The IBEROamericana University: working towards a more just society in Mexico

The Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Provincials (CPAL) recently held its Assembly in Mexico. While there, I was able to meet the Rector of the Universidad Iberoamericana de la Ciudad de México (IBERO CDMX), Fr Luis Arriaga Valenzuela. He insisted that this Jesuit institution is not isolated or disconnected from the crises which beset his country. He stressed that the university wants to play its role in providing innovative and relevant solutions to the challenges in Mexico. Briefly, IBERO feels a responsibility to contribute to the urgent construction of a society in which human rights and the dignity of all are recognised, protected and respected. He states:

“This is what we seek to transmit to our students. At IBERO they have the possibility and the means to transform themselves into free people who are open to being challenged by the complex realities of their world. They are able to commit themselves to becoming leaders of social transformation.”

Father Arrupe set the challenge for Jesuit universities to form men and women for others. We asked Fr Arriaga to what extent this challenge is being met.


Fr. Luis Arriaga Valenzuela.

“Father Arrupe’s vision has always been present in the design of our academic plans. The backbone of our programs is Ignatian, whatever the subject. This allows us to have an impact, in a timely manner, on our students in any field of study. This contributes to offering a formation that involves the whole person.

The following are some examples which show how we participate in the Global Educational Pact which Pope Francis promotes. A group of our architectural students won an international competition. They travelled to Warsaw and presented a project in which containers are reused to build social housing. Another example: in our Institute of Applied Research and Technology, former students are making prostheses which improve the quality of life of people with disabilities.

These two clear examples indicate that both those in training and those already in the labour force are aware that theory must be accompanied by practical applications. This is something that St Ignatius insisted on so often. Such knowledge, too, must be put at the service of social justice.”

Mexico is a country with strong Catholic roots. It has also experienced episodes of anticlericalism. What vision of Christianity do you, as Rector, wish the university to offer?

“We recall Father General’s reflection. He told us that, in a time of tension between secularism and religious fanaticism, the universities entrusted to the Society are called to be spaces where the liberating message of the Gospel can contribute to finding better ways of generating life amidst difficulties and uncertainties. This is what we aspire to.

We share with our community a vision of spirituality and Christianity that is not alien to everyday life or to the whole spectrum of the human dimension. This is the way that Jesuits proceed. It provides one more tool to encourage a dialogue that contributes to understanding and solving the great problems of society.”


This, one might think, is a broad vision of Christianity. But, more specifically, I asked Fr Arriaga, how can a university of the Society of Jesus contribute to forging a better future for Mexico?

“This is an excellent and timely question. Throughout my professional career, I have tried to find mechanisms to address many of the social problems that afflict our country. The greatest crises we face today center on violence, security, and justice. The figure of over 100,000 missing persons across the country should pull us up short; in the recent past, we have had more than 35,000 homicides, and the trends do not seem to be changing. Access to justice for the families of victims of feminicide is virtually non-existent.

Returning to St. Ignatius of Loyola provides a way of binding what has been broken. Educational institutions entrusted to the Society of Jesus have a comparative advantage over other religious or secular universities. We have a spirituality based on four foundations. They inculcate hope in their application:

• Finding God in all things.
• Being contemplative in action.
• Looking at the world in an incarnational way.
• Seeking freedom and detachment.

Finally, I would like to echo the words of my late companion, Saúl Cuautle SJ: indifference to the problems of our weaker brothers and sisters, to the poor, to the deterioration of the environment, to the crisis of leadership, will never be part of the identity of those associated with IBERO.

We share this conviction with all the students who pass through the doors of the universities of the Society of Jesus.”

Share this Post:
Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

Related Posts: