A hundred Jesuit experts and educators from around the world met last week at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, to discuss the future of the “Jesuit Commons – Higher Education at the Margins” program. Higher Education in the Margins is a greater distance education initiative aimed at refugees that was launched two years ago by the Jesuit Refugee Service in collaboration with 13 Jesuit universities.
“The goals are really around the learning, the development of a new knowledge base, development of leaders who can think differently, solve problems on behalf of their community, wherever that community is,” said Dr. Mary McFarland, the International Director of the program.
The conference, she said, is an opportunity to plot the future for the initiative: “We’re learning together how the model needs to evolve, to insure that there is access to those at the margins for Jesuit higher education.” While she acknowledged that, as a new program, “Higher Education at the Margins” faces some challenges, she is optimistic about the outcome: “We’re in a pilot, so it’s not a utopia. We have a lot of challenges that we’re trying to understand collectively from a world-wide point of view… but the outcome is well worth it, it highlights there’s this phenomenal, growing group of people around the world committed.”
To listen to the full podcast about the event from Vatican Radio,