The University of San
Francisco is teaming up with Catholic Relief Services (CRS),
the official international relief and development agency of the Catholic Church
in the U.S., for a new immersion program.
Scholars in Global
Solidarity, as the program has been dubbed, aims to develop, student solidarity
with marginalized communities around the world, faculty expertise, and course
curriculum. USF is one of three Catholic universities in the U.S. and the only
Jesuit university chosen for the initial three-year phase of the program. The
University of Dayton and St. Johns University are also part of the pilot.
USF was selected for its
demonstrated leadership and excellence in applying Catholic Social Teaching —
with its social justice mission and focus on addressing the causes of poverty.
That leadership and excellence are exemplified by USF’s work through the Joan
and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought and the Arrupe
Justice Immersion program led by University Ministry and the Center for Global Education.
“In launching this new
program, we have looked for institutions who are walking the talk of faith
doing justice in very concrete ways, supported by their institutional charisma
and strategic initiatives,” said Susan Walters, spokeswoman for CRS.
The idea for Scholars in
Global Solidarity came in the wake of genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s where CRS
was on the ground and helping with relief efforts when the worst violence
erupted. “We realized that all the good work we had been doing — the silos and
the schools we built, the children we fed, the farms we planted — was not
enough,” said Ken Hackett, past president of CRS, in an article in Explore Journal
explaining CRS’ expanded social justice efforts.
“We realized that we had to start addressing the justice issues relating to the
social relationships that were imbalanced in Rwanda.”
USF President Stephen A.
Privett, S.J., welcomed the alliance, calling it a tribute to the serious and
effective efforts of the university’s faculty, staff, and students to blend
academic rigor with social responsibility.
“As an expression of this
partnership, I was part of a mid-January CRS-sponsored delegation for Catholic
university presidents to Rwanda and Burundi,” Fr. Privett said. “The experience
was an eye-, mind-, and heart-opener, as well as an inspiring introduction to
the people and work of CRS and to the possibilities of our new partnership.”