We are pleased to announce the appointment of Fr Dr Stefan Hengst SJ as Executive Vice-President of Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL).
Fr Hengst holds a Doctorate in Civil Engineering – on scholarship – from Ruhr Universität Bochum, Germany. He taught students in the Department of Mechanics during his Masters (also at Ruhr Universität Bochum) and supervised Masters theses during his doctoral studies. He brings with him a wealth of experience in academics and organisational management in the private and public sector, including within humanitarian contexts, across four continents.
After working as a civil engineer in both Germany and the United States of America, Fr Hengst began his Jesuit formation and obtained a Baccalaureate in Philosophy (Munich School of Philosophy Germany), soon after carrying out his Regency in Northern Uganda to build a boarding school there while also teaching at Gulu University (Operational Research, Mathematics for Engineers, Fluid Dynamics). He then went on to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Hekima University College (Kenya).
He joined the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in 2012, serving in Ethiopia and then as Country Director in Turkey and Lebanon in subsequent years, during the Syrian refugee crisis. Among the activities overseen during this time was the organisation and pedagogical design of an education programme (inspired by Ignatian tradition). Fr Hengst also holds a Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance from Fordham University (United States of America).
Fr Hengst first joined JWL as a volunteer in Spring 2020, managing eEducation Tools – an online introductory course to these tools for over 600 German-speaking teachers (soon to be run in English at JWL community learning centres).
“While I stayed at Mai Aini Camp in northern Ethiopia I got to know several young people. JRS was offering courses and sports programmes but when listening to them it became obvious that they want more. They were clever and motivated, but could not get into tertiary education. What if they could have used their time for online courses? There are so many young people who want to study and gain the skills to improve society.”
As Executive Vice-President, Fr Hengst will oversee all academic programmes - from design to implementation - working with university partners, students and alumni. As a Jesuit, he will uphold the Ignatian Pedagogical approach throughout our blended mobile learning programmes. With his expertise in engineering, he will also lead the development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programmes with new technical university partners.