News Detail
"In the midst of conflict and instability, education offers refugees the intellectual nourishment to rebuild their lives." — Jesuit Father Peter Balleis, Jesuit Refugee Service International Director
First Class of 48 Refugees Graduate from Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins

October 3, 2013 — After years of hard work in harsh conditions, the first group of 48 refugees graduated with diplomas in Liberal Studies last week from an innovative online education program sponsored by Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins and Jesuit Refugee Service.

The first graduation ceremony took place in Kakuma camp in northwestern Kenya, where 25 refugees received diplomas accredited by Regis University in Denver. The second ceremony was held in Dzaleka camp in central Malawi, where 23 more students graduated. 

"This is an incredible moment for these refugees, their families and communities. After being forced to flee in search of safety, shelter, food and employment, the idea of university seemed unattainable. It is a journey from survival to rebirth, the transformation in the lives of refugees and their communities," said Jesuit Father Peter Balleis, Jesuit Refugee Service International Director. 

Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins offers refugees an opportunity to obtain higher education and help their communities, combining new technology with Ignatian pedagogy, emphasizing learning through experience, reflection, evaluation and service.

With the assistance of Jesuit universities and Jesuit Refugee Service field staff, Higher Education at the Margins employs the Internet, on-site teachers, mentors and tutors to offer accredited diploma courses and certificates of learning, known as Community Service Learning Track (CSLT), to refugees. More than 1,200 refugees are expected to participate in the pilot phase of the program, ending in August 2014. Hundreds in Jordan, Kenya and Malawi are already enrolled in online higher education courses and diploma programs. The program will soon be expanded to Afghanistan and Chad, with plans to grow to 10 sites by 2018.

"In the midst of conflict and instability, education offers refugees the intellectual nourishment to rebuild their lives. Not only does this program prepare participants professionally, it has an impact on whole communities. Higher education builds leaders, imbued with the values of social responsibility and justice. These graduation days are historic events. They mark a beginning in the lives of the individuals and their communities,” said Fr. Balleis. [Jesuit Refugee Service]


Recent News

August 18, 2014 — Today is the feast day of Saint Alberto Hurtado, a Chilean Jesuit priest known for his engagement with Chilean culture and his work with young adults and the poor.

August 15, 2014 — Jesuit Father Ron Mercier became provincial of the Jesuits' new U.S. Central and Southern Province on July 31.

August 13, 2014 — In remembrance of the 1989 murders of six Jesuits and two lay women in El Salvador, 46 delegates from U.S. Jesuit institutions embarked on a pilgrimage to El Salvador.

August 11, 2014 — Jesuit-run America magazine is undergoing the most dramatic expansion of its domestic and international coverage in 30 years with several recent appointments.

August 7, 2014 — Today, Jesuits worldwide commemorate the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus, after it was suppressed by papal brief for 41 years.

August 7, 2014 — Meet Jesuit Brother Ken Homan, the star of an interactive video on the U.S. Jesuits’ vocations website, where he talks to users about being a Jesuit brother.

August 7, 2014 — Today, Jesuits and their lay colleagues conclude a nine-day novena commemorating the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 7/7/14

America - 6/23/14

America - 6/9/14



Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos
The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos has offered prayerful solitude and inspiring vistas to those seeking spiritual rejuvenation since 1925.