This past Monday, January 15th, we commemorated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King often spoke about the “inescapable network of mutuality.” In many of his letters, Dr. King noted that our shared humanity was tied to our shared success as a society. In his sermon on January 7, 1968, he expressed this interconnectedness this way: “For you will never be what you ought to be until they are what they ought to be.”

I am often reminded of Dr. King’s words. Dr. King—like Fe y Alegría founder Fr. José María Vélaz, S.J.—was convinced that the path to lasting peace, true peace, would be forged through education. Both of these consequential and deeply spiritual individuals believed that education was not an act of rote learning, but a tool for social change. In the words of Fr. Vélaz, “The mission of Fe y Alegría is not to build schools, but to transform, through education, social structures.”

That is the role of Jesuit education programs. Building women and men for and with others, capable of becoming protagonists in their individual and communal development. An education that is anchored in a profound commitment to social justice and human dignity.

Jesuit education networks, like Fe y Alegría, understand that education is a fundamental human right, a public good, and a public responsibility. Together with national ministries of education, they work to prioritize and ensure access to quality education for all, transcending any form of barrier. Together with Magis Americas, our partners work to build multi-stakeholder alliances that meld public-private partnerships in support of quality and inclusive education.

Crucial to these alliances is our shared conviction that quality and inclusive education is key to:

  • guaranteeing equal opportunities
  • caring for our Common Home the Earth
  • promoting tolerance and diversity
  • encouraging citizen participation
  • empowering individuals and communities to become protagonists in their own development

Most fundamental, though, is our firm belief that education is key to accessing and enjoying all other human rights and that, more than anything else, is the linchpin to lasting peace.

As we mark the sixth International Day of Education, I am humbled to walk alongside you, and so many other individuals, working toward more just societies through education programs that promote social change and a lasting peace. Thank you.