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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back at Home

I wanted to write briefly to thank all of you who checked in to my blog while I was at the conference...many of my friends began following the blog, especially those on Sellinger's Facebook page, and it's been fun to share my work and reflections with you.

Greg and I landed about an hour ago. We're both feeling a lot better. We felt well enough on the flight home to reflect upon all we learned at the conference, and how we will take what we learned and put it to action. I will follow up with some thoughts.

p.s. Because so many of you commented on Honey's photo, I wanted you to see that she's happy to have me back. This photo is of Honey in the kitchen, sitting at the snack cabinet, waiting for me. Life is good!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

House Call

Meet Dr. Felipe Villela Diaz, who made a house call to my hotel room today to prescribe antibiotics for an infection I have developed over the past 24 hours. I’m sad to say my colleague Greg seems to have the same thing although, in my observation, he is handling the situation with more maturity than I am, or maybe he’s just quieter. The doctor says I probably got this infection from shaking unwashed hands, eating salad, or consuming undercooked meat. There's a 24-hour incubation period, so, with no proof whatsoever, I'm suspicious of the mysterious appetizer featuring cabuches (see blog from a few days ago).

FYI, 2 out of 10 international visitors to Mexico City get this infection.

Dr. Diaz said I’d feel better by the plane trip home tomorrow, and I hope he’s right or Greg is going to get very sick of me. I regret that I am missing the conference wrap-up, I realize how unglued I become when I am unable to be productive. Although, my small group focusing on Ecology & Sustainability has kept me in the loop via e-mail (and has even offered to bring me food if I think I’m up to it!) so I look forward to reviewing their thoughts and the wrap-up notes back at home.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Depth, Universality, and Learned Ministry

This morning, Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, gave a talk entitled, “Depth, Universality and Learned Ministry: Challenges to Jesuit Higher Education Today.”

With regard to depth, Father Nicolás pointed out that new forms of technology can allow young people be shallow, self absorbed, and lacking in empathy. He urged us, as educators, to respond effectively, to encourage depth of thought, imagination, and real transformation. Regarding universality, Father Nicolás emphasized our common responsibility for the welfare of the entire world. Regarding learned ministry, Father Nicolás highlighted our need to engage in scholarly work that makes a difference in the world.

On a more general level, Father Nicolás asked whether, if Ignatius were here today, he would make universities central to Jesuit ministry. He pointed out that Jesuit universities are growing in size, while Jesuits are diminishing in number, and urged universities to do what we are already doing--but more, and better.

This afternoon, in the Ecology & Sustainability small group, we pursued our action plan for doing more, and better, in this area.

I am the only faculty member from a U.S. business school in the Ecology & Sustainability group, and was pleased to contribute evidence that Jesuit business schools are teaching students much more than how to maximize shareholder value. For example, our small group discussed Monsanto’s business practices regarding how the company safeguards its patents, often at the expense of small farmers. I noted that Loyola University Maryland's MBA students who take a course in Ethics & Social Responsibility have watched and reflected upon “The Future of Food,” a documentary that highlights Monsanto’s questionable practices regarding their use of intellectual property law to maximize market share in ways that are inconsistent with the long-term interests of farmers.

Our group also talked about shareholder activism, about how Jesuit business schools can (and do) teach students the ways in which they can contribute to sustainable value creation for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

The Ecology & Sustainability group has also talked about practical ways we and our colleagues can work together in the future. We have learned from the U.S.based group that has collaborated to establish Commitment to Justice in Higher Education. Our Ecology & Sustainability group is considering creating a portal similar to their site, Justice Web, at http://www.loyola.edu/justice. This site serves as a resource for Jesuit colleges and universities. Dr. June Ellis (Loyola English Department) has developed and led this initiative. A portal like Justice Web would allow Jesuit colleges and universities to share best practices from around the world in the area of ecology and sustainability.

The photo I have included today shows banners that line a passageway at Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad du Mexico (UAI). Every day, as we walk along the path, I note that U.S.-based Jesuit colleges and universities are a tiny part of the work Jesuits engage in around the world.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cabuches, anyone?

This morning began with mass celebrated by Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus. A local children’s choir sang for the service. The children were delightful, joyful, and talented. I recorded them, but my recording does not do them justice.

The day ended with a lovely dinner in an historic building in Mexico City. I am surprised by how European Mexico City looks and feels. For some reason, I thought the city would feel more like the U.S., but, apparently, history has an impact. :)

In between, we listened to many speakers in large and small group settings.

Tonight, as I reflect on the day, I find myself thinking about the term “intellectual apostolate,” a phrase that emphasizes the idea that Jesuit work should be done intelligently. One of the papers we read in preparation for the conference asks us to consider several questions, including these two, which are especially relevant regarding my work here with a small group considering ecology & sustainability: (1) how can my intellectual work contribute to a more humane, just and sustainable globe, and (2) how can I relate to and work more constructively with persons of other disciplines so that together we may contribute to a more human, just and sustainable globe?

I am meeting many wonderful professors and administrators. For instance, so far, I have had the opportunity to talk with the Presidents from: Fairfield University, John Carroll University, St. Louis University, Canicius College, College of the Holy Cross, Seattle University, Georgetown University, and the new interim President of Wheeling Jesuit University, who is a nun (a woman in charge!).

I’ve posted a photo of cabuches in puff pastry. Wish I could tell you what “cabuches” are but, even after exploring Google, I still can’t tell you exactly.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Off to Mexico City to Network, and to Help Shape the Future

Today, my family said farewell as I headed to Mexico City with Loyola President Father Linnane and Dr. Greg Derry (Physics Department).

Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad du Mexico (UAI) is hosting a conference, "Networking Jesuit Higher Education for the Globalizing World: Shaping the Future for a Humane, Just, Sustainable Globe."

The conference planners, especially Paul Locatelli, S.J., Secretary for Jesuit Higher Education and the Intellectual Apostolate, hope that participants will look for various ways to network and create action plans to respond to frontier challenges and problems. The challenges and problems fall under these categories: theology & culture, inequality & poverty, ecology & sustainability, human rights & civic responsibility, the intellectual apostolate, Catholic identity and Jesuit mission, and regional challenges.

The conference schedule includes large group lectures/discussions, many small group discussions, daily opportunities to go to mass, and, lots of opportunities to eat.

Tomorrow is the first real day of the conference. In the evening, we are heading to the historic center of Mexico City for dinner and a large reception.

Each participant also chose a topic of focus for the conference. I chose the ecology & sustainability challenge because Loyola’s new Emerging Leaders MBA Program (ELMBA) includes sustainability as a major theme. I’m interested in the inequality & poverty theme too, and will try to see what I can learn and contribute. The conference inspired me to begin chronicling my experience in learning more about this area and how we can help to make a difference.

This is my first blogging experience. Is it obvious?