Magis Exchange: Jesuit Multilateral Agreement for Greater Student Exchange

We live in a complex world that faces new uncertainties every day. We are in the midst of incredible transformations that affect all dimensions of our personal life and the basic ways of proceeding of organizations. [1] Today, we live in a global world. People, places and economies are more interrelated than ever. Global challenges impact everyone, and solutions require thinking and acting beyond our borders.

In this global context, the Father General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa, SJ, urged that research and curricular initiatives in Jesuit universities prepare a new generation of global political, social and economic leaders with the skills needed to combat global problems. We must educate global citizens, citizens who can succeed in a world that is constantly changing, one that calls for global collaboration, openness, responsibility, communication and understanding.

In the 12 months following the inauguration of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU), the IAJU board has promoted the Magis Exchange Agreement. This agreement forms a unique multilateral program for student exchange within the Jesuit university network. It seeks to build cohorts of student leaders who have participated in semester-long academic international exchange and internship/service learning/volunteering programs. This agreement is specifically designed to form Ignatian “men and women for others” with a special openness to cultural diversity and a commitment to the global challenges that are facing the world.

This program has a strong transformation component for the students, as it gives them an opportunity to study abroad at other Jesuit institutions, experiencing diverse efforts to “live the mission” and observing how other Jesuit institutions serve the poor. Michael Garanzini, SJ, Secretary for Higher Education for the Society of Jesus, believes that the Magis Exchange is aligned with the mission of Alpha Sigma Nu. ASN members, with a demonstrated commitment to service and academic excellence, make great candidates for the Magis Exchange.

This international experience will also result in the connection of ASN members across Jesuit universities, building a deeper sense of belonging and universality to the mission of ASN and the Society of Jesus. Elena Pérez, ASN member at Universidad Loyola Andalucía in Spain, emphasized the “strong international bonds and relationships” that were developed with other ASN members during her study abroad at Loyola University Chicago in the U.S. Elena also highlighted the importance of the “great welcoming and accompaniment” she felt from her ASN colleagues in Chicago.

The IAJU task force working towards this agreement is formed by a global group of international education professionals from six different Jesuit universities (Creighton University in U.S.A, Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla in Mexico, Universidad Loyola Andalucía in Spain, Centre de Recherche et d'Action pour la Paix in Ivory Coast, St. Xavier’s College Mumbai in India, and Sophia University in Japan). This group, which has been collaborating since 2017, is now planning to launch a pilot experience in the spring semester 2021. The pilot seeks the participation of more than 20 Jesuit universities.

To be economically accessible for every student, this program is working toward the establishment of the “Gerardo Marin Fund” that will help eliminate financial barriers for students nominated to the program.

[1] Sosa, SJ, A. (2019). Universidad Loyola Official New Campus Inauguration Speech. Seville