AJCU EAO holds 2009 Annual Meeting in Sydney, Australia
Cold Weather; Warm Welcome
Sydney, Australia—Though the cold season still embraced the land from Down-Under, the hosts for this year's Annual Meeting gave their very warm welcome to the participants of the AJCU EAO. Hosted by Fr. Frank Brennan, S.J. and the Australian Province, the members of the AJCU EAO enjoyed Australian hospitality during their stay at Canisius College last 25-27 August 2009.
This year's theme was Discerning and Acting on our Shared Jesuit Educational Mission in the Region: Moving Forward. The goal for this year's meeting was to tackle together the question of Fr. Paul Locatelli, S.J., which was What is distinct in our Jesuit Educational Mission in the Region? The meeting also provided an avenue for updates on shared projects such as the Research Committee and the Service Learning Program.
The first day started with Prepandials at the Recreation Room followed by the Registration and Dinner at the Dining Hall. After the dinner, Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. (AJCU EAO Chairman) welcomed the participants and formally opened the Annual Meeting. Fr. Gerard Healy, S.J. (Provincial Delegate for Education), Fr. Steve Curtin S.J. (Provincial Superior of Australia), and Fr. Mark Raper, S.J. (President of the JCEAO) also gave their warm welcome. Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. then gave an overview which set the tone of the meeting. The two major foci was a discernment towards self-understanding of the AJCU EAO Identity and the discernment towards working closely together. In his opening address, Fr. Tabora remarked on the richness of our region's diversity, and expressed the need to find distinction not in abstraction (conceptual definition) but in action (what do we want to do together in synergy).
Updates from various institutions were also given through the CEO Sharing provided by Fr. Ben Nebres, S.J. (President of Ateneo de Manila University), Fr. Paulus Wiryono Priyotamtama, S.J. (Rector of Sanata Dharma University), Fr. Joseph Vu, S.J. (Representative of the Jesuit Community of FuJen Catholic University), Fr. Jung Taek Kim, S.J. (Dean of Graduate School of Sogang University), Fr. Jean-Claude Hollerich, S.J. (VP for Catholic Affairs of Sophia University), Fr. Florge Sy, S.J. (President of Loyola College of Culion), and Dr. Patrick Boyle (Associate Provost of Loyola University Chicago-Vietnam Office). The night ended with a Socials at the Recreation Room.
Day Two started with a presentation from Fr. Mark Raper, S.J. on the history and background of the Jesuit Conference in East Asia and Oceania where outlined the priorities of the region and invited the AJCU EAO to dovetail with these. Mr. Duncan MacLaren of the Australian Catholic University then gave his presentation on the Thai-Burma Border Project (Jesuit Commons), providing a possible template for future joint projects of the AJCU EAO.
After the morning tea break, Fr. Paul Locatelli, S.J., Secretary of the ICJHE, gave his presentation on the preparations for the World Meeting of Presidents next year to be held in Mexico (22-24 April 2010). In the presentation, he showed the various areas of concerns and other important matters necessary for the preparations for event. After the presentation of Fr. Locatelli, the AJCU EAO participants then reflected on the distinctive character of the Mission and Identity of the AJCU EAO. Much attention focused on the diversity of the region.
For the afternoon session, the Ad Hoc Committee on Research gave their updates and a Standing Committee for Research was formed through a resolution. The case of the Loyola School of Theology was also presented by Fr. Mark Raper, S.J., bringing out new possibilities for shared studies and learning in the region.
The resolutions passed were the hosting of next year's Service Learning Program (Sophia University), the appointment of universities and their foci on the papers requested by Fr. Locatelli, and the promotion of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue with Islam in the Region (beyond research).
Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. was re-elected as the Chairman of the AJCU EAO, with Fr. Paul Wiryono Priyotamtama elected as Vice-Chairman.
Fun and Socials
Of course, it wasn't all just work for the AJCU EAO Participants. The Australian hosts also organized a mini-tour around Sydney, with a visit at the Taronga Zoo as one of the highlights. On the last day of the meeting, the participants were brought to St. Aloysius College at Milson's Point to watch a mini-concert and enjoy a spectacular view of Sydney. Dinner at Ripples Restaurant soon followed.
The members of the AJCU EAO would like to thank our Australian Hosts, Fr. Steve Curtin, S.J., Fr. Frank Brennan, S.J. and Fr. Gerard Healy, S.J. for their warm hospitality. Special mention goes to Bro. Kevin Huddy, S.J. (Minister; Guestmaster), Fr. Joseph Sobb, S.J. (Rector), Fr. Brendan Kelly, S.J. (Novice Master), and Fr. Adrian Lyons, S.J. (Tertian Master) of Canisius College. We would also like to thank Ms. Ancita D'Cunha for co-organizing the meeting and making the event a reality with the help of the Jesuit Mission Group!