The 13th Annual Meeting of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Asia Pacific (AJCU-AP) in Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea. August 20-21, 2013

The 13th Annual Meeting of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Asia Pacific (AJCU-AP) was held in Sogang University from 20 to 21 of August 2013.

The meeting began with a welcome dinner at the Steve Kim Hall of the Arrupe Building in Sogang University. Prof. Jae H. Roe, DIrector of the Office of International Affairs and representative of Sogang University to AJCU-AP, welcomed the participants. Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ gave a status report of the AJCU-AP highlighting on the Regional Consortia created in 2010, Service Learning Program, Responsible Leadership Program, Growing a Green Campus Program, Education Assistance to the Myanmar Mission, and AJCU-AP Assistance to the victims of Typhoon Bopha. Fr. Tabora also gave an overview of the meeting and noted that of the 17 charter and regular members, 16 higher education institutions and endeavors from 7 countries are represented by 20 delegates. Among the delegates are 11 CEOs which means there is a quorum.

Dinner was served and welcome toasts were given by Prof. Ki-Pung Yoo, President of Sogang University, and Fr. Won-Sik Sin, SJ, Provincial Superior of the Korean Province of the Society of Jesus.

After the welcome dinner, participants went up to the 11th floor of the Arrupe Building to the Skyview Hall for the CEO sharing. All participants were invited to share on recent projects and programs of their institutions.

CEO Sharing

Prof. Jae Roe, of Sogang University, shared that they have a new President, Dr. Ki-Pung Yoo and on their plans for a second campus. Relations with some of the AJCU-AP members were also discussed by Prof. Roe, like the online course content program with the Ateneo de Manila University. He announced that the Sogang University-Business School will be hosting the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools (IAJBS) Meeting in 2014 and to another meeting, this time of the Association of Jesuit Universities and Colleges in the United States (AJCU) for a mid-year meeting of the International Education Conference of AJCU in Lima, Peru, February 24-27, 2014. Prof. Roe also shared about the “Green Campus” efforts of Sogang University focusing on cutting energy use.

Fr. Thierry Meynard, SJ of the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies shared about the political and economic situation in China, noting the tension between economic liberalism and conservatism. He shared about his works as Director of the Beijing Center and as a professor at Sun Yat Sen University. He said that Bejing Center is based in a State University, operating in semi-autonomy. Fr. Meynard shared that they have more freedom in their center, citing that they have available books of the Dalai Lama in their library. Fr. Meynard then talked about the proposed Hong Kong Liberal Arts College and some of the issues it had to hurdle.

Fr. Julio Giulietti, SJ of Loyola Vietnam Center said that the economic situation in Vietnam is very much like that in China. He also shared about their evangelization works in Vietnam starting with the people and communities they are working with – by developing relationships of respect and friendship with their partners. Fr. Giulietti shared that their relationship with the people they are working with is that of a partner, and not dictated by someone. They are very careful of this particular hegemony in their operation.

Fr. Gerry Healy, SJ of the Intellectual Apostolate of the Australian Province, shared about their efforts in teacher education in East Timor particularly in the newly-established St. Ignatius College. They help in capacity-building for the educators of this school and in crafting the curriculum for the courses. He meanwhile shared that it is very difficult to attract staff to work at the college.

Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ of Ateneo de Manila University, shared that last year he was in the middle of the Reproductive Health Bill storm and they had to contend with the issue of what being a Catholic University means. He also shared about the pressure on his institutions to be both a research university and an international university, to expand new horizons and not just be relevant in Manila but also of the world.

Prof. Angela Yiu of Sophia University shared that they are celebrating, this year, their 100th anniversary as a university and that she is proud that the university has managed to be a Catholic and Jesuit university in a non-Catholic country. She mentioned the dual duty of the university in research and education, as well as its civic duties. Prof. Yiu shared about territorial disputes with Korea and China as well as war crimes in the past, saying that East Asia looks peaceful for the moment but underneath it is trouble boiling, and that it is the duty of educational institutions to promote reconciliation and real understanding of peace. She added that Sophia University is reaching out to Southeast Asian schools admitting that they must have strong ties with their neighboring region and to strengthen mobility with Southeast Asian universities.

Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ of Xavier University shared about the effort of their university to resettle the communities affected by Typhoon Washi which claimed many lives in December 2011. They donated 5 hectares of land as a resertlement site on their 80th anniversary, had a formal turn-over ceremony with the beneficiaries. He shared that the project involved everyone in the university – constructio of houses were supervised by the Engineering Schools, management of psychological trauma by the Psychology Department, etc. He added that they are also working on values formation for all those who are going to be resettled, and that they are not just building houses but most importantly, building a community.

Fr. Primitivo Viray, Jr., SJ of Ateneo de Naga  University shared that they have just launched the celebration of their 75th anniversary and they are on the process of looking back at their own history as well as looking forward to the future. He shared about their new plans for the grade school saying that the future is their frontier, and that Jesuit education is from Kinder to Higher Education. He shared that Ateneo de Naga University is providing scholarship for poor children and that 1 out 5 students is a scholar. He is hoping that they can also give more scholarships to the future grade school students.  Fr. Viray also shared about their wonderful experience hosting the Service Learning Program for this year.

Prof. Yuji Kawano of Elisabeth University of Music shared that they have international students enrolled this year. Classed are conducted in English for these students. Prof. Kawano shared that they have exchange events lined up for this year with a school from Thailand, and a joint concert on the 22nd of September in Hiroshima, Japan. They also have a series of peace and solidarity concerts together with a Buddhist school, as part of their inter-religious efforts. He also shared that they currently have students from East Timor doing graduate school.

Fr. Adriano Tapiador, SJ of Loyola College of Culion talked about the crisis they are facing. He shared that the school was supported by a Spanish foundation, but with the financial problem in Spain, that same foundation withdrew its support. The challenge for their school now is how to sustain their operation. He shared that they had to downsize, closing their grade school and questioning the very mission of the school. He said that Loyola College of Culion used to be a school for the children of lepers but now that leprosy has been cured, their presence in the island is also being questioned. Fr. Tapiador said that a committee has already been formed to discern on the next actions for the school.

Fr. David Yen, SJ of Fu Jen Catholic University shared about the nature of their university co-administered by the Order of Preachers, Society of Jesus, Order of St. Benedict and  Society of the Divine Word. Fr. Yen also talked about their efforts on the Growing a Green Campus program and their Service Learning Program to the Philippines and other social engagements of the university.

Fr. Kuntoro Adi, SJ of Sanata Dharma University shared that Fr. Paul Priyotamtama, SJ will be ending his term as President of Sanata Dharma. Fr. Adi also talked about the different programs of Sanata Dharma University in internationalizing, he added that programs such as the Service Learning Program and Global Leadership Programs are very popular among the students and that they are now thinking internationally. He also shared that they are currently organizing their alumni.

Fr. Agus Sriyono, SJ of ATMI-Surakarta Polytechnic shared that he is the new president. He shared that ATMI is now a good model for a vocational school, with many coming to their institution to learn how to operate vocational school. He added that they have 1 machine each student, and is now focusing on plastics. He emphasized on educative production and production that supports education. He shared that in ATMI, they prepare students so that they are also good instructors, to support other vocational schools in Indonesia.

Ms Elisabeth Enerio of Xavier University also shared that they are in contact with the Service Learning Program of Sanata Dharma University for exchanges. She suggested to the body an alumni association of the SLP participants be organized.

Fr. Gabriel Gonzales, SJ of Ateneo de Davao University shared on the converging movements within their university on intercultural and inter-religious dialogue led by the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Dialogue. He also shared that they have arrangements with a theologate run by Redemptorist priests. Fr. Gonzales shared about new courses offered by the Ateneo de Davao in line with their mission: BS Environmental Science, MA Anthropology and MA in Tropical Risk Management. He also shared about the three councils operating in the university; the Academic Council, University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council, and the University Research Council.

Dr. Alfredo Fabay of Ateneo de Naga University shared that the climate of education in the Philippines is fluid because of the K-12 program (Kindergarten to 12 years of Basic Education), adding 2 more years in basic education. He shared on the impacts of this new national education program specially on enrolment and deployment of teachers. He said that they are currently looking at the flexibility available to them in order to manage transition.

Fr. Michael Garanzini, SJ of the International Committee on Jesuit Higher Education shared about the Hong Kong Project. He shared that there are questions that need to be answered: who are the students? (if this is the rich, why bother?), what is liberal education in China? Who are the faculty? How to train faculty to teach humanistic education in a country with no humanistic education for a long time? Fr. Garanzini also said that there are so many Westerners in this project, and further shared that it must based in Asia, in close collaboration with its sister Jesuit-institutions in Asia.

The CEO Sharing ended at 9:00 in the evening.

Talk of Fr. Michael Garanzini, SJ and Fr. Friedrich Bechina, FSO

The formal meeting commenced the following morning at the Conference Room of the POSCO Francisco Hall.

Fr. Michael Garanzini, SJ, chair of the International Committee of Jesuit Higher Education, and Fr. Friedrich Bechina, FSO, Undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, each gave a talk on Jesuit and Catholic education in Asia Pacific. Fr. Garanzini stressed on Catholic Social Learning and the importance of contact other than concepts in our universities.

(Transcript of the talks will be made available).

Report on the SLP 2012

In the afternoon session, Fr. Kuntoro Adi, SJ reported on the Service Learning Program hosted by Sanata Dharma University. 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.

Business Meeting

In the Business Meeting, the CEOs had to elect a new vice-chair because Fr. Paulus Wiryono Priyotamtama’s term as President of Sanata Dharma University has ended. Fr. David Yen, SJ of Fu Jen Catholic University was elected as vice-chair for a three-year term.

With inputs coming from the International Networking Officers’ meeting, as reported by Prof. Jae Roe, an Alumni Association of the Participants to the AJCU-AP Service Learning Program was created through a resolution of the board. The International Networking Officers will organize the said association.

It was also resolved that each member institution awards credit to the participants of the Service Learning Program. It will be the responsibility of individual school based on the capacity of the schools.

The body resolved that the Regional Consortia created in 2010 be abrogated on the basis of inefficiency. It was further resolved that each member may network reseach and outreach activities with any of the member-institutions, focusing on 3 major themes:

  1. Peace and Reconciliation
  2. Environmental, Economic and Social Sustainability; and
  3. Intercultural and Inter-religious Dialogue.

Call for papers, proposals and progress reports shall be submitted to the AJCU-AP Secretariat (ajcuap@gmail.com). The Secretariat shall act as the clearing house for communication.

It was also resolved that the next meeting of the AJCU-AP will be in the Philippines. The host university and date of the meeting will be announced later.

Finally, resolutions of thanks were given to Sogang University, especially the Office of International Affairs, for hosting the meeting, and to Fr. Michael Garanzini, SJ and Fr. Friedrich Bechina, FSO for sharing their time and knowledge as resource persons for the meeting.

Closing

Fr. Friedrich Bechina, FSO presided over the closing Eucharist at the Jesuit Community Chapel in Sogang University.

The closing dinner was enjoyed by all in Sortino’s, an Italian restaurant in Itaewon-dong in Downtown Seoul, hosted by Professor Ki-Pung Yoo, President of Sogang University.

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