics are degraded an awareness of this greater social and political responsibility is more critical than ever -- linking politics to ethics, responding to concrete situations, and accompanying processes of growth, transformation, and reconciliation.The entire university community is called to exercise broader social and political leadership. We should bring a positive conception of “politics as charity” (Pope Francis) to universities.
Jesuit universities should engage both with political class and civil society to contribute to the common good and promote justice and reconciliation in local, national and global society. This political and social horizon and responsibility should permeate the teaching, research, service, and administrative activities of our institutions.
Institutions should take leadership programs and approaches beyond business schools. Because every university is a “proyecto social” every university leader is a political leader. Universities should identify and cultivate leadership talent among Jesuits and lay. Not everybody has that talent.
Education of the Marginalized
Jesuit education is empowering. The God of the Bible stands with the poor, orphans, widows, and foreigners. Yahweh stood by the poor and the suppressed. He brought out of Egypt the enslaved people with ‘mighty hand and outstretched arm’ (Deut 7:19) and made them a great nation. And Jesus took his stand with the poor and the marginalized. His mission was to proclaim good news of freedom to the unserved (Lk 4:18); and his kingdom belongs to the poor (Mt 5:3). In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31), Jesus names the poor as Lazarus (whom God helps) but no name is given to the rich man, in contrast to the world’s practice of recognizing and celebrating the rich and the powerful while ignoring and sidelining the poor.
Environmental & Economic Justice
The Church under Pope Francis has taken a leadership role in promoting economic and environmental justice. Laudato Si’ has captured the respect of the world’s leaders and the enthusiastic support of those interested in addressing our growing economic inequality within and between nations. By linking the environmental crisis to its roots in economic forces, and calling for an integral environmental humanism, the Church has pointed to economic, social, political and psychological changes that are necessary if we are to survive in our “common home”. How can all of our institutions take a leadership role in addressing these two challenges, which amount to different sides of the same coin?
Inter-religious Dialogue and Understanding
Our Jesuit universities inhabit a globally-linked world made up of a vastly different religious contexts. In some locations, religious plurality – where Christians may be in a minority or a majority, or where Christianity is just one of many forms of social identity – has been a normal part of daily living for centuries. That very plurality may be lived harmoniously, or be the source of social division, tension, and conflict. Many Jesuit universities and institutions of higher education are located in societies more recently affected by changes in religious makeup, due to the movement of populations, or political shifts, or changes in commonly held beliefs or practice. Some environments are affected by violence fueled by religious tensions or the rise of religious fundamentalism. Others find themselves in the middle of growing religious indifference (especially on the part of the young) or of secularization process that range from the subtle to the aggressive. Overall, religious pluralism is a growing and increasingly important feature of many societies.
Leadership in an Ignatian Way of Proceeding
The future of Jesuit education relies on the availability of people, Jesuits and colleagues in mission alike, who are fully capable of leading universities and colleges in a manner consistent with and devoted to the mission of the Society of Jesus. This availability depends on the ongoing intention to cultivate such mission inspired leaders and to invest in formational opportunities characterized by an Ignatian way of proceeding, a manner that is both faithful to our nearly 500 year old tradition while at the same time constantly discerning, creative, and evolutionary. While such intentions and opportunities exist currently at the local, regional, national, and international levels, we propose that the emerging global network of Jesuit institutions of higher education presents an opportunity to leverage essential resources even more effectively and sustainably for the long term service of the mission priorities of the apostolate of Jesuit higher education. In addition to forming leaders for this mission, the other priorities are: education of the poor and marginalized; education of civic and political leaders for the common good; the promotion of integrated approaches to economic and environmental justice; dialogue and understanding in a religiously pluralistic world; and efforts for peace and reconciliation.
Peace and Reconciliation
The intellectual apostolate plays a key role in responding to the call of the 36th General Congregation to a ministry of reconciliation that has three dimensions: reconciliation with God, within humanity and with creation itself. Through our global networks and resources, Jesuit post-secondary institutions, research centres and peace institutes offer unique opportunities to foster understanding, dialogue and reconciliation between divided communities. Each carries out this ministry of reconciliation in a particular context that may be marked by alienation and division due to the legacy of injustice, violence and colonialism.
In the spirit of GC36, Jesuit post-secondary institutions are called to promote peace and reconciliation in a variety of ways. Through depth of inquiry and critical thinking, we assist students in understanding the roots of conflict and injustice that divide communities. Through the liberal arts and social sciences, we help students appreciate multiple perspectives, forming them to be engaged global citizens able to build bridges across cultural and ideological divides. Through service learning experiences, Jesuit educational institutions immerse students in the lived reality of division, inviting them to promote a culture of dialogue, encounter and healing. Through research, Jesuit universities and institutes promote a deeper understanding of the causes of conflict with a view to developing initiatives that foster peace and reconciliation. Through local, national and global networks, Jesuit institutions are well positioned to advocate for those affected by conflict, in cases even convening parties formerly estranged by division and hostility. Working through a truly global network, Jesuit post-secondary institutions can map best practices to facilitate wider collaboration between them in peace and reconciliation.