Geneva, 27. September 2016 ‒ The Jesuits in Switzerland, Germany and Austria have together started a digital training program for disadvantaged people and refugees. Established in Geneva under the name “Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL)”, the organization was presented to the public as a global provider of online tertiary education by Father Christian Rutishauser SJ, Swiss Provincial and President of JWL. “Our goal is to educate young people in crisis regions – for example, in slums, remote villages or camps – through global online courses, creating multi-ethnic and multi-religious study groups. These are the leaders of tomorrow who will help to bring about peace,” said Father Rutishauser SJ.
“Jesuit Worldwide Learning” is a further development of the organization JC:HEM, an alliance of American Jesuit universities and the International Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) that has been organizing study programs for refugees since 2010. Since then, 4,000 students have benefited. “Today we go a step further and now appeal to all men and women on the margins of society,” said Father Peter Balleis SJ, JWL’s Executive President.
Another new feature is the expansion of universities involved. Not just US institutions, but universities from all over the world will take part in future study programs. Among the newly participating schools are the University of Geneva and the Hochschule for Philosophy in Munich.
JWL will continue to have a presence in Washington, DC, but its global headquarters are now registered in Geneva, joining those of the UN, WHO and UNHCR. Operations will also be run out of Munich, Germany.
“Learning together to transform the world” is the ambitious motto of JWL. Father Balleis SJ is convinced that the overall approach of learning together to support critical, solution-oriented thinking, is the key to peace. “We do not remove the brightest students from their environments and bring them to elite universities: we do the reverse, bringing an elite education to them. This is our unique selling point,” said Fr Balleis. One student’s studies for a full year can be funded for as little as $1,500.
For additional information, see the article published by InZone.