Eight years ago the 35th General Congregation identified the challenges of globalization for the mission of the Society of Jesus and for its greater potential to be and act as a universal body. The Congregation emphasized the importance of networking in particular:
We encourage the Society’s government, at all levels, to explore means by which more effective networking might take place between Ignatian and Jesuit apostolic works (GC 35, Dec 3, n 28).
Since then, networking efforts have contributed to greater international and interprovincial collaboration across the Society. The recent 36th General Congregation placed even greater emphasis on networking as a way of proceeding, encouraging the different governing bodies of the Society of Jesus to “actively facilitate, foster, accompany and evaluate international and intersectoral networks” (GC 36, Dec 2, n9).
Looking forward there is a clear need for careful reflection and creative action to realize the potential of international Jesuit networking as a means to maximize the impact of the Society of Jesus as a transnational body with a clear universal mission.
Taking into account this call, the Second International Jesuit Networking Conference, hosted by the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, will take place from February 15-17, 2018. This gathering is a concerted effort to continue conversations about networking and to catalyze connections among practitioners, researchers and officials across the Society of Jesus and its institutions.
Building on the success of the first Jesuit Networking Conference held at Boston College in April 2012, the conference aims to:
Deepen discussions among key stakeholders by engaging academic experts on networking.
Examine and evaluate networking initiatives that are already underway or in the planning stages.
Identify key obstacles to successful Jesuit networking and specific ways to address them.
Produce a final document with concrete recommendations for Jesuit networking
Share its conclusions with the Rome Task Force on the topic
Conference participants will approach these questions from a range of geographic, institutional and occupational perspectives. Their wide experience encompasses global and regional networks including: Fe y Alegría, Jesuit Refugee Service, Global Ignatian Advocacy Networks, Educate Magis, Xavier Network, Jesuit Networking, IAJBS, CJBE, Alpha Sigma Nu, Ignatian Solidarity Network, CVX-CLC and World Union of Jesuit Alumnae.
The Jesuit Networking initiative is helping to coordinate this initiative and will provide ongoing communications throughout the conference. We invite you to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates.