Click here for the pdf file of the presentation: Lucía Rodríguez: The Enabling Capacities Programme
Xavier Jeyaraj: In the presentation you mentioned the elements of Ignatian advocacy. Just want to go back to what happened at El Escorial, what is specific was a big discussion. All the point that are mentioned here are also typical of many other advocacy networks. What we identified in El Escorial is not something specific just to us – it is common, but WE BELIEVE, we Jesuits, that these are the elements we adhere to. When I work in the field, I may not use the word “Ignatian” in India – it would alienate me from the networks I am already involved in.
We have this belief, but we are struggling in the networking – we have to become much stronger in networking with others, outside the Society.
Walter Fernandes: Important in Indian context, we often are the only Christians at the table. We should think of the Jesuit network as the contact point for a much larger network. Where it is relevant, no problem, but in India: Christian presence in the secular and activist world. Not priestly, Jesuit (never use that, disservice to Christian presence). Need to be clear on our role, Society is our “support group” from which we go out to the secular world, the professional activist world, but our network is much broader.
Trevor Miranda: Presentation seems very Jesuitical… In India, Jesuit church groups are very low in advocacy (we are 2%!), we really need to work with other groups, non-Christians. Church often does not join campaigns.
Whole network is organised by SJES, is it going to be taken to a higher level in the future?
Augustin Kalubi: Name GIAN – “Ignatian” will not work in India, could be called “integral”.
We don’t mention China, just Africa. It is in China that a lot of things need to be transformed. Africa as a priority – most important is to deal with causes of poverty. Those who have influence on Africa should come to these meetings. In Africa, some of those who are claiming to do advocacy, crush the people. Our advocacy could change that. The representatives at EU level are not here. Reconciliation is priority in Africa, especially northern Africa, Ivory Coast, feeling they are not free. We speak of legitimacy – people need to feel empowered, participate in decision-making process, do follow-up (often not implemented). How to get in touch with those in influence, so that legitimacy is also for those for whom we do advocacy.
Julie Edwards: It’s all about our context, in Australia, most of our staff our un-churched or of other religions, this is something that JRS is struggling with, too. “Don’t think you have a monopoly on this”. Challenge of how we name it.
Understand network model – but wonder if we need more centralising? Who is ACTUALLY going to be doing the work? Preferred model: one person full-time for each “desk”, in Rome or Brussels or… We have devolved, we have this model, but we need more central capacity.
A representative from each Conference on the Core Group, is that how to get the buy-in of the Conference? Are we assuming that we are getting one person from each Conference for each network?
Luis Arancibia: The idea is that these networks are global levels, but in some cases, level of Conference – this depends on the priorities, interests, capacities of the Conferences. We will not “activate” all the “cells”. They have appointed people to those networks in which they are interested, not in the ones where they don’t have interest. Therefore, no in all Core Groups are representatives of all Conferences.
David Hollenbach: Extraordinary complex structure, could become a jail… but I understand it’s more experimental, not as fixed. Contact group, Coordinators, Leading groups… Structures will emerge once we have found the issues to work on.
Solomon: From the beginning, the question of centralising has been there. We were convinced from the beginning that the group should learn but not in a centralised way. Constant contact needs to be established, then the process will emerge.
Muhigirwa Ferdinand: Very complex structure, maybe the structure should come about when we have decided the issue. There are overlapping “jobs”, activities. It’s very easy to put the SJES job description with the Contact Group, for example. Proposal for Conference level is vague, it will not reach the objective if it is not made more precise. Example: I have been JESAM coordinator – at level of Conference, the coordinator can have a conflict of interest, needs to be mandated. Have a light structure at the beginning, then see how to improve it, become more sophisticated. At level of SJES, Conference, international level.
Cesar Torres: One of our challenges is the structure. At the beginning, it was even more complex. Another challenge s to make more explicit the advocacy character. Sometimes the networks appear as general networks on the topic. We have gained in legitimacy, gives a space at level of local institutions, e.g. in migration. The same may need to happen for example in GNMR. During the dialogue, the institutions need to find out, realise that they benefit from regional (Conference), international work. We need to continue work on the articulation. The regions will need to define the implications, e.g. mapping CPAL in ecology: social centres work on GNMR, schools work in ecology. So we need to try not to duplicate. Related to the question not to do stuff in parallel, let’s link this initiative with other similar initiatives, e.g. the network of social centres in CPAL. This will be different in each region.
Alicia Alemán: Concern whether we are aware that the international structures in the world have changed. We are saying that we are doing advocacy at UN level, Washington, Brussels. We are not talking about Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico City. It is intelligent to start working at international level because they have influence on emerging government. For me, “local” is Basque, let’s try to manage language in talking about geography.
Rafael Moreno: I don’t care if it’s called “Ignatian”, but it’s important that we are clear about the content. The elements in the presentation are the important ones. The five networks are going to coincide in some international issues. We lack an office at the UN (question)? What else do we need to integrate the five networks?
Patxi Alvarez: Comments. Complex structure because Society is complex, not a question of the networks. We wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t spoken to Fr General and Council, the presidents of Conferences, the Social Apostolate Coordinators, Higher Education… they have all asked about it. We are not going to have too many problems with that. It’s good to realise the complexity, but be confident about it.
Three steps that we have to remember: Mapping (internal, external) to reinforce institutions within SJ and to collaborate with many others; Planning, to decide what we will do at the end of training programme; Specific workshop, to reinforce Core Groups, agree plan of action with them.
Resources: are all in this room. You are the people to move on these three steps, leaders have some economic support, to employ someone maybe for the mapping. Social Apostolate Coordinator will help a little bit. We thought you would offer part of your time to carry out the tasks at hand.
Tom Greene: Tension developing between the plenary and the Core Groups. Here: “we can’t rush this, patience, flexibility”, in Groups: supposed to have the answers, “mapping, workshop”. Elephant in the room: the social sector has already had two failed networks already, what did we do wrong there? Are we too organic, letting it happen, not trying to enforce a vision, maybe should be more direct. Luis said that some Conferences didn’t have any interest – it’s that they are already networked, so they didn’t want to be part of another network. “If I’m your resource, you have made an option for the poor” ;-).
Luis Arancibia: Agree with Rafael: we must be clear in why and how, and flexible in how to communicate it in each context.
About the structure, at the beginning, it was much more complex, but if you look at it now, it’s not so complex. Each network: leader, core group, members. As a network of networks, GIAN has the same: SJES, core group (=leading group).
One of the lessons that we have learned from failed networks was that there was no firm grounding in governance structure of Society, no responsibility. One of the key questions for the success of this will be if we can establish strong linkages with the social apostolate in each Conference. Then GIAN will not be something additional, but something that reinforces what we are already doing.
With the mapping, we have to listen to what the people at local, provincial level are doing and want to do. Planning should fit with planning of Conferences.
When we start something, there is always lack of resources. I don’t know any successful initiative that started with abundance of resources. At the beginning, you need passion. I think we can do it with the resources we have. We expect that in 15 months, each network should have a clear idea of what they want to do and what the social centres want them to do.