IJEP Partners to Meet in Chicago to Finalize Curricular Resource on the Environment

Partner institutions and collaborators involved in the International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP), including the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU),  will reconvene in Chicago in early February of this year for the purpose of finalizing the output in the development of an online curricular resource that brings to the fore emerging and current global challenges on the environment.  The IJEP is an initiative by the Higher Education Secretariat of the Society of Jesus, concretely responding to the call of Jesuit Superior General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, particularly in highlighting the environment as a frontier agenda needing global attention.

The IJEP, a three-year initiative that proposes to create “Living Text,”  which is an online curricular resource that integrates science, moral and spiritual perspectives on environmental studies to be used both by teachers and students among higher and secondary Jesuit schools around the world, led to the convening of the First Chicago Workshop on 21st-26th October 2012, attended by Dr. Jesse Manuta, ADDU’s then Academic Vice President (AVP), now a researcher of the Tropical Institute for Climate Studies (TropICS), and Dr. Julie Otadoy (for her contribution in helping to create the university’s then-proposed Environmental Science program). Besides ADDU, Xavier University (XU) and the Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC) are the Jesuits’ educational and social apostolates in the Philippines that actively participated and were involved in the IJEP. 

The aim of IJEP in creating “Living Text” is to take environmental studies to the next level by holistically engaging the person in the whole educative process of learning. It does so by providing an easily accessible platform, such as an online facility, where the young learner can have access to different modes of integration of the distinct facets of learning about environmental issues.  This is being facilitated through the dissemination of cutting-edge researches on the environment, combined with strong moral and spiritual reflections in looking at these issues, inasmuch as these are anchored on the precepts of Jesuit education.

Participating institutions at the IJEP were assigned to formulate and write chapter topics on environmental studies.  Dr. Otadoy and Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ, dean of ADDU’s School of Arts and Sciences (SAS), together with co-authors from other participating Jesuit universities, primarily contributed in the crafting of a chapter on global climate change. On the other hand, Dr. Randell U. Espina, dean of the School of Engineering and Architecture (SEA), and Dr. Manuta, co-wrote with others a chapter on energy. Other important chapters to be featured on “Living Text” tackle topics such as loss of biodiversity, water crisis, food systems and food security, and extractive industries. 

A little more than a year later, a follow-up gathering of the founding members of the IJEP will take place during the Healing Earth Chicago Workshop II, scheduled on 9th-11th February 2014 at the Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Center in the Loyola University Chicago, which served as the anchor of IJEP. This new gathering proposes to finalize, consolidate and refine the final draft of the overall output for “Living Text”, before they could be launched formally and publicly online.  Upon the recommendation of Fr. McNamara and the approval of ADDU president Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, as well as the support of the University Research Council (URC), Dr. Manuta, as well as Dr. Otadoy (now based in the University of San Carlos in Cebu City) will be attending the second Chicago workshop.  (By M. Isabel S. Actub of Arrupe Communications & Advocacy and Dr. Jessie Manuta for the Tropical Institute for Climate Studies)

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