Arrupe Initiatives

Global Engagement and Ignatian Formation in Action

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Author: Arrupe Initiatives

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Over the past few years, we have witnessed a global crisis in leadership and the current COVID-19 pandemic reveals the lack of vision and skills of those in power to create a just society for all. The urgent need to form citizens who look beyond the limits of their privileges, through inclusivity and solidarity, that become “magis” students, that is to say, those who seek “the most and the best” for the common good of our societies and Common Home, especially those who have been systematically violated. As Fr. Luis Ugalde, S.J., said “we do not want to form successful professionals for failed societies”.

Whit this in mind we are excited to present the I-LEAD program! I-LEAD stands for the Ignatian Leaders Engaging in Action and Discernment. It is a USF created leadership program based on the Ignatian Pedagogy (context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation) for undergraduate students at USF, but also students from other Jesuit universities in the world.

The mission of the I-LEAD program is to form conscious, critical, competent, compassionate, and committed leaders, based on Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy, with the aim of transforming the structures of society, through discernment, action, evaluation, and the use of practical tools.


  • Learn the aspects that make up an Ignatian leader who looks to the common good of societies, through the integration of dialogue, participation of the actors involved, critical thinking, and committed action.
  • Gain a general knowledge of the Society of Jesus, Ignatian spirituality, and pedagogy.
  • Develop a critical awareness of the global and local context in which they are immersed, from the perspective of social justice and equity.
  • Learn methodologies for decision making through community dialogue, teamwork, and solidarity processes.
  • Develop professional skills for effective communication, advocacy skills, project management skills, from an ethical and collaborative perspective.
  • Evaluate the implementation of their knowledge, skills, and leadership, in order to promote team feedback and improvement in decision making.
  • Meet and work with students from Jesuit universities around the world.

I-LEAD will consist of six monthly sessions, starting in October 2020. Meetings will happen synchronically online, with asynchronous activities, and resources. There will be international collaboration with foreign students and the participation of our local and international partners. The following contents will be addressed:

  • Ignatian Leadership & Pedagogy
  • Analysis of reality & Critical Thinking
  • Community Engagement
  • Digital activism
  • Art Activism
  • Fundraising & Project Advocacy
  • Ignatian Discernment & decision making

Arrupe Initiatives Celebrates its Launch

On Tuesday, September 1st, we formally launched our Arrupe Initiatives programs in a small virtual get together, where students, alumni, faculty, and staff joined in to celebrate the news and to share their excitement for a new semester.

It is no exaggeration to say this semester is unlike any other, and at Arrupe Initiatives we wanted to create a space to reflect on our “new reality”, on what it means for us, as an office, and as part of the USF collective, and most importantly to have a space to have a conversation with our community about our role to change the world from here.

“I feel like today we are seeing the world through a screen, and I am looking for ways to connect without technology, without a screen that makes it alienating in a way,” said Khundmeer, a Resident Minister, a sentiment that was echoed by many of the participants and who see in Arrupe Initiatives a way to engage in a meaningful way.

John Zarobell, Department Chair of International Studies at USFCA, reflected on the challenges of teaching in a virtual way, “there is a sense of loss of community, there are things you can replace with technology, but others that you can’t, and physical contact and community are one of them.” Arrupe Initiatives seek to create such a community, bridging the divide between the screens and the outside world, and bringing the world to USF.

“There is just so much that can be done, we tend to get trapped in a “me” mentality, but we have to realize that we are all in this together, we can adapt and remember that we share this experience” added Karli Williams, a returning sophomore and past immersion participant.

Arrupe Initiatives will carry on the work of engaging students with our global community partners, with Ignatian formation and Arrupe Immersion experiences as pillars of our work. In addition, the Arrupe Initiatives will offer new programs and opportunities for the USF community and Jesuit Institutions of Higher Education to engage in different ways: the Arrupe Human Rights Observatory, the Arrupe Fellowship, the Arrupe Talks, and finally, the Ignatian Leaders Engaging in Action and Discernment (I-LEAD) program.


Arrupe Observatory to Collect Testimonies for the Colombian Truth Commission

On Friday, August 28th, the Arrupe Human Rights Observatory officially joined the Colombian Truth Commission as collectors of testimonies from refugees and exiled Colombians by the armed conflict. Members of the Arrupe Observatory have initiated a series of training to be able to interview victims to add their testimonies to the final work to be presented by the Colombian Truth Commission.

“The work that is going to be done by the Arrupe Observatory, and by other volunteers, is precious and indispensable for the Commission and for the peace in Colombia,” said Michelle Harb, who is in charge of the international work of the Truth Commission “For the Commission, the important thing is to be able to collect the most complete account, listening to all voices. And one of the central voices is that of refugees or exiles. Exile is one of the most silenced things, which has been less visible in what is understood by the universe of victims that there have been in Colombia,” added Harb.

Besides helping with interviews and testimony collection, the Arrupe Observatory has played a crucial role in the promotion of the Commission’s work abroad, hosting events for the dissemination of news. The latest one, “Your Truth Matters”, was co-hosted with UC Berkeley and the University of Arizona, reaching thousands of Colombians in the United States.

Your Truth Matters: A conversation with the Colombian Truth Commission

On August 8, the Arrupe Observatory, in collaboration with the Center for Latin American Studies of the University of California (Berkeley) and the Center for Latin American Studies of the University of Arizona held the virtual dialogue:  “Your Truth Counts. Exile and Memory in the Work of the Truth Commission, Colombia”, with the participation of Commissioner Carlos Martín Beristain
This event gathered mainly a Colombian audience located in the United States, which served as an invitation to share their experiences in relation to the armed conflict in Colombia, and adding it to the testimonies of thousands of others. The dialogue achieved more than 800 views.
Watch the dialogue here:


Jesuit university in Beirut Deeply Affected by the Explosion

The St. Joseph University, the Jesuit University in Beirut, has been deeply affected by the huge explosion that took place on August 4th,  and killed more than 100 people and left approximately 4,000 people injured in the city. More than 150 students, faculty, and staff were injured and many of them lost their homes.

The Rector, Fr. Salim Daccache S.J., informed the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU) about the great damage that the campus suffered, especially the Huvelin campus of Law and Business. On the other hand, is important to acknowledge that the hospital “Hôtel-Dieu de France”, ran by the University, hasn’t stopped treating the wounded.

  • BO - Patrimonial Library after the blast

St. Joseph University’s 5 campuses in Beirut are located within 2 to 12 km of the explosion epicenter, and have suffered severe damages. According to a preliminary estimate, the rehabilitation costs amount to US $ 5 million. The start of the academic year is scheduled for the 1st of September.

Arrupe initiatives invite you to join in solidarity with the victims of the explosion in Beirut, based on the Emergency Aid Fund that our sister university in Lebanon has created.

To support this call visit the Emergency Fund Donation Website (website is in french) 

Arrupe Immersions is now Arrupe Initiatives

Please join us on September 1st at 11:30 AM

to Celebrate Arrupe Initiatives!!!

Register here


Over the last few months, we, the Arrupe Immersions Team, have poured our hearts and souls into creating a new identity that would better serve our students, our global community, and partners.

It is with great excitement that we are launching the Arrupe Initiatives which will continue our effort to offer local and global experiences, designed to open participant’s eyes to the realities of the world and challenge them into action. However, we realized that the work done by the Arrupe Immersions went way beyond the immersion experience itself, and we wanted an identity that highlighted and recognized the work that students, faculty, and staff have done as part of this amazing community, and so Arrupe Initiatives were born.

Arrupe Initiatives continues with the work of engaging students with our global community partners. Ignatian formation and immersion experiences continue being the pillars of our work. In addition, the Arrupe Initiatives will offer new programs and opportunities for the USF community to engage in different ways:

  • Arrupe Immersions: not-for-credit short-term programs, both domestic and international to engage in marginalized communities globally.
  • I-LEAD (Ignatian Leaders Engaging in Action and Discernment): Leadership program based on the Ignatian Pedagogy for undergraduate students at USF.
  • Arrupe Observatory of Human Rights: Monitor news on Human Rights issues around the world and engage with key actors and institutions to promote peace, justice, and reconciliation.
  • Arrupe Fellowship and Community Engagement: Common space to build long term relationships between the USF and our global and local community based on contemplation in action.
  • Arrupe Talks: Conferences, seminars, and webinars about current critical issues.

We are excited to keep serving our USF community to engage globally and locally!

The Jesuit Massacre in El Salvador Trial 2020

via the Guernica Center for International Justice

Madrid, 8 June 2020 – The trial for the killings of Ignacio Ellacuría, Ignacio Martín-Baró, Amando López, Joaquín López y López, Juan Ramón Moreno, Segundo Montes, and their housekeeper and her daughter, Elba Julia Ramos and Celina Maricet Ramos will begin on Monday, 8 June 2020 where it will begin with the criminal charges being read out, and then the evidence will be presented, starting with the testimonies of the defendants and witnesses.

The historic trial is scheduled to be held in the course of two consecutive blocks: the first taking place from 8 – 10 June 2020; and the second scheduled later in the summer, from 8 – 16 July 2020.

The first hearing will commence at 15.00 CET on 8 June 2020,

The principal defendant is former colonel Inocente Orlando Montano, who at the time of the events was Vice-Minister of Public Security, and was extradited from the United States of America to Spain on 29 November 2017.

The assassination of the Jesuits priests and the two women they employed shocked the entire world and forever tainted Salvadoran history with atrocity and injustice. This heinous act was carried out in the early hours of 16 November 1989 by the Atlacatl Battalion of the Salvadoran Army. The events were so significant that they are said to have forced the end of the civil war in El Salvador and catalysed the victims’ quest for truth, justice, and accountability, after an era of state-sponsored terror and repression against the civilian population.

Due to the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, considering the international importance of the trial, attorneys for the private and popular prosecution ‒exercised by the Spanish Pro-Human Rights Association (APDHE), the family of Jesuit assassinated Ignacio Martín-Baró, and the San José Jesuit School of Valencia Alumni Association‒ filed a petition to have the trial live streamed in an effort to promote the need for justice to be publicly and transparently administered.  The online transmission of the trial aims to promote the possibility of having victims and other stakeholders in El Salvador and the Salvadoran society, at large, engaged in this momentous event.

The trial will be live-streamed from here.  More Background Information here.

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