07 March 2012
(Denver) March 7, 2012 — Fr. Peter Balleis, S.J., International Director of Jesuit Refugee Service, was one of several presenters offering initial remarks at the opening of the first international Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM) Think Tank at Regis University in Denver, Colorado.
Jesuit Catholic higher education leaders and innovators from 30 countries are among 120 attendees at the four-day event this week. The meeting is designed to envision and chart the future of a program that for the past two years has been providing online education to refugees in Kenya, Malawi, and Syria.
The desired outcome of the think tank is to expand the vision and outreach of JC:HEM to empower those at the very edges of our societies through access to Jesuit higher education so that together we may foster hope to create a more peaceful and humane world.
Also offering welcoming remarks at the opening event were: Mary McFarland, international director of JC:HEM and a Gonzaga University professor, and Heroic Leadership author and Jesuit Commons President Chris Lowney, both seated at the head table; Patricia Ladewig, vice president for Academic Affairs at Regis University; and Steve Jacobs, conference chair and assistant vice president for Academic Affairs at Regis University.
The second day of the think tank included keynote presentations by Vincent Cochetel, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees regional representative for the U.S. and Caribbean, and Fr. Michael Garanzini, S.J., president of Loyola University Chicago and secretary of Higher Education for the Jesuits.
JC:HEM is an initiative of the Society of Jesus that brings Jesuit higher education to those at the margins of our society. JC:HEM works with Jesuit Refugee Service, enabling more than 250 refugees to study courses online and on-site in partnership with a global network of Jesuit universities. Those refugees can earn a diploma in liberal studies and pursue community service learning tracks for a certificate of completion that benefit daily life in the camps.
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