His Majesty King Felipe of Spain was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the World Assembly of Jesuit Institutions of Higher Education at the University of Deusto.
Under the slogan “Transforming Our World Together”, the meeting aims to reflect on and discuss the challenges to Jesuit and world institutions such as civic and political leadership, environmental justice, interreligious dialogue, education for the most disadvantaged sectors and peace and reconciliation.
Running from the 8 to 12 July, the World Assembly of Jesuit Institutions of Higher Education brings together approximately 300 presidents, rectors and other heads responsible for more than two hundred Jesuit universities and higher education institutions around the world. The opening ceremonies saw speeches from the Chancellor of the University of Deusto, José María Guibert, and the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology, then gave a presentation entitled ‘Catholic social tracking and the role of the Jesuit university today’. During his presentation, the Cardinal said that social justice, coexistence, progress and peace are just some of the key concepts of the mission, the service and the commitment to the world of the assembled guests.
King Felipe then gave a speech in which he recounted his own experiences as a student, making special mention of his time at the University of Georgetown and how it was an “integral experience that left a deep impression on me”. He added that “during this period I verified once again that the maximum academic qualification must always be linked to values such as effort, responsibility and the common good.”
Following the opening ceremonies and presentations, His Majesty held a brief meeting with the General Superior of the Society of Jesus and Mr John DeGioia, President of Georgetown University.