HEST Economy, Poverty and Ethics Cluster Update

Following the third round of meetings in Madrid, March 1-2, 2018

Across Europe, the Society of Jesus maintains a large network of higher-education institutions and social-policy centres which every day educate tens of thousands of young people and scrutinize untold government proposals and policy initiatives. The HEST initiative (Higher Education for Social Transformation) seeks to mobilise this network of research bodies so as to challenge realities on the ground by advocating for constructive change founded on solid research. Going beyond an expression of our collective social responsibility, HEST is an attempt to put flesh and bones on one of the hallmark slogans of the Jesuit approach to life – that we should be men and women for others.

Seven research clusters have been established that seeks to direct this wealth of researching talent towards the issues that are most pressing in Europe today.

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First webinar of the HEST Ecology Cluster

During their in-person meetings in Madrid and Bonn, the members of the Ecology Cluster developed a clear idea about their favorite way of working together: they wanted to preserve the good team spirit, the close interaction and intense discussions, but at the same time they felt it was necessary to reduce the travel cost for both the participants and the environment. For that reason they decided to intenify their cooperation via three online workshops (or webinars) and one personal meeting per year.

The first of these webinars took place on March 9th. After José Carlos Romero had guided the group through the technical details of the webinar and the HEST website, the group focused on two issues: sharing their personal reflections on “Living Laudato Si“ and – based on these findings – how to continue with their action plan and research projects. During the personal reflections, it became clear that Pope Francis` encyclica is not so much a roadmap that explains what must be done in order to save the environment, but a precious orientation how to do it. The participants decided to collect further feedback on “Living Laudati Si“ and to elaborate these findings as they can serve as a valuable orientation for both researchers and activists, for clergy men, politicians and concerned citizens alike. 

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HEST Cluster on Science and Religion - Innsbruck’s workshop of dispositionalism

The workshop took place on the 26-27th of Feburary 2018 in the wintry Austrian city of Innsbruck at the Faculty of Theology of the Innsbruck University. The following five members of the Cluster took part in the event: prof. Josef Quitterer from Innsbruck University (the host of the workshop), dr Jacek Poznański SJ from Jesuit University Ignatianum in Cracow (coordinator of the cluster), dr Tobias Müller from Hochschule für Philosophie in München, dr Bruno Nobre SJ from Catholic University of Portugal in Braga, dr Francois Euvé SJ from Centre Sevre in Paris. On the first day some other members joined the workshop by online Skype connection: José Carlos Romero (HEST coordinator) and prof. Sara Lumbreras (coordinator of the cluster), both from Comillas University in Madrid.

 The meeting began with Checa Romero’s presentation on the developments within the whole HEST project. He informed also about progresses in all other clusters. Then Jacek Poznański presented the outcomes of the Cluster’s survey which subsequently were discussed in details.

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The HEST cluster on Ignatian studies takes the lead

 At the pace of the discernment of the group, the third meeting of the Ignatian studies cluster of HEST progressed. We wanted to be faithful to the commitment and to the lights that came up during the last meeting in Brussels last September 2017, i.e. "We have to give as much or more importance to “how” we do things than to “what” we want to do.

In this way, this meeting was established as a space of common discernment that would lead us to define the action plan of the cluster.

To this end, we met again in Brussels: Carlos Coupeau (Deusto), José García de Castro (Comillas), Philip Endean (Centre Sevres), Mark Rotsaert (Campion Hall), Jad Chebli (Saint Joseph Univeristy Beirut) and José Carlos Romero (JCEP).

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Meeting of the axis “Contemporary Spiritualties and Spiritual experiences"


On Thursday 14th December 2017 a meeting of the axis “Contemporary Spiritualties and Spiritual experiences" belonging to the Anthropology cluster, was held in Madrid (Los Negrales). Eckhard Frick SJ, from Germany (Hochschule für Philosophy), came to Madrid and participated in the III Interdisciplinary Seminar of the Science, Technology and Religion Chair of the Pontifical University of Comillas, in Los Negrales (in the province of Madrid). I

n the framework of this meeting, we have met some members of the axis "Contemporary Spiritualties and Spiritual experiences": its coordinator, Eckhard Frick and researchers of the Pontifical University of Comillas from Madrid: Pedro Castelao, Silvia Bara, Santiago García Mourelo and Carlos Blanco. They shared the lines of work and research in relation to the spiritual searches of the contemporary human being, in order to outline our contribution to the Congress of Anthropology planned by the Cluster for 2019: "Being Human in the 21st Century: Philosophical and Theological Challenges". They also agreed to hold a meeting (half face-to-face, half by Skype) on Friday morning, 26th October 2018, in Munich, before the Congress organized by Eckhard Frick:"Spirituelle Erfahrung in philosophischer Perspektive". Silvia Bara (From Comillas University) will also participate in the Congress.


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