Global challenges impact us all, solutions to these challenges require ways of thinking and acting that transcend national borders. In this new global context, there is an urgent need to form a different kind of political, civic, social and economic leaders. It was Fr Arturo Sosa, SJ, at the IAJU Deusto Assembly in 2018 who reminded all Jesuit higher education leaders that “seeing ourselves as world citizens should be one of the outcomes of studying in a Jesuit university. It is an essential element in the kind of humanity that Jesuit education seeks to support and foster”.
It is in response to this global situation and paradigm that the “Magis Exchange” program was born. Magis Exchange is an innovative and one-of-a-kind higher education student exchange program of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU). Its goal is to build cohorts of citizens who have participated in a semester-long academic and service-learning international exchange program rooted in the Jesuit tradition.
Magis Exchange is the fruit of the initiative, imagination and collaboration of a group of international relations leaders from Jesuit universities from all over the world. After more than five years of dialogue, in 2018, the Magis Exchange Working Group, with representatives from the different regional associations, was constituted to set up the bases of the multilateral agreement and bring the program forward.
The program was launched during the summer of 2020, within a pandemic context, with the partaking of 28 Jesuit universities from all around the world. After a year, we are launching the second cohort of the program, and we have counted with the participation of 30 students and 15 universities. Universidad Loyola Andalucía assumed the coordination of the program for a term of three years.
Magis Exchange seeks to promote Ignatian "men and women for others" in a cross-cultural setting and to foster leadership and reflection about current pressing social and environmental issues. During the program, apart from the international academic experience, Magis students participate in a service/mission experience in their international destination and in a Global Environmental Citizen course, this course is sponsored and led by the Healing Earth Team at Loyola University Chicago.
As Jesuit universities, we hope that Magis Exchange will continue to grow and consolidate as the COVID-19 pandemic fades away and leaves a more certain future. We want the program to be more universal and more accessible for students from every context, since some of them continue to withdraw their applications for financial constraints.
Would your university like to join the program? Are you interested in signing the Magis Exchange multilateral agreement? Please, contact Ignacio Garrido Cruz, Ignacio@iaju.org and apply.
*We want to officially thank the late Gerardo Marin, former Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs at University of San Francisco, for his inspiration and leadership to put this program in motion.
*Thank you also to the Global Competitiveness Leadership program at Georgetown University, which provided the perfect space to ideate the processes, the struture and the "finances" of the program.