Posts Tagged ‘Georgetown University’
Two African Jesuits completing their doctorates in health care at Georgetown spoke to students, faculty and staff last week about their plans to return to the country to help their communities.
The talk, “Jesuits in Africa: The Hope of International Development” was part of Jesuit Heritage Week, which began on Jan. 29 and ran through Feb. 4.
“Jesuits are working in 28 out of 54 African countries today,” noted Jesuit Father Rodrigue Takoudjou.“We African Jesuits clearly perceive health care and education as priorities in our ministries.”
Fr. Takoudjuou, of Cameroon, is getting his Ph.D. in pharmacology, plans to teach at a Jesuit medical school in Chad.
One of the main health care issues that Jesuits are helping combat in Africa is HIV/AIDS, mostly through organizations such as The African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN).
“AJAN’s mission is to stimulate and coordinate the work of African Jesuits in responding to HIV and AIDS in an effective, coordinated and evangelical manner, culturally sensitive and spiritually grounded,” he explained. “The African Jesuits are involved in more than 100 HIV/AIDS initiatives throughout the continent.”
Fellow panelist Jesuit Father Jean-Baptiste Mazarati, of Rwanda, will teach at the state medical school in his country when he graduates with a doctorate in tumor biology in 2012.
“Africa stands in the world as a big question mark. So who will answer that question?” Mazarati said. “It is a question of endemic poverty. It is a question of endemic disease. It is a question of endemic conflicts. It is a question of lack of leadership. …It is a question of a continent that holds so much richness, yet is struggling to take off.”
Africa also has a large population of children, he said, so there is a strong need for educational advancements.
Jesuits are sending Rwandan priests around the world to seek higher education in the sciences, social sciences and development “to make sure that tomorrow we come back to Rwanda stronger,” and ready to teach, Mazarati said.
Carol Lancaster, dean of the School of Foreign Service, moderated the event. Katherine Marshall, a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, also participated in the panel discussion.
“Jesuits have made such a contribution to this university and to the world,” Lancaster said.
The Jesuits’ personal stories of mission and ministry in Africa enlightened, yet posed more questions for some in the audience.
“The intersection between religion and African development is an extremely interesting field that must be further explored to fully understand the challenges and hopes of development,” said Vivian Ojo, who helped organize the event with Mariana Santos.
“The Jesuits provided some answers to some of the most difficult questions [plaguing Africa],” Ojo added. “I left the conversation with a desire to search for more answers about a topic not often explored.”
His research interests have included the investigation of abnormal gene regulation in cancer and ethical issues in human genetics, including the ethical and social ramifications of molecular genetics research. He is an expert on ethical issues in personalized medicine, pharmacogenomics, human cloning research, stem cell research, and genetic testing.
Fr. FitzGerald recently sat down with National Jesuit News to discuss how being a priest and a scientist go hand-in-hand, and how the Church should learn to anticipate upcoming ethical questions.
The Georgetown Voice, a student-run newsmagazine of Georgetown University, recently featured Jesuit Father James Schall, the noted author, philosopher and professor of Political Philosophy at Georgetown University. Fr. Schall, who entered the Society in 1948, started at Georgetown as a member of the faculty in 1977. A prolific writer, Schall has authored more than 30 books, including Idylls and Rambles, which was recently added to the Ignatius Press E-Book Collection. The full feature about Fr. Schall is below:
In the moments before his Elements of Political Theory class, Jesuit Father James Schall stood in the hall, chatting with early-comers about the weather, the readings, and other courses. Fr. Schall not only knew all of his current students by name, but also recalled almost all of his recent students. He made introductions among the students standing in front of him, and a large, comfortable conversation started.
This conversation seemed to carry over into class. The period involved little group discussion, but was rather a series of conversations between Schall and individual students.
To Schall, this conversational teaching style fosters students’ intellectual engagement.
“College students learn most from talking to each other. You have to have ways for students to converse,” he said. “That’s why education is fostered by a good campus.”
When class began, Schall asked if he had failed to call on anyone during the course so far. “I don’t want anyone to feel left out,” he said. With 100 students crowded into a large White-Gravenor classroom, it would seem easy to be left out during a 50 minute class period.
However, Schall’s custom of pacing the aisles—addressing questions and comments to students at random—makes it difficult to shirk participation. Despite his sniper-like questioning style, his students appeared calm, seemingly unfazed by the possibility of being called on at his whim. Although his quiet voice could easily be drowned out by coughing, his students remained attentive and prepared to be called on. The conversations ranged from Plato, to the etymology of names of the months, to Shakespeare.
Schall teaches exclusively from the Western canon, classic texts that have been a cornerstone of Jesuit education from its beginnings. Some see these texts as providing a critical perspective on the legacy of human thought.
Professor Patrick Deneen, a government professor who also teaches Elements of Political Theory, speculated that Schall’s traditional perspective attracts students to his popular class.
“A paramount reason why students flock to Father Schall is because he reveals to them the profound depth of their ignorance,” he said. “But more than that, he allows them to experience that magnificent feeling that is the beginning of philosophy—the hunger for knowledge.”
Georgetown University is hosting a series of three events entitled “Jesuits and the Sciences” which will explore the history of Jesuit engagement with the sciences and some challenging questions scientific advancement presents to humanity in the near future. As the University continues the construction of its new science building to house a unique collaboration between Physics, Chemistry and Biology Departments, these symposia will bring faculty and students together to reflect on the significance of the Sciences in the context of a Catholic/Jesuit University.
September 14 (Wednesday):
BEFORE THERE WAS A GEORGETOWN: JESUITS AND THE SCIENCES
- John O’Malley, SJ; Georgetown University, Theology Department
- Mordecai Feingold; Professor of History, California Institute of Technology
September 19 (Monday):
AFTER HUMANS: BLACK HOLES AND TEILHARD DE CHARDIN
- John C. Haughey, SJ; Woodstock Theological Center, Senior Fellow
- Ilia Delio, OSF; Woodstock Theological Center, Senior Fellow
September 28 (Wednesday):
WHAT DIFFERENT JESUIT SCIENTISTS DO DIFFERENTLY
- John Braverman, SJ; St. Joseph’s University, Department of Biology
- Cyril P. Opeil, SJ; Boston College, Department of Physics
- Kevin Fitzgerald, SJ; Georgetown University, Biochemistry/Pharmacology Dept.
All three will take place in Lohrfink Auditorium (McDonough School of Business Rafik B. Hariri Building) from 5:00-7:00PM.
“Fr. O’Brien will oversee the office in its work to implement a variety of mission-focused programs, seminars, days of recollection, retreats and reflection series which promote the Catholic and Jesuit character of Georgetown with faculty, staff, students, alumni and a number of university boards,” according to President John DeGioia. “He will also coordinate programs that contribute to the formation of lay colleagues in the Jesuit tradition.”
Fr. O’Brien succeeds Jesuit Father Philip Boroughs who will become president of College of the Holy Cross in January 2012.