Our students are not the future… They are the present!

Jimena Castro - The Latin American Federation of Jesuit Schools (FLACSI), The Conference of Jesuit Provincials in Latin America (CPAL)
[From “Jesuits 2023 - The Society of Jesus in the world”]

You, dear young people, are not the future. You are the present. You are the now of God.

Pope Francis - WYD, Panama, 2019

One hundred and thirty thousand students all told: meet the “now” of the Latin American Federation of Jesuit Schools (FLACSI). It is part of the Conference of Jesuit Provincials in Latin America (CPAL) and the International Commission for the Apostolate of Jesuit Education (ICAJE).

FLACSI’s mission is to promote initiatives, which are based on the integral human formation of men and women for others, to transform education and society in Latin America. The enormous diversity of environments and social realities in the region play a fundamental role in this context.


Forming students as global citizens is a central part of our work. There are three main strands to what we do: work with migrants, raising ecological awareness, and Ignatian leadership. Our approach is grounded in educational initiatives based on the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm. These raise young people’s awareness, bringing them into close contact with diverse social realities through processes based on critical thinking, formation, reflection, dialogue and social mobilisation. The point of all this is to encourage the young, from the standpoint of joint responsibility, to engage in concrete actions that have a positive impact on their local communities.

Three essential elements contribute to the development of FLACSI initiatives: a shared identity in our mission as educators, young people who adopt a sensitive, critical and active approach to the world, and the use of technology so we can function as a network. Our initiatives connect teachers and students from all over the continent. Their experiences are enriched by learning from others and discovering what shared perspectives can bring to the table.

The evidence revealed by personal experience and testimonies

There’s no doubt those best placed to comment on the fruit of FLACSI projects are the individual students who take part in them. That is why we are sharing below a few testimonies that demonstrate the commitment of Ignatian youth to regional and global issues. All are the result of the initiatives run within the operational framework mentioned above.


“We are all Migrants”

#We are all Migrants is a symbolic action project merging two initiatives: Youth for Hospitality, a project to encourage solidarity with migrants, and the International Arrupe Workshop. This community-based event helps individual young people to grow in self-knowledge, discernment, spirituality and leadership. It encourages them to show their public spirit by making a commitment to take action. After taking part in these initiatives, Chilean school students demonstrated on International Migrants’ Day outside the office of the Chilean President. They expressed their “empathy with those who come to our country seeking new opportunities but who, regrettably, must deal with a bureaucratic system so they can integrate. And that’s on top of coping with the racism and xenophobia that have always been part of our history.”

“Eco-friendly Ignatians”

As part of the “Eco-friendly Ignatians” project, students from schools in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, Puerto Rico and Uruguay took part in World Environment Day in 2019. They attended education and reflection days in their school communities and demonstrated on their city streets.


The International Arrupe Workshop

“The International Arrupe Workshop (IAW) was very thorough in terms of giving me an experience of democracy and helping me develop a personal sense of empathy and ethics. The workshop was crucial, I believe, to my formation as a citizen.” Vinícius Azi, a graduate of the Colegio Antonio Vieira, Brazil, and former IAW participant.

“Meeting up with students and community members from all over Latin America so we can educate each other, and getting the chance to discuss environmental or economic issues with people from the other end of the world... that’s what Ser Más (Being More) is really all about.” Francisco Soler, graduate of the Colegio Mayor de San Bartolomé, Colombia, and IAW assessor.

“I witnessed how receptive the students were to the seeds planted in their lives during the residential course and the online Arrupe workshop. All of them were touched by each other’s lives and none would ever be the same again.” Rafael Souza, IAW coordinator.


Future Challenges

Our continuing challenge is to keep identifying the shared concerns and interests of young people in our continent, and to encourage others to dialogue with the young and listen to, and engage with, their concerns.

We remain committed to empowering young people’s voices and accompanying them in the building of a hopeful future. Today, that is more the case than ever before because, as Pope Francis has said about the destruction of the world, “time is running out,” and the present, i.e. our young people, need us now more than ever.

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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.

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