"That is so exciting that they have brought together all their leaders from around the world, to have them all in one place, all of them here praying together, being led by the cardinal who spoke in multiple languages and people responding in their native language. It has been a huge effort for everyone but the Jesuits have a big focus on, of course, strong academics also global education. So, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn from one-another," she said.
Michael Brennan, vice principal of B.C. High School said the efforts of Dr. Martin J. Dunn, chairman of B.C. High School's Global Education Committee, respected and consulted with the Jesuit hierarchy and shared his excitement with the organizers when a letter from Rome confirmed consent for the first of its kind event.
"It was like Christmas morning when Marty got the letter. He read it to the board," he said.
Participants said they enjoyed not only the opportunity to discuss Jesuit identity of schools in a global context, but also the opportunity to network and learn informally be engaging their peers from throughout the world.
In an informal conversation between sessions, two educators, one Irish and one Italian discussed collaborating directly to expand curriculums by possibly exchanging teachers or students between the two countries.
"We were trying to understand how we could expose our children to more globalized opportunities. Ireland has got many similarities with us in terms of being a Catholic country," said Gianluca Vignola, who coordinates Jesuit education with the Italian Province for the network of Italian schools.
"We could offer to Irish teachers opportunity for arts, for Latin, or for other disciplines that they would like to learn from Italy, while we would profit from the English language, which for us is very important," he said.
With delegates from 304 schools throughout the world, Jesuit educators found opportunities to interact with counterparts from other countries.
Delegates said they picked up useful knowledge to bring back to their missions in the countries where they live and the schools where they work.
"The key thing that has come through again and again -- and it has always been there but I am going back with it strongly, I am going back to Malawi in a couple days -- is the notion of networking, of twinning, of learning from what is going on from other schools particularly those of us that are from the African schools. We're learning we can share what's going on with each other and in that way strengthen things," said Father Peter Henriot, SJ, who is working to build and organize a school in Kasungu, Malawi.
Some delegates said the colloquium had a profound effect on them by highlighting the universal nature of the work that Jesuit schools do in their global mission.
"In this conference, when we have come from every corner of the world, it gives me enormous encouragement. It encourages me to work still harder and to face any challenges, because I find just everywhere practically people are facing the same kind of challenges. I am not only the single person that is facing the challenge, but I think we are united as the Christian faith especially the baptized," Father Nirdosh Ekka, SJ, of Campion School in Bhopal, India, said.
"I feel very much that all are with me to help me out here," he said.
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