Dean O'Keefe represents Boston College at international conference
Joseph M. O'Keefe, S.J., dean of the Lynch School of Education, traveled to Mexico City in April to represent Boston College at an international conference of Jesuit college and university leaders. Sponsored by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), the conference was designed to foster networking efforts among Jesuit institutions of higher learning and to generate discussion on issues such as globalization, poverty, and sustainability.
“The conference provided an opening for Jesuit colleges and universities around the world to network, develop personal and professional relationships, and share ideas,” says Dean O’Keefe. “Learning about how Jesuit universities in Latin America work with systems of elementary education, for example, offered some interesting ideas about how American universities might work with Nativity schools and other school systems.”
The keynote address at the conference was delivered by Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus, who spoke about the challenges facing Jesuit education in today’s globalized world. “I would like to invite you to consider three distinct but related challenges to our shared mission that this new ‘explosion of interdependence’ poses to us,” Father Nicolas said in his address. “First, promoting depth of thought and imagination. Second, rediscovering and implementing our ‘universality’ in the Jesuit higher education sector. Third, renewing the Jesuit commitment to learned ministry.”
The conference also focused on ways in which Jesuit colleges can network with other Jesuit-related institutions for the greater good. One presentation, for instance, highlighted Jesuit Commons, a fledgling online network of individuals, schools, and institutions working together to solve problems of poverty. “There are an amazing number of initiatives out there, especially in the developing world,” says Dean O’Keefe. “Researchers in the Lynch School could both benefit from and contribute to these initiatives, but without networking, they might never know about them.”
The conference brought together some 300 educational leaders from around the globe for three days of presentations and discussions on such topics as Regional Challenges Facing Jesuit Higher Education; Catholic Identity and Mission; Theology, Science and Culture; Markets, Inequality and Poverty; Ecology and Sustainability; and Human Rights and the University.
Charles Currie, S.J., president of the AJCU, said the conference offered “a great opportunity to use advancements in technology and the positive dimensions of globalization to realize the potential of Jesuit higher education—the only global network of higher education in the world—and to benefit the women and men we serve.”