Jesuit universities boost green initiatives

Jesuit schools in Asia Pacific are committed to growing green campuses in response to the Society’s growing ecological concern.  As a group, the members of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Asia Pacific (AJCU-AP) recognise the need to develop ways to reduce consumption of waste material and to find a means to recycle them. They deem it essential to lessen the consumption of energy, paper and water, and instead make use of clean energy to minimise the emission of greenhouse gases. They have also considered how architecture can be helpful to cut energy needs and save on water costs. “We engage vigorously in environmental protection as it is inseparable from the promotion of faith that does justice, cultural sensitivity and interreligious dialogue,” said AJCU-AP Chairperson and President of Ateneo de Davao University Fr Joel Tabora SJ in a recent lecture on Laudato si’ at his university.
<read full text>

A Teacher’s Journey to Animo Teaching in Myanmar by Riza Racho, PhD

DAY 1

Leaving home, stepping away from my comfort zone, doing without the comfortable and familiar is a step towards reclaiming my lost passion. I am so glad I am one of those who will work at St. Aloysius Gonzaga English Language Institute (SAG ELI).

Can I deliver? Will my fear of the unknown make me better able to deliver my lesson or will I let my fear control me? Will I do my magis there or will my fear pull me back from giving my best? I do not know. But what I do know is this: I travel this road only once, may the Lord be with me in this one-time journey to make a difference. <read full text>

Service Learning Program 2014: Engaging the Frontiers by Victoria Melissa C Pulido

Inspired by the 40th Year Anniversary of Fr Pedro Arrupe’s Historic Address on Jesuit Education apostolate entitled “Man for Others”, AJCU-AP Service Learning Program 2014 is themed as, “Jesuit Education in the Frontiers of Greater Societal Engagement”. The Program is aimed at: (1) Provide opportunity for interaction to Service Learning Communities to facilitate understanding of present social realities particularly in Mindanao. (2) Facilitate deepening and reflection sessions on Jesuit Ideals which will strengthen participants’ awareness and commitment to greater societal engagement (3) Engage participants to actual Service Learning projects in Xavier Ecoville to encourage initiatives and participation for sustainable community development

On August 4, 2014, Xavier University welcomed student and faculty participants from Sogang University-South Korea, Sophia University-Japan, Sanata Dharma University-Indonesia, Ateneo de Davao, Ateneo de Naga and Ateneo de Zamboanga Universities-Philippines to the AJCU-AP Service Learning 2014. There were 23 Student Participants who took part in the 24-day Service Learning Program at Xavier Ecoville and 11 Faculty Participants who took part in the 3-day Service Learning Program for Faculty.

<read full text> <

Our Shared Educational Mission in the Light of the Common Good by Fr. Patrick Riordan SJ

Is it unrealistic to reflect on the common good where the reality of our lives is difference, diversity, polarisation, disagreement and conflict? I don’t have to recall the diversity of languages, cultures, nationalities, religious and other world-views with which we engage. I am particularly interested in conflict. These are the more serious problems arising from the incompatibility of policies and purposes. Some want to achieve goals which jeopardize the goals and purposes of others. The opening and development of mines to excavate and extract coal, oil or minerals can threaten the livelihoods and cultures of the people under whose land the natural resources are found. The opening up of infrastructure can benefit peoples, but it can also undermine their indigenous way of life and their relationship with their environment. Roadways give people access to schools and hospitals and other amenities, but they also provide a route for loggers and those who will denude and exploit the natural environment. As we have too often experiences, the attempt to provide security can be counterproductive, stimulating fear and anxiety instead.
<read full text>

RESPONSE from:
Fr. Juliawan, Fr. Prakosa and Fr. Walpole

Annual Meeting of AJCU-AP held in Davao, Philippines

“Every Jesuit academy of higher learning is called to live in a social reality… and to live for that social reality, to shed university intelligence upon it and to use university influence to transform it.Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ

The Ateneo de Davao University in Davao City, Southern Philippines, hosted the Annual Meeting of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Asia Pacific (AJCU-AP), chaired by Fr. Joel Tabora, last 26-27 August.  Fr. Patxi Alvarez, Asst. to Fr. General for Social Justice and Ecology addressed the gathering “On the Role of Jesuit Universities and Social Justice,”  with Ateneo de Davao’s very own Datu Mussolini Lidasan sharing on “The Bangsamoro Accord and the Mindanao Struggle for Peace.”

Present in the meeting were the presidents and representatives of the different Jesuit Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in the Asia Pacific region: Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, Ateneo de Manila University, Fr. Primitivo Viray, Jr. and Fr. Wilfredo Samson, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Fr. Adriano Tapiador, Loyola College of Culion, Fr. Jose Quilongquilong, Loyola School of Theology, Fr. Roberto Yap, Xavier University, (PHI); Fr. Agus Sriyono, Politeknik ATMI-Surakarta, Fr. Patrisius Andalas, Sanata Dharma University, (IDN); Fr. Gerard Healy, Intellectual Apostolate of the Province of Australia, (AUS); Fr. Louis Gendron, Faculty of Theology of St. Robert Bellarmine in Fu Jen Catholic University, Fr. David Yen, Fu Jen Catholic University (TWN); Fr. Julio Giulietti, Loyola Vietnam Center, (VNM); Fr. Kim Yonghae, Sogang University, (KOR); Br. Mike Milward, Sophia University, (JPN); Fr. Wongvarn Manasan (THA).  Thailand is planning a tertiary-level school in the near future.

At the festive opening dinner, Fr. Dan McNamara (ADDU Jesuit Community) and Fr. Eric Velandria (Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific) welcomed all the participants to the Annual Meeting. The cultural troupe from Davao, Kaliwat Artists Collective, did not fail to get the Jesuit fathers  dancing to the ethnic rhythms, music and songs of Mindanao.

The usual exchanges of experiences among the university educators took place after the opening dinner. Some of the matters shared were about the new programs and endeavors of the member-institutions, and highlighted the diversity of contexts among the member-institutions. Among those who shared: Fr. Gendron regarding the operations of the Faculty of St. Robert Bellarmine of Theology, a Theologate in Fu Jen Catholic University (TWN). He shared that half of his students are religious from the different congregations in mainland China. Fr. Agus of Politeknik ATMI-Surakarta (IND) shared of his experiences in setting up several vocational schools in Indonesia. Fr. Viray of Ateneo de Naga University (PHL) brought to light the challenges of the educational reforms in the Philippines, especially with the addition of two years in basic education. He also highlighted the need to improve the Bikol region’s economy which can be done by assisting the government and private sector in tourism and other areas.
Fr. Giulietti of Loyola Center in Vietnam (VNM) talked about the situation in Vietnam and the context of communism and Marxist-Leninist philosophy in the country.

After the usual opportunity for the HEI CEO’s to share their experiences and bond, the keynote addresses were delivered this year from Fr. Patxi Alvarez, SJ, Asst. to Fr. General for Justice and the Ecology on “Jesuit Universities and Social Justice,” and from Datu Mussolini Lidasan, director of ADDU’s Al Qalam Institute, on “The Bangsamoro Accord and the Mindanao Struggle for Peace.”

Fr. Alvarez shared on the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat’s (SJES) project to publish a document on “The Promotion of Justice in the Universities of the Society of Jesus”. Part of this document  states that the raison d’être of Jesuit universities today is to respond to the Jesuit mission and to be inside the Church, as well as to bring forth an education characterized by utilitas, iustitia, humanitas et fides. He also mentions that the promotion of justice in universities will be in four areas: student promotion, university research, social projection (the university as a transformative institution), and a university community that promotes justice.

Datu Mussolini Lidasan discussed about the ongoing peace process between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). He shared on the historical contexts of the conflict and the recently-signed peace accord – the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. In his effort to define the Moro problem, he tried to analyze the situation through the interrelated settings of multi-cultures and multiple identities in the Bangsamoro society. He said “We need to widen our analysis to understand that the complexities of these identities may be classified into a political (Moro) or cultural identity (which may be a Maranao, Tausug, or Maguindanaon ) – each having its importance in their own ways.”

A lively interaction and sharing of insights followed. The speakers were asked questions, and possible ways were shared to discuss the issues and to raise awareness in the different member-institutions. The three Ateneos in Mindanao, for instance, have already formed a network to collaborate on peacebuilding efforts in their communities.

After the addresses, Fr. Viray of Ateneo de Naga University then gave a report on last year’s Service Learning Program (SLP). The 6th SLP was hosted by Ateneo de Naga University with the theme “Love for the Poor” from August 5 to 24. 40 students participated in the SLP, from Sogang University, Ateneo de Naga University, Ateneo de Davao University, Elisabeth University of Music, Xavier University, and Ateneo de Zamboanga University. The participants were introduced to the peculiarly religious culture in Bikol Region, Philippines and its poverty, and also constructed a house powered by solar energy, for a poor family of Calabanga, Camarines Sur, Bikol Region.

During the Business Meeting, it was decided that the 2015 Service Learning Program will be hosted by Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. It was also discussed how to improve networking among the members of the AJCU-AP with bilateral and multilateral projects to be coordinated by its secretary. The data from the ongoing survey of all the researchers from the member-institutions will be shared to facilitate better mobility and exchange of its researchers. It was also discussed during the business meeting that the system of reporting for the International Committee for Jesuit Higher Education (ICJHE) will be improved to include basic statistics relative to institutions, leadership structures, etc.The AJCU-AP participation in the forthcoming World Convention of Jesuit Colleges and Universities was also resolved. There was lively discussion on what the theme of this convention should be. Among the suggestions were: “Reinventing Jesuit Education in a Troubled World.”

The AJCU-AP will meet in Melbourne, Australia next year.

Romulo Vinci Bueza
September 15, 2014

General Information on the 2014 AJCU-AP Meeting Ateneo de Davao University Davao City, Philippines. August 26-27, 2014

Dear Members of AJCU-AP:

Christ’s Peace!

On behalf of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Asia and the Pacific, I am pleased to invite you to our Annual Meeting which will be held in the Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City, Philippines this 26-27 August 2014. Our meeting precedes the Association of Southeast and East Asian Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASEACCU) meeting which will be held on 28-30 August 2014, also in Ateneo de Davao University.

This year, Fr. Patxi Alvarez, SJ, head of the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat (SJES) of the Society of Jesus, will give a talk on the role of Jesuit universities in the promotion of social justice, especially in the context of the Asia-Pacific region.

A conversation session is also being prepared for inputs on the current peace process in the Philippines, particularly the Bangsamoro Peace Accord signed on March 14, 2014, which gives a hopeful resolution to the decades-old struggle for peace in Mindanao.

Attached is a copy of the program and some other information you need for your stay in Davao, Philippines. Please visit the association’s website to register: http://goo.gl/uC4j2S

A registration fee of US$280.00 will cover the meals, accommodation and materials. The Annual Membership Due is US$300.00. You may send via bank transfer or by check (to be collected at the venue). Below are the bank details:
Account name:  ADDU (Fr. Tabora and Bro. Pioquinto) please make checks payable to this account.
Dollar Account Number:  002-884-0071-97
Bank Name: Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
Swift Code: BOPIPHMM

For bank transfers, please note that the amount stated above is exclusive of bank charges.

Should you have any other topics, suggestions, issues and/or concerns that you wish to discuss during our meeting, please feel free to email us so that we can include them in our agenda. You can reach Mr. Vinci Bueza, AJCU-AP Secretary at ajcuap@gmail.com.

Thank you and see you on August 26!

Respectfully in our Lord,

(SGD) Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J.

Fourth Sophia-Sogang Festival of Exchange (SOFEX) Held in Tokyo

SOFEX is Sophia Sogang Festival of Exchange, where there are sports, cultural and academic exchanges of students and faculties held every year between these two Jesuit Universities, Sophia(Japan)  and Sogang(South Korea), since 2010.

Sophia University and Sogang University both being Jesuit institutions have always felt that we have so much in common.  The exchange between Sophia and Sogang had their origin in 1960 the year in which Sogang University was founded.  Later in 1983, we have concluded an agreement for exchange students and have been running a purposeful exchange program ever since to give students a chance to study and prepare for life together.

We have been holding SOFEX since 2010 and this will be our 4th Festival.  Through the SOFEX students will learn to appreciate great value of different cultures and bring out their own merits in dealing with this rapidly globalized society.

The fourth Sophia-Sogang Festival of Exchange was held at Sophia University in Tokyo November 14-16 with the participation of 140 students and 10 faculty members from Sogang. The two Catholic universities agreed in 2010 to hold an annual event of sports and cultural exchange at alternating venue. This year about 100 Sophia volunteer students including Korean students supported the event.

Following an opening game, basket ball match, and a reception on November 14, Shaolin kun fu, karate, and Taekwon-do were performed for the first time by students from the two schools on November 15 as well as regular events such as soccer, rock concerts, and Japanese and Korean traditional music presentation. Faculty members of both schools held active discussions on East Asia studies, theology, and science and technology.

On the last day Japanese students escorted the Sogang team to Tokyo Tower and Odaiba followed by a farewell reception where Sophia’s Latin American Music Club presented music and dance performance.

Fr. Michael Garanzini, SJ on Jesuit Higher Education Talk delivered during the Annual Meeting of AJCU-AP, Sogang University Seoul, South Korea. August 21, 2013

Let me begin by explaining to those of you, who are not aware, of a recent event in the Society of Jesus. Just three (3) weeks ago, on July 31st, the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Pope Francis celebrated mass with the Jesuits to honor the feast of Saint Ignatius in the Gesu church in the middle of Rome. Father General Adolfo Nicolas wrote to us that it was a very moving reunion of Pope Francis and the Society, and that it was a very moving experience to be there in the Gesu. Father General talked about the simplicity, the directness, and the warmth of this Pope. All of us are aware (I think it is not undiplomatic to say) that he has a different style, and the style, I feel, is going to help us because with the Church under Pope Francis, we can hope and increasingly move forward. The Church, I think, will be less Western and less focused on places like Europe and the United States, and increasingly looking to the South and to the East for the “Will of God”, for “What is the work to be done?” And I think the simplicity, the directness and the attention to the poor (that is going to be characteristic of this Papacy) is actually going to serve us because it will make us appeal, and appear to be more reachable for the people.

In the homily of Pope Francis, he called on us to remember two images. He is a Pope of few words and like a good Jesuit, he uses images. He said, “Recall Saint Francis Xavier on the shores looking to the land he could not reach,” China. And when we think of Saint Francis on the shore dying, unable to reach China, what do we think of St. Francis Xavier? Well, we think of zeal, we think of energy, we think of a passion for souls, we think of someone who is totally dedicated for the welfare of other people hungry to do God’s will and to go to places that are unusual, foreign or unknown to him.

The second image that he used was he recalled the last days of Father Pedro Arrupe; the General Arrupe joined those who are suffering, which he had always been attracted to and always thought extremely important. Recall the last days of his life when he had the debilitative stroke. He was left without speech, without the ability to move and care for himself, completely dependent on others. But the joy that came from Pedro Arrupe I remember because I visited him as a scholastic. I was just a young scholastic and it was, in fact, the feast of Saint Ignatius that four or five of us were allowed to go in and speak with him. We spoke to him and he just leaned. He could not speak to us, and he just had a beautiful face, yet this was a man who joined the suffering of the world, which he had always been interested in. There is a story, many of you, perhaps some of you know, that when Pedro Arrupe was a medical student before he became a Jesuit in Madrid, he volunteered with the Society to help pass out food to the poor and the hungry, and one day, he gave a roll, a small bread roll to a young boy and he said, “Well, I suppose this is your breakfast”, and the boy said to him, “No sir, this is my breakfast, my lunch and my dinner today”, and Pedro Arrupe said that he never forgot that. It was in contact with the poor that he was changed. It was the contact with the suffering in Hiroshima. You all know the story of him and the novices taking in people who had radiation burns; it was the direct contact with the poor. And speaking about the importance of contact, our next General [Kolvenbach] said that it is not in concepts that we become attuned to the needs of the poor, it is in contact. It is not in concepts that we’ll educate our students but it is in contact with those in need.

Now I want to remember those two images, first of all Xavier at the frontier and Pedro Arrupe with the poor and the suffering. I think these are two important images for those of us in education today.

Go to the frontiers, it was Benedict XVI who said to us at the opening of our General Congregation 35: “Reach the geographical and the spiritual places where others do not reach or find it difficult to reach”.

What are the frontiers today?  You know, when we speak of new frontiers, we do not talk about space anymore. We mostly think of Science and Technology as frontiers. They are no longer geographical; they are now frontiers of knowledge, whether they are the study of the mind, or the study of disease or technologies that allow us to communicate more rapidly. These are what people think of as the frontiers. You and I know, as educators, that some of the frontiers today in education are not really Science and Technological frontiers. There are issues of environmental preservation and sustainability, and the justice issues that it raises. Those are real. Those are real frontiers. Issues of justice, reconciliation and peace among peoples, those are the real frontiers. The globalized world, the network world (as we now talk about it) is a world where these two frontiers, environmental preservation, and the justice issues that it raises, plus peace and reconciliation among people, and the justice issues that it raises – these are the two places that will trip us up, that if we do not address would destroy us. I think those two issues deserve a great deal of attention on the part of us educators, who are thinking “What is the purpose and mission of our schools today?” “In what way, are we creating, forming, or transforming our students to become men and women who can play a leadership role in environmental sustainability and peace and reconciliation among peoples?”

In Pacem in Terris, Pope John XXIII said that, “acute suffering implies that the shape and structure of political models are inadequate to the task of creating a more just world”. We just celebrated the anniversary of Pacem in Terris, a document that has never been fully realized in terms of its lessons for us. What he was talking about there is that the world will require a different kind of leadership than the leadership it has now, because we will need to invent new ways of interacting with one another.

Governments are unable to solve the problems happening in the world. When I spoke with the business deans of our Jesuits schools (we have perhaps 90 to 100 schools of business in the Jesuit network), I said to them the same thing: that governments are not solving these problems. I said, “But you can play a very important role.” Unfortunately, governments do not listen to intellectuals; they don’t pay attention to scholars. They pay attention to the economic engines that drive your country. They pay attention to business leaders and the governments do what the business community wants them to do, we know that. They deal with pressures; they will put off the plight of the poor, the plight of the environment, the plight of peace. They will put those away if economic considerations trumped those issues.

We produce business, engineering and scientific leaders. What are we doing to create the men and women who will shape the new future? The Society of Jesus has been known to have invented, if you will, the modern liberal arts curriculum. It was 450 years ago that we drew on (in the West) the Classics, the Greek, the best of Renaissance and we educated men and women to be leaders for the community by giving them the competence and the capability that will allow them to be in tuned to the needs of the poorest, the needs of the local community. And for 400 years, when you say Jesuit Education you mean academic rigor, you mean competence, you mean people, students who are well equipped to critically evaluate what is happening in society.

Fr. Arrupe, because of his suffering, added an extremely important element to our history. Competence is no good without compassion, and compassionate leaders are people who know what suffering is about and who know what injustice is about. The Jesuit education today has to be about critical reflection. It has to be about competence in the professions, but it also has to be one in which the men and women we educate become compassionate people who are attuned to the suffering of those who are the subjects of injustice. That was Fr. Kolvenbach’s “contact and not concepts”.

The question for us today is, how can we train our students to be aware not only of the issues of environmental sustainability, and peace and reconciliation but also, how do we make them aware of the justice, the injustice, components that those two issues are part of? How do we make them people who are involved, in what Father Kolvenbach called “the nitty-gritty”, “the dirt, the mud” of the world, so that they will become the people who are touched – the same way Father Arrupe was touched by the young boy who he handed the bread roll to. He said, “I would never forget two things in my life. That young man and the fact that the clock at the mission in Hiroshima stopped that 1 o’clock, and the world changed, time stood still.”

When Father Adolfo Nicolas talked in Mexico City three years ago, he tried to lay out two things, two important points. Many of you had read the talk and you know that the first part of the talk is about the globalization of superficiality. The fact that our students today, our young people today, are exposed to stimuli and media, and even knowledge that comes to them quickly with little depth. There is little rigor, there is little work, even, that goes into the discovery of knowledge. You know well, as educators, that it is very hard to let them memorize anything today because they don’t need to. There is always the cell phone and on the cell phone, you can get any knowledge about any fact that you need. So getting the young people to think today is a difficult thing. I would like to reflect for just a few moments on the first part of Father Nicolas’ talk, which was the globalization of superficiality as one of the characteristics of young people.

These comments are mostly about what we are seeing in the West, and I give them to you only because I would love to know how you see your students in the East, in Asia.

This is what we are learning to deal with in the Western world. First of all, our students in the Western world are privileged; we must begin with that fact. When we do a meditation or reflection on the students – where they are from, they are privileged. Their homes, their ambitions, their careers are set for them. The students who make it to a Jesuit University in Europe, United States and many places in South America – they are not the poor. There are people who are struggling and striving in many cases but because they made it to a Jesuit University, they are very likely set on a good course for life. We need to be sure they know that.

What will they become? We have to ask them. I tell our students when they come to the University for the Freshmen Assembly, “If this was the village and there are 100 young people born when you were born, only fifty-six would have gone to elementary school of the one hundred. Only twenty-eight of those one hundred would have finished their secondary school. And only one goes to the university. You are the one, of one hundred in the world that are going to this university.” So we know that, and I suspect it is true for many of our schools here. The fact that they are privileged is something we need to be very clear about.

We’re finding, that because of the way society is, they are morally adrift. We say morally out-at-sea, adrift. They know that there is a right and a wrong but they can’t explain why something is right and something is wrong. And most of their thinking is self-referential: I think this is wrong. I believe this is wrong. And if someone believes something differently, how can I argue with that? So, their morality is self-referential. It is individualistic and it is not based on any sound system. We could go on about this for a long time, I won’t. We can find that they are captives of consumerism, that their goals are acquiring things; even a career is an acquisition. But the first thing they will tell you about the good life is, is that it means a nice car, it means a nice house, it means a good salary, it means the ability to take vacations with your family, to put your children in good school, to live in the right neighborhood. They are consumers, of every new gadget that comes out.

What kind of a person are we becoming if we’re becoming a consumer of goods? What does it mean? There is a shadow side to the sexual revolution that they are discovering: they’re discovering that freedom, the lack of restrictions on their access to one another, is producing an emptiness, that is, relations between the genders, between the sexes and the easy access that they have with each other, that this is not so easy and not so positive as they were led to believe. They say, “I didn’t know there was a dark side to sexual expression and sexual freedom”.

And finally, this consumer mentality and these other issues that I have just mentioned have produced more civic disengagement. There is a feeling that these young people have, that “government is too big and beyond them” and that “government is powerless anyway and that control is in the hands of things like corporations, as well as governments, maybe just corporations,” and “It’s corporations that lead life and feed life, why should I be engaged?” “Why should I build my local community?” We don’t see more political involvement; we see less political involvement as people become more and more interested in their acquisitions in their small world. So, when I do a reflection on where are students are today in the West, what I think we really need to be serious with with our faculty is to get them to do the same reflection on the students that they are seeing and to begin to think about what is the purpose of a liberal education in a Jesuit institution today, if the world is changing them as people? We want them to go change the world, but the world is changing them first. What does this mean for a university education today?

But then, you may have a completely different situation but I think what Father Nicolas started in our reflection in Mexico City was the beginning of a meditation on who are the students and the world that they would want. Who are they today?

Let me close with just three issues that I think I am seeing. I move from the West now, trying to be more universal. What I see, as I go from areas like this region to other regions, I see issues that we seem to be struggling with around the world. What Jesuit education is struggling with. I will mention 3 things.

First, all of us in each region seemed to be obsessed with, in a good way, our mission and identity as Catholic and Jesuit institutions, and the challenge that we are facing in Latin America, in Europe, in the United States, in Asia, the challenge seems to be: how does the Catholic institution (like ours) – increasingly led by lay peoplehow does it carry on the Jesuit and Catholic mission? And I particularly want to focus on the lay people because they are carrying the mission. What programs are there for our leadership to learn about the charism of the Society of Jesus and Ignatian pedagoy, etcetera? What are the programs were we are training and encouraging each other in best practices? Could we be sharing more?

The second issue is the core curriculum. What should be the core experiences of every student who goes through this institution? I think there are some large issues that we want to commit ourselves to and I will give these two that should be embedded in the core experiences.

One is environmental sustainability, which I mentioned earlier. The students, the young people get their heads around this very quickly. They see it; they know the issues of water, issues of mineral resources, issue of climate change, issues of energy. They know those issues will consume their world and they already see, eventhough they are young (and they don’t like to read newspapers), they already see that these issues are changing the geopolitical dynamics of the world. For the ones who come to us, they know that the poor will be the last to get justice because the rich will be the last to feel the effects. The poor will feel the effects first (as they already are, whether it’s climate change or water issues or you name the issue), the poor are having it worst and they will be the first who will experience it and the rich will make sure that they will be the last to feel the effects of this huge changes.

The second issue is the inter-religious knowledge and dialogue. I think they are also aware vaguely (but we are aware more acutely because we are people who are interested in religion), that they need to know what their brothers and sisters – not of their own faith – believe in.  They need contact with people of other religions.  They need to understand those religions because they see that religious issues drive so many of the geopolitical activities around the world today, and no one should go to a school that calls itself Jesuit and Catholic who comes out ignorant, not only of Catholicism but ignorant of what others believe in. Where are we alike, what do we share, as human beings who are men and women of faith?  So, I think, this is an incredibly important part of what an education could bring.  It doesn’t have to be in the classroom.  It doesn’t have to be in a formal curriculum.  It should be in the experiences that they have: interreligious knowledge and collaboration, and environmental sustainability.

And the last thing, the last trend that I see is – I think we’re beginning to take advantage of the fact that we are a global network.  We are the only group that I know of in the world that has 190 outposts, 190 branch offices, 190 places where we are already implanted in the local community, in higher education.  That is a remarkable resource.  When the United Nations, to give you an example, found out and discovered that we are interested in bringing higher education to the camps, to the refugee camps with Jesuit Common Higher Education at the Margins (this program is now moving four, five, six camps, and we’re planning to be in more camps), they jumped on this.  They said, “The Jesuits can do it; you have resources all over the world.  You are in Asia and there are camps in Asia.  You are in Africa; there are camps in Africa.  You are in Middle East, at least in some way, and there are camps there.”  They want to support us because we have the capacity.  If we educated by exchanging faculty and students, we could make a huge impact on producing not only citizens for the local community, but citizens for the globe.  If we educated around the environment, we could make a huge impact on the new leadership that would be necessary to create the new structures that will deal with these issues, because the present structures, as we learned, way fifty years ago, Pope John XXII told us, are not adequate. And it’s true.  Nothing is happening.  If we put our minds to it and we’ve taught a generation of young people about how to respect, and understand, and work with people of different faiths, we could make a huge impact on the tensions that have accrued between Hindus and Christians, Muslims and Jews, Jews and Christians, and so forth.

I think those three, (1) the concern for passing on mission and identity to the lay people, (2) looking seriously to core curriculum, first by studying who our students are in the world that is creating them, instead of them creating the world, and finally (3) if we use the network, I think we will have reinvented Jesuit Higher Education for the next century.  So those are my thoughts.

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.

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.