By Deanna Howes Spiro, Director of Communications, AJCU
Every minute, every day, 30 people are displaced from their homes, forced to become refugees or asylum-seekers. This is just one of many sobering statistics on immigration, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
Two-thirds of the world’s refugees come from five countries (Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia)
3.5 million refugee children are not able to attend school
10 million people cannot claim a state, or are at risk of becoming stateless
Any number of issues can force displacement: politics, economics, religion, ethnic conflicts. And when that happens, it can last for years. During such a trying situation, how does one cope?
Thankfully, a number of non-profit organizations exist to help refugees both inside and outside of camps through education, work-training programs, and advocacy at the federal level. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is one of those organizations making a difference both domestically in Washington, D.C. and abroad, for refugees in camps across Europe, Africa and Asia. You will learn about their work in this issue of Connections.
This issue also highlights the research and advocacy for immigrants currently being conducted at five AJCU institutions: Seattle University, Loyola Marymount University, Fordham University, Loyola University New Orleans and Loyola University Chicago. An additional outreach effort is the online AJCU Migration Research Directory. This directory was launched last spring to provide faculty from Jesuit institutions in the United States and abroad with a platform to connect and collaborate with each other, and to share their research with the broader public.
We are proud of the work being conducted at our institutions and organizations every day to serve those who live on the margins of society. In the words of Rev. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., former Superior General of the Society of Jesus and founder of the Jesuit Refugee Service, “Today’s prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for-others… who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors.”