IV General Assembly of the Kircher Network: Reporting on the developments and planning the Mid-Term Strategic Agenda

The Presidents and Deans and the President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, Franck Jannin SJ., gathered virtually to discuss the most critical issues for the development of the Network. The Assembly discussed the Annual Report presented by Philip Geister SJ., and Susana Di Trolio (President and Executive Secretary of the Kircher Network, respectively) on the activities carried out, the outcomes achieved, and the financial statements of the Network from September 2020 to August 2021. The results of the fundraising activity carried out by the Kircher Council for the project “Institutional Strengthening and Second phase of HEST Programme” was also presented. The grant obtained will allow to support the work of the groups of HEST on Secularization in Europe, Christian-Muslim Dialogue and Ecology and Environmental Challenges, and to strengthen the Network’s capacity building in communication, dissemination and public presence.

The Assembly approved the budget and the project proposals for the 2021 – 2022 Operational Plan, which seek to:

  1. Expand the pilot project “Inter-Institutional Online Courses Project on Theology and Philosophy” to include other online courses offered by the institutions.
  2. Strengthen and expand the “Online Graduate Course on Theology of Christian-Muslim Dialogue “.
  3. Establish a Group of University Librarians of the Kircher member institutions. One of the Group’s first tasks will be to assess the technical and financial feasibility of linking the existing digital repositories with the publications of the member institutions and help members that do not have one to develop their own in the future. With the support of the Council, the Group will discuss the potential benefits, obstacles and solutions, and the resources needed for developing the Digital Repository and prepare the feasibility report.
  4. Prepare a formation proposal on Ignatian Identity and Mission for the staff and faculty members of Munich School of Philosophy; Newman Institute – Sweden; Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences – Catholic University of Portugal; and Faculty of Catholic Theology- University of Innsbruck. The proposal will take advantage of the benefits of network learning (e.g. creating bonding and a sense of a common identity and mission among the participants) and the experience of UNIJES.
  5. Appoint a Steering Committee within the Group of Senior International Officers that will prepare a proposal to foster the use of Erasmus+ for academic collaboration among the Kircher Network. The Loyola Andalusia University kindly volunteered to coordinate the committee.
  6. Launch the New HEST Group on Humanization in Health, which will be coordinated by the University of Deusto and faculty members from other eight universities and centres.

Finally, the Assembly will gather online again in March 2022. One of the meeting objectives will be to discuss the recommendations that the Kircher Network will propose to IAJU for its new Strategic Plan. Likewise, the Assembly will discuss the issues the Jesuit centres in Europe and Lebanon would like to discuss with Fr. General, Arturo Sosa Abascal, SJ., during the IAJU Assembly in August at Boston College.

The agreements will allow our Jesuit Higher Education Network in Europe and the Near East to continue building its communicational infrastructure, fostering collaboration among its members through groups of peers and common projects, and strengthening the sense of shared apostolic mission identity.


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