Following the Abuja colloquium in September 2022, thirteen participants attended a meeting of JASBEAM from 20th – 23rd March, 2023, six of whom were province education delegates. The meeting was held at the Loyola Centre for Education and Formation in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the two countries in the Central African Province (ACE).
JCAM President Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator SJ opened the meeting by leading the participants in a minute of silence in memory of the late Fr. Christian Kitonga SJ before continuing with his welcome remarks.
He expressed his appreciation to the hosting provincial, Fr. Rigobert Kyungu SJ, and ACE Education Delegate Fr. Augustin Kalubi SJ for their efforts in the preparatory work, and Fr. Joe Arimoso SJ for coordinating JASBEAM’s activities. Fr. Orobator acknowledged the success of the Abuja Colloquium and encouraged the delegates to ensure that the Colloquium’s resolutions and recommendations are implemented. He also emphasised the importance of JASBEAM as a network that promotes collaboration among schools. Quoting Pedro Arrupe, he said, “JASBEAM is a network of responsible collaborators who share in the fullness of our mission of education.” He asked the delegates not to reduce JASBEAM to occasional or periodic gatherings. Reflecting on Arrupe’s pivotal document, “Men and Women for Others, Education for Social Justice and Social Action,” he reminded delegates of the importance of educating women and men for justice, that is, students who become practitioners of creative love and agents and promoters of change, who are docile before God and impelled by the Holy Spirit.
Various topics were discussed over the next few days, including reports from provinces, Abuja resolutions and recommendations, how to sustain the JASBEAM network, the JASBEAM strategic plan for the next five years, the 50th anniversary of the document “Men for Others,” the legacy of Fr. Arrupe and collaboration with Educate Magis. The province reports indicated that most of the schools in the network had begun to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but were still facing challenges from both internal and external forces.
The delegates agreed that to sustain the JASBEAM network and Educate Magis, all schools will make an annual financial contribution, beginning in January 2024, which will be sent to the JCAM treasurer by the delegates. One of the activities of the JASBEAM strategic plan 2023-2028 is the second JASBEAM Colloquium, scheduled for August 2025 at St. George’s College in Harare, Zimbabwe, and a virtual pre-colloquium in January 2025 to aid in planning for the in-person colloquium. Other activities include events on the ten global identifiers of Jesuit schools, Cura Personalis, Men and Women for Others, the Ignatian Cycle, Solidarity in Africa and Madagascar, and the Universal Apostolic Preferences.
The participants took time off to visit two Jesuit schools, Collège Boboto (including Boboto primary school, Boboto kindergarten and Boboto Cultural Centre) and Collège Bonsomi. This visit was an opportunity to introduce JASBEAM to the students, teachers and administrators. The delegates appreciated the good work that the province is doing in schools. -On Thursday, 23rd March, the meeting concluded with a session with Fr. Kyungu, who thanked the delegates for their work in Jesuit education in Africa and for instilling Ignatian values in the students. The delegates also agreed to expand their partnership with Educate Magis.
Fr. Arimoso closed the meeting by thanking all the attendees as well as the host delegate, Fr. Kalubi.