AJCUAP Chairman’s Report Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. August 21, 2013, Sogang University

At the outset I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our hosts: Fr. Jung Taek Kim, S.J., Chair of the Board of Trustees of Sogang University; Dr. Ki Pung Yoo, President of Sogang University; Dr. Jae H. Roe, Vice President for International Affairs, and Mr. Wan Rai “David” Cho.

As Chair of the AJCU-AP, it is my privilege in Sogange to welcome you all to this Annual Meeting.

At the outset I would like to welcome Fr. Michael Garanzini, S.J, Assistant of Fr. General Nicolas for Higher Education.

We are also very privileged to welcome Rev. Fr. Friedrich Bechina, Undersecretary of the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation of Catholic Schools.

Happily, we are blessed with the special envoys of two “friends in the Lord” in Rome, of Fr. General Nicolas and of His Holiness, Pope Francis.  Both shall have opportunity to give us their special messages.

On our rosters, we have 17 member-institutions in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Asia Pacific.

  • Ateneo de Davao University
  • Ateneo de Manila University
  • Ateneo de Naga University
  • Ateneo de Zamboanga University
  • ATMI Surakarta Polytechnic
  • Elisabeth University of Music
  • Fu Jen Faculty of Theology of St. Robert Bellarmine
  • Intellectual Apostolate, Higher Education of Australia – Australian Province
  • Jesuit Apostolate at Fu Jen Catholic University
  • Loyola Center in Vietnam (Loyola University Chicago – Vietnam Office)
  • Loyola College of Culion
  • Loyola School of Theology
  • Sanata Dharma University
  • Sogang University
  • Sophia University
  • The Beijing Center
  • Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan

Sixteen higher education institutions and endeavors from 7 countries are represented by 20 delegates today.  Among us are 11 CEOs, which means we have a quorum.  I welcome all!
I would like to specially welcome our new CEOs/presidents: Fr. Agus Sriyono, SJ., of Politeknik ATMI-Surakarta; and, most especially, from our host university, Prof. Ki-Pung Yoo of Sogang University.   Fr. Karel San Juan, newly elected president of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, was all set to come, but his airline, Zest Air, was temporarily shut down by the Philippine Government.  In Sanata Dharma, we have been informed by Fr. Paul Wiryono Priyotamtama, President of Sanata Dharma, that its foundation and the Indonesian Provincial have selected one of their lay partners, Dr. Yohannes Eka Priyatma to replace him as President of Sanata Dharma.
As we welcome our new CEO’s, we express our gratitude for past CEO’s who have contributed substantially to the work of AJCUAP:  first and foremost, to Fr. Wiryono “Paul” Priyotamtama, outgoing President of Sanata Dharma, who served AJCUAP as its vice-chair; and to Fr. Antonio Moreno, former President of Ateneo de Zamboanga, who now carries the burdens of the Provincial of the Philippine Province.
It is always something of grace when we come together in Jesus’ name in order, as our Constitution states, “to support and promote Jesuit higher education in this region.”  We come together in the AJCU-AP “to promote friendship in service and leadership, to share discernment in mission, to facilitate cooperation and service, to develop the appropriate ‘Jesuit’ brand of higher education, to engage in strategic planning, projects and programs for the higher educational apostolate in the Asia Pacific, and so in higher education to propagate the faith, promote justice, appreciate culture, and engage in inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.”   We come together as a network of  institutions and of friends sharing the same Jesuit tradition of education. 
Just a brief review of where we are:

Regional Research Consortia
Inspired by the address of Fr. General Adolfo Nicolas to Jesuit educators in Mexico in April, 2010, we organized in the same year four (4) Regional Research Consortia which aims at shared projects of service to the community and mission-oriented research.  These Regional Research Consortia are the following:

  • Atheism, Secularism, Fundamentalism, and Inter-Religious Dialogue
    • Headed by Sanata Dharma University
    • Members are: Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Loyola School of Theology, Sogang University and Sophia University
  • Faith and Culture
    • Headed by Sogang University
    • Members are: Elisabeth University of Music, Ateneo de Naga University, Loyola School of Theology, Sophia University and Ateneo de Manila University
  • Poverty, Migration and Injustice
    • Headed by Ateneo de Manila University
    • Members are the Intellectual Apostolate of Australia, Loyola College of Culion, Xavier University, Sanata Dharma University, ATMI Surakarta Polytechnic and Sogang University
  • Environment and Climate Change
    • Headed by Sophia University
    • Members are Ateneo de Davao University, Ateneo de Naga University, Sanata Dharma University, ATMI Surakarta Polytechnic and Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan

Sogang University (Faith and Culture Consortium) hosted an international conference on the theme “Faith and Culture” from April 12 – 13, 2012. Researchers and faculty members from AJCUAP member schools presented their papers in this conference. Ateneo de Manila University (Poverty, Migration and Injustice) continues with collaborative efforts with other Jesuit institutions like the Center for International Business Ethics to provide venues for researches especially on the Asian Dimension of Teaching Business Ethics. Sophia University (Environment and Climate Change) hosted an international conference for AJCU-AP member-schools and government agencies on climate change. The conference was titled “Coping with Climate Change and Environmental Degradation: Theories and Practical Options” conducted on March 23-24, 2012.
Yet the survey conducted during the annual meeting of 2012 shows that not much has been done with regards to collaborative researches among AJCU-AP schools. It is one of the agenda of this two-day meeting to re-visit the presupposition of our collaboration, including the responsibilities of the lead schools, the determination of the research agenda, the contributing schools, scope of collaboration, point persons, and funding.

Service Learning Program
Our shared desire to form our students for active participation in the church and in the local community, in the service of others despite cultural diversity,  has also encouraged us to conduct an annual AJCUAP-wide Service Learning Program (SLP). The SLP has proven to be a strong collaborative program among our member-institutions often cited for its unique inter-institutional and multi-cultural nature and its strong Jesuit Spirituality anchor.
Last year’s SLP was hosted by Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on August 5-25, 2012. The theme was: “One Earth, Many Religions: Constructing Dialogue and Solidarity towards the Integrity of Creation”.  The SLP 2012 was participated in by 37 students and 6 faculty members of AJCUAP with 4 countries participating (Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines). Our SLP consists of 4 programs: Introduction and orientation, exposure, immersion and reflection.
During the SLP 2012, participants visited various religious communities in Yogyakarta (Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Indigenous communities) in which they were given the opportunity to look closely, ask questions, share experience and even get involved in some religious rituals of the communities. The SLP also included an immersion program in Wonogondang and Somohitan in the slope of Mt. Merapi and participants were involved in replanting the area and experienced living and working like the locals for a week. Reflection sessions were conducted daily and a follow-up plan of actions was made by the participants as part of the program.
This year’s SLP is being hosted by the Ateneo de Naga University with the theme “Love for Poor”. It started last August 5 and will be concluded this coming August 24. 40 students are part of this year’s SLP, from Sogang University, Ateneo de Naga University, Ateneo de Davao University, Loyola College of Culion, Sanata Dharma University, Sophia University, Elisabeth University of Music, Xavier University and Ateneo de Zamboanga University. By this time, outside of the introduction to the peculiarly religious culture in Bikol and its poverty, they are already 50% through with the construction of a house, powered by solar energy, for a poor family of Calabanga, Camarines Sur in the Bikol Region, Philippines.  One student from Sophia even works on it during breaks, and has taken it on as part of his mission to see to its completion.

Responsible Leadership Program
In the 2011 annual meeting of Sophia University, we invited Fr. Stephan Rothlin to talk about Leadership in our institutions. Based on inputs from Fr. Rothlin the board approved Resolution no. 1-2011 establishing in AJCU-AP member-schools interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate programs in responsible leadership based on inputs from the Center of International Business Ethics (CIBE).
With this impetus, several members sent their faculty members to the CIBE-Ateneo de Manila Conference/Workshop on Business Ethics, held last August 2011 and 2012 in Manila, Philippines. Meanwhile, Xavier University has included Business Ethics in their new curriculum and a Social Entrepreneurship Program was established following inputs from CIBE. Sogang University reported that it has a new “Center for Whole Persons Education” which provides leadership and service learning programs, and aims to provide a core education program for all undergraduate students that will develop responsible leaders for South Korea and the global world.
Loyola Vietnam Center reported that they are in constant communication with the CIBE regarding programs on responsible leadership. Although not a campus, Loyola Vietnam Center works with Vietnamese university faculty, staff and leaders, working with these institutions in training programs for Vietnamese universities, medical schools and small and medium enterprises. Ateneo de Manila University is in partnership with CIBE for the Teaching Business Ethics Conference, an annual gathering of teachers and practitioners. Ateneo de Manila will publish a case book featuring cases from Indonesia (Sanata Dharma University) and the Philippines (Ateneo de Manila University).
Ateneo de Davao University has created a Center for Leadership to facilitate an integrated and multi-level program of leadership formation with the mandate of promoting leadership among all students in general, based generally on an explicit concern for and commitment to the common good.  Ateneo de Zamboanga University has also established a Center for Leadership and Governance which assists and strengthens capacities of governance institutions and their civil society counterparts for further development objectives, policies and programs that ensure effective service delivery.

Growing a Green Campus
In the 2011 meeting, a resolution was also passed to support the “Growing a Green Campus” initiative of the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat. Here, I am happy to report that our member-schools are maintaining remarkable programs on environmental protection, awareness of issues, advocacy works and carbon-use reduction.   I refer you to the AJCUAP Survey Report for the rich list of programs being done in our schools. Noteworthy are:  Fu Jen’s energy conservation program, and environmental protection, Ateneo de Naga’s Faith Dimension of the program, Xavier University’s biopori technology, and Ateneo de Davao’s Ecoteneo.  This is anEcology Advocacy group composed of students and faculty that pushes environmental responsibility on campus and publicly opposes economic projects that endanger the environment..

Education Assistance to the Jesuit Mission in Myanmar
In 2012, Fr. Mark Raper, President of the Jesuit Conference in Asia Pacific, invited members of AJCU-AP to assist Jesuit schools under the Jesuit Mission in Myanmar.
At present, Ateneo de Davao is involved with assisting St. Aloysius Gonzaga English Language Institute (SAG) in Taunggyi, Myanmar through a Capability Enhancement Program. The program is a 5-year collaborative venture in which Ateneo de Davao conducts seminars and workshops for SAG instructors, awards non-degree Diplomas of Education to graduates of SAG Integrated Program, and provides scholarships to qualified applicants in the Master and Bachelor’s Degree programs at the Ateneo de Davao University for SAG instructors.
The first scholar for MA in Teaching English Language is already in Ateneo de Davao University for her classes while 2 Education instructors from Ateneo de Davao are currently in Taunggyi, Myanmar to train SAG instructors in teaching methods and curriculum development. I was informed that some public school teachers of Taunggyi are also attending that same training. Fr. Paul Dass, Director of the SAG, says that this indeed a good sign of hope for the education situation in Myanmar.
Both Sanata Dharma University and Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro are also actively assisting our Jesuit sister-schools in Myanmar, specifically the Campeon Institute in Yangon, Myanmar.

AJCUAP Assistance to the Victims of Typhoon Bopha (Pablo)
In December 3, 2012, Typhoon Bopha (local:  Typhoon Pablo) made landfall as a Category 5 Super Typhoon (with winds of 280 km/h) in the Southern Philippines. The death toll reached 1,067 people mostly from the southern island of Mindanao, where floods and landslides caused major damage. A total of 844 people remain missing.   More than 170,000 people fled to evacuation centers where the immediate need for humanitarian assistance was overwhelming.  I knocked on the doors of your institutions for help during the terrible days after the typhoon, when so many died, were wounded, lost their homes or schools, and our university community worked long and hard (sending out daily relief mission for two months)  to be of service to the victims of this typhoon.  I thank you as an Association, and especially Fu Jen Catholic University, Elisabeth University of Music, Sogang University , Sophia University, and our sister Ateneos and Jesuit schools in the Philippines for immediately sending us cash assistance.
Through your assistance we were able, first, to provide relief work for the people of stricken provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and Surigao del Sur;  we have also been able to contribute to the rehabilitation efforts of these people.  In daily relief mission over two months,  Ateneo de Davao University helped 71 communities in 19 municipalities affected by the typhoon. A total of 20,183 relief bags and 2,203 school kits have been distributed to approximately 121,098 persons displaced by the typhoon. Psychosocial interventions were provided to 3,597 individual children, mothers, fathers, soldiers and teachers. Medical assistance was given to around 739 patients, 24 solar charging panels and 5 generator sets installed. To date, a total of PHP 11,315,635.80 cash donations were received from various donors. The whole operation so far amounted to PHP 7,264,965.29. Therefore there is still PHP 4,050,670.51 cash remaining and available for more rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the region. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!  My heartfelt thanks to you all!

Ex corde ecclesiae: to the edges of society
Once again, welcome to this Annual Assembly of the AJCUAP!  With our special envoys from Rome, perhaps at this meeting we may gain deeper insight into  how we might together, as a network of Jesuit schools, continue to pursue our mission ex corde ecclesiae – from the heart of the Church.  Perhaps we might better understand how in this heart we might be motivated to not just more of the same but in the Light of the Faith, to go “to the frontiers” (Benedict XVI) and “to go to the edges of society”  (Francis) with the special gifts of our shared higher educational ministry.

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