Task Force on Reconciliation and Peace: Universities at the Service of Healing a Wounded World

We arrived in Boston with the objectives of continuing to advance in the clarification of the reconciliation mission, to encourage commitment from the universities and to invite to the articulation of resources through networking. As a result of the invitation of Father General Arturo Sosa SJ. concerning the 'university as a source of reconciled life and peace', we presented a panel to share some keys on how our universities can evolve and become more and more a space that promotes reconciliation.

Based on the substantive functions of universities, Luis Felipe Gómez SJ, rector of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Cali, Elias O. Opongo SJ, director of the Center for Research, Training and Publications of the Hekima Peace Institute, Alma O. Salvador, professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, Enrique Sanz SJ, rector of the Pontificia Universidad Comillas, and Jorge Humberto Pelaez SJ, rector of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá, presented some of the lessons they have learned through university practices that focus on promoting reconciliation in diverse global contexts.

These experiences have highlighted the importance of discerning the role of Ignatian spirituality and its methods in working for reconciliation as an added value in the work that we can do from the academic institutions of the Society of Jesus. There, some aspects of Ignatian pedagogy that bring us closer to understanding the complexities of the context, the application of reflective research methodologies, the formation of leaders for reconciliation, justice and social responsibility, transdisciplinarity, active listening, dialogue and advocacy at all levels become some of the many keys that inspire the differential work of the Society of Jesus in this area.

If you want to watch the conference again, you can do so here.

These practical and concentrated experiences, together with the feedback received in different spaces during the IAJU Assembly in Boston, invite us to continue articulating efforts to advance in the clarification of a concept and practice of Ignatian and discerned reconciliation. A challenge whose initial basis can be found in the book "International Ignatian Reconciliation Conference: From Crisis and Confrontation to Salvation and Forgiveness: How is Reconciliation Possible?".

An invitation to continue on the path of reconciliation:

"Our world is facing the worst peace and security crisis seen in the last few years" is a statement made by Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations that makes visible the challenges as we continue to move forward in the work for reconciliation: differential affectations of the most vulnerable, growing polarisation, migration, violence in all its expressions, etc.

In this context we are urgently called to take action and to be partners in the mission of reconciliation to heal the wounds of the world and to re-establish just relationships with God, with others and with creation.

To this end, we will continue to make progress in strengthening 3 projects:

  • Mapping initiatives and strengthening the geo-viewer (interactive map)that allows us to know the peace and reconciliation initiatives led by the academic institutions of the Society of Jesus. We fully believe that making our practices visible allows us to identify the challenges at local, regional and global levels, but also to build bridges to advance in the strengthening of the mission (you can learn how the tool works by clicking here). Let us know what you are currently working on in the framework of the mission of reconciliation:

  • Jesuit Peace and Reconciliation Institutes - JesPRIis a collaboration of centres, institutes or university departments working for peace and reconciliation that mobilise the discernment of the mission of reconciliation and dynamise the work of the Task Force from the universities based on the needs/opportunities of the Provincial Conferences. This group will continue to advance in the conceptual and methodological clarification of Ignatian and discerned reconciliation through bi-monthly meetings and concrete commitments.
  • ReconciliaNet is a community for sharing good practices, learning and exchanging experiences around the mission. For the first semester of 2023, we will work hand in hand with the 'Best Practices in Jesuit Higher Education' programme by sharing the good practices collected in the latest volume on reconciliation.

Watch the inaugural session of the webinars "The Challenges of Reconciliation for Jesuit Institutions of Higher Education Today".

Contact us if you are a member of a centre or institute and/or have an interest in advancing the strengthening of peace and reconciliation work: [email protected].

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