Friends of Fe y Alegría in the US had the great privilege of being part of a dialogue between the Father General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa SJ, and the International Federation of Fe y Alegría team earlier this month in Madrid, Spain. The meeting, which took place in the headquarters of Entreculturas-Fe y Alegría España, focused on the moment in which the International Federation of Fe y Alegría (FIFyA) finds itself, as well as the global challenges facing both the Movement and the Society itself.

The meeting was attended by Carlos Fritzen SJ, FIFyA General Coordinator, Daniel Villanueva SJ, General Director of Entreculturas-Fe y Alegría España, Luis Arancibia, FIFyA Sustainability Coordinator, Ramón Almansa, Executive Director of Entreculturas-Fe y Alegría España, Lucía Rodríguez, FIFyA Public Advocacy Coordinator, Nate Radomski, Friends of Fe y Alegría in the US Coordinator, Marco Tulio Gómez SJ, FIFyA Coordination Team member, Pablo Funes, International Cooperation Coordinator at Entreculturas-Fe y Alegría España and Luca Fabris, Africa/Asia Coordinator at Entreculturas-Fe y Alegría España.

The meeting, which lasted more than two hours, primarily focused on the relationship of Fe y Alegría as part of the educational mission of the Society of Jesus on a global level, as well as the challenges the Society is facing after the last General Congregation. One of the main focuses of Fe y Alegría’s work over the coming months and years is increasing public advocacy for the Right to Education, which the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network is currently leading. Referencing the need to defend this right, the Father General pointed out that the Society is experiencing a moment of development of collaboration and networks where “Fe y Alegría can be a point of reference for the Society of Jesus. It is already the largest and most complex educational network.” For Arturo Sosa, “the greatest contribution that Fe y Alegría can give the Society today would be the opportunity of facing its challenges in a creative way. Fe y Alegría has been a reference not only because of what it has already achieved, but also because of its networking.”

During the reflection, he also pointed out two other great challenges facing the International Federation. On the one hand is the work of Fe y Alegría in Africa (currently with projects in Chad, Madagascar and DR Congo), which is leading to a historical moment within the Society as it is significantly expanding its offer of quality education to the most excluded and vulnerable areas on the continent. Last year Fe y Alegría held its first ever Fe y Alegría Africa Congress, which took place from January 25-31 in Chad.

On the other is Friends of Fe y Alegría in the US, another one of FIFyA’s global initiatives, which aims to create strategic alliances with institutions and Latino communities in the United States in order to raise awareness on the importance of upholding the right to quality and inclusive education around the globe.

The meeting was a moment of dialogue and exchange with the Father General and it reinforced and framed Fe y Alegría’s lines of work over the coming years, where the construction of networks and structures of collaboration will be key to encouraging an increasingly universal and shared mission throughout the Society.