Rediscovering and Embracing the Spirit of Accessibility to all for JASBEAM
Tuesday 20th to Sunday 25th September 2022 saw Jesuits and lay collaborators gather at Loyola Jesuit College (LJC) in Abuja Nigeria for the first ever such colloquium on Jesuit Education. In some respects it was a continuation of previous meetings and deliberations by delegates but it was a totally new encounter and feedback from the participants points to something new having been birthed.
The Opening Ceremony included welcome remarks from Fr. Provincial ANW, JCAM President Fr. Orobator and Fr. Jose Mesa and the representative from the office of the Minister of State for Education in Abuja Nigeria.
The Province Reports showed us that we were all seized with the same work and gave participants the assurance that there is plenty to be thankful for. Covid-19 and its attendant lockdowns and disruptions to school set us all back but all reports showed how it also gave us many lessons and created new spaces for collaboration and for teaching and learning. It further revealed the disparity in resources and capacities between our schools and also between various educational establishments. This realisation challenges us to enter into more deliberate collaboration and mutual support.
The dinners and socials over that short week created room for more interaction and networking and one could hear regular statements of appreciation of the fact of coming together to share experiences, and visions for education in Africa.
Morning prayers led by LJC students were very moving. Our students are learning well.
A presentation on Developments in Jesuit Education by Fr. Jose Mesa SJ was very much appreciated by participants some of whom welcomed the clarity on how to distinguish the levels of engagement with respect to the Society.
A feature of the Colloquium, obviously taken from similar events was the Spiritual Conversations on the various topics and done in groups. They allowed participants to deepen their own appreciation of the issues at hand and gave everyone a chance to share.
Educate Magis took an opportunity to present on Global Citizenship & The Ignatian Change Cycle and invited a reflection on the next steps for JASBEAM after the course which took place online towards the end of 2021. Online capabilities made it possible for the sessions to be jointly presented by Eamonn McGuiness in Ireland and Arthur Garande in Abuja. One of the resolutions was to make this Global Citizenship course available to more members of JASBEAM.
Fr. Augustin Kalubi presented on Global Identifiers of Jesuit Education, with emphasis on identifier No. 6 which states that Jesuit Education should be Accessible to all. He led participants in a reflection on what this could mean in JASBEAM? Challenges and opportunities were identified and they sparked discussion around possibilities and their sustainability.
Fr. Orobator then took us through a journey in leadership using The Pope and the Pandemic (A Challenge for Jesuit Educators) as his starting point. The insights shared were both refreshing, challenging and inspiring.
On Friday participants had a Tour of LJC while delegates took the time to have a caucus and look ahead. One of the highlights from the tour was the tree planting where participants left a mark by planting a fruit tree at the almost complete construction site of the primary school of LJC.
The concluding session openly interrogated the question of JASBEAM and how it might be Supported and Sustained. These and other resolutions and recommendations were duly noted for further deliberation at appropriate levels.
Fr. Orobator celebrated the concluding Mass where he took the opportunity to thank everyone and the people and places they represented for the work they were doing and urged them all to continue in the assurance that they were making a difference one student at a time.