Saint Joseph's University's commitment to promoting international knowledge is fundamental to the institution's overarching Jesuit mission of service to all people regardless of nationality or other life circumstance and to advocate for the service of faith and promotion of justice. In so doing, international education at Saint Joseph's University in all of its forms seeks to “raise our Jesuit educational standard to ‘educate the whole person of solidarity for the real world.'” As Rev. Hans Peter Kolvenbach, S.J. stated recently, “Solidarity is learned through “contact” rather than through “concepts,” and when the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change.”(1) Recent world events remind us that we belong to a global community in which our own lives are connected to the lives of people beyond our neighboring communities and beyond our borders. This situation poses challenges and opportunities for all professionals, who now need to possess the necessary skills to work with people from other cultures and to be prepared to handle the conflicts and possibilities that arise. In particular, this means preparing people who are capable of navigating the economic, political, spiritual, and social currents of societies around the world in a way that foster international understanding and cooperation.
This commitment to international education is embraced both in cross-border exchanges and in the academic programs that occur on campus. On-campus programs will continue to include integrated course offerings in areas such as the Latin American Studies Program and the Asian Studies Program as well as liberal arts and business programs. Cross-border efforts will continue to be directed both toward offering and developing excellent opportunities for our students and faculty to study, teach and research outside of the United States in semester, summer and short term programs. Our goal is to offer these opportunities on every continent. We also want to have an increasing number of students engaged in these programs across all academic disciplines and regardless of financial circumstances.
In addition, Saint Joseph's will continue to sponsor less traditional cross-border offerings that combine academics with the Jesuit mission of service. By continuing to offer these types of programs, our aim is to give the Saint Joseph's community the opportunity to travel to other countries and to engage in service learning projects that provide them first hand experience with different cultures at a concrete level. Indeed, Saint Joseph's University is and will strive to be a “globally engaged university.”
We will continue with our efforts to bring an increasing number of foreign students to Saint Joseph's University either as part of the various exchange programs, or as fully matriculated undergraduate or graduate students of the university. We will also continue to provide a supportive and respectful environment for all students, staff and faculty. Our responsibility to our international students is not only to help them feel welcome in our country, but to also help them succeed academically and to gain a new perspective on our culture. It is also our responsibility to provide opportunities for our international students so that they can show us how they enrich our campus culturally, ethnically and spiritually.
The Jesuit mission knows no borders, and Saint Joseph's University, as a Jesuit institution, encourages students and faculty to take a truly global view of their opportunities and their responsibilities and be equipped with the knowledge and training that will enable them to effectively engage with and respond to people and cultures from all parts of the world; and to use their talents towards the betterment of others.
(1) The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education , Keynote Address, October 6, 2000, Santa Clara University.