Thirty European Jesuit webmasters met together in Portugal with guests from the Asia Pacific Conference, Australia, USA and Africa. We participated on behalf of Jesuit Networking, sharing our work through our communication channels and its impact on networking for the Mission.
It was not a geek-only party as we talked about “interdisciplinary” issues as well. We shared about branding in our provinces. (It’s not only about logos and colors. It’s about style and quality also.) We heard about communication challenges for different spiritual proposals based on a Portuguese experience. (From the Portuguese version of the renewed Pray as you go, called Passo a Rezar, to theApostleship of Prayer.) We rejoiced over cooperation in our provinces and in international fields. (Did you know that jesuitnetworking is a style not an institution only?) And we had non-Jesuit guest who gave us some indication of how our work is seen from the “outside”.
This was the first Jesweb meeting where we could participate in different workshops. We learnt how to use YouTube for Ignatian spirituality (http://seeingmore.org), how to create innovative digital content formats (http://www.startdestilte.be) or how to promote vocations through an institutional website. And so on.
During the rest of the time, anybody could present about novelties. So we heard about http://thejesuitpost.org, http://spex.loyolapress.com, http://institutumsj.net, http://shenshengkongjian.org and many other interesting initiatives.
For more details please feel free to ask your webmaster!
One of the first “viral videos” I can remember, the Story of Stuff, launched by Annie Leonard in 2007 is still going strong with several follow up explainer videos about the problems created by our consumer culture. This first video, which helped to explain where our stuff comes from and what happens to it when we throw it away, has led to a bestselling book and a successful nonprofit.
Annie Leonard, the clever and creative founder, was recently named executive director of Greenpeace USA and in a recent interview talked about how she would like to help this organization be “more skillful and experimental” in how they communicate. While staying true to the facts and data, she explains that it is important to inspire people by using language that is familiar and accessible, articulating a vision for how things can be better.
At Jesuit Networking, we really liked what Annie had to say about communication and networking across sectors, and we’ll leave you with some of her insight as to why we have to break down barriers and reach out to “unlikely partners” to build a stronger movement for change:
“One big priority is building connections between other organizations not only in the progressive moment, but also beyond it — with organizations whose success is intertwined with our own. The more we look systemically at the problem, we see that issues from economic inequity, to women’s rights, to civil rights, to environmental justice are so interconnected. I think that for many years we’ve obstructed the progress of our collective movement by seeing these issues as different from each other. So I’d like to reach out to what I call “unlikely partners,” to figure out how we can help each other, because it’s just increasingly clear to me that we are all going to succeed or fail together. And if we can work together, we will have a smarter and a stronger overall movement.”
Last week at the Jesuit Curia in Rome, Jesuit Networking participated as a facilitator of a workshop on communication and networking with the leaders of the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN).
GIAN is made up of 5 thematic networks on 1. Ecology, 2. Right to Education, 3. Migrants and Refugees, 4. Human Rights – Peacebuilding, and 5. Governance and Management of Natural Resources. These groups have a global reach and have been working together for 5 years in the creation of common spaces and synergies.
The workshop addressed the importance of communication in the strategy of creating networks, especially those that seek to have a global reach and that work with remote communities. An interesting discussion emerged on the role of leaders in the dynamics of network weaving and the different roles needed to build a balanced network. Probably, the most appreciated sessions were the ones that were focused on offering tools and procedures for the management of remote networks.
At Jesuit Networking, we are grateful to be part of this initiative, and being able to help out in strengthening these networks is an essential part of who we are. The dialogues and mutual learning these last couple of days will no doubt lead to greater synergies and bilateral projects in the coming months.
Last week, we had another opportunity to work closely with the University of Loyola Andalucía, in this case a team of researchers from the Business Faculty. For weeks, we have been having a rich dialogue focused on the possible support of @LoyolaAnd in the study and support for the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network from the perspective of organizational development.
Thanks to Loyola Andalucía and especially Emilio and Ana for your time and interest in building a joint mission!
This past weekend, we had an intensive work day with those who are leading the growing Jesuit secondary education network, which has emerged from the International Colloquium on Jesuit Secondary Education. Since the beginning of this initiative around July 2012, we have been in contact, mutually learning from one another, an experience which will soon bear fruit. For now, the network is in the early stages of implementation, beginning to form its team. Soon, we will provide more updates.
We’ve been talking about the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network in many of our previous posts. The Jesuit Networking Project has been invited to be part of the next meeting of leaders of the five current networks that will take place in Rome this May. We will lead a workshop on communication and networks trying to contribute to the common reflection of how technology and communication could play a key role in the development of global networks within the Society of Jesus. This is a great opportunity for us to work with the people who are truly networking at a global scale. You will hear more about this further on.
I think that everybody engaged on the Ignatian digital sphere knows already about the Ignatian Solidarity Network. This initiative is an interesting concept of hub for social justice leaders throughout the Ignatian family with a lot of resemblances to what we’re trying to do with the Jesuit apostolic body.
Last week we have the chance of visit them at their headquarters in Cleveland and invest a good amount of quality time discussing about possible synergies and common projects regarding the global social dimension of our mission throughout our network of institutions, specially in the educational field. if you are not following them, we encourage you to do so. In twitter @IGsolidarityNET is one of the best references for social justice issues within the Ignatian world.
PHOTO: Chris Kerr, coordinator of Ignatian Solidarity Network with Dani Villanueva, SJ coordinator of Jesuit Networking Project.
Little by little Jesuit institutions and networks are approaching Jesuit Networking as a hub where collaboration may happen among different players of the Jesuit mission body. Some of the institutions are just connected with our network or contribute to our contents… But some are part of our core-group participating in the strategy and contributing with resources to the network.
Last week, after a few meetings and some exciting conversations, the world committee of Christian Life Communities is joining the core-group. This network of communities is present in all five continents, in more than sixty countries. The Christian Life Community is an international association of Christians. Members make up small groups, which are part of larger communities organised regionally and nationally, all forming ONE World Community. The charism and spirituality of CLC are Ignatian and they have a strong sense of common mission with the Society of Jesus. You can learn more about CLC communities in their website http://www.cvx-clc.net/
One of the best things of this project is its incredibly wide scope. We’ve people involved from all around the world, and the connections are just starting to happen. A few days ago I had the chance to devirtualize one of our digital volunteers, Pascual Aparicio. We had a bit more than an hour to talk around a coffee, but the conversation was like fire. I’m still amazed by the way jesuit alumni understood each other in such a very quick way, and how jesuits and alumni could work together with an incredibly strong common ground to build on.
Pascual is an entrepreneur and expert in digital startups. Our conversation mainly focused on the features of our future digital platform for jesuit related networks. We both are against building up parallel social networks, but there is some appealing on the little world networks where identity and belonging were an important part of the glue. Whatever will be the platform, it looks like we are dreaming with a Jesuit Hub where you can reference to your already existing profiles while you could network around areas of interest, influence, geographic situation, or areas of action. Something we didn’t finally close is the question about the viability of a network like ours mainly based in volunteer work.
Thanks Pascual for the great conversation and insights. I’m sure we will keep developing these ideas further. If you are interested in this type of conversation, please join the Collaboration Platform Workgroup where you can find Pascual, myself, and many other “ignatian networking freaks.” 😉