Boston College and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), an international Catholic relief and human services organization, have signed a three-year memorandum of understanding that will develop programs and activities for refugees, according to a University release.
University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., and Thomas H. Smolich, S.J., international director of JRS, signed the agreement on April 12.
School of Social Work (SSW) Dean Gautam Yadama has already signed an agreement with JRS on behalf of the SSW. School of Theology and Ministry (STM) Dean Thomas Stegman, S.J., is exploring the possibility of signing a similar sub-agreement with the JRS, according to the release.
The agreement between BC and JRS includes understandings regarding awareness campaigns benefiting refugees, academic materials and publications, educational and experimental services, and for research and consultancy, the release said.
“Being associated with BC helps us raise our game,” Smolich said in the release. “It will help extend awareness of JRS, and create or expand interest in our work. JRS shares in the mission of the Society of Jesus and Boston College to build faith and promote justice, through study, reflection, service, and action.”
The memorandum expands upon the partnership that previously existed between BC and the JRS. In addition to the SSW and STM, the JRS has worked with the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, BC Law School, and Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.
“BC’s relationship with JRS has already been fruitful,” Leahy said in the release. “This is a memorandum of understanding provides a valuable connection between both institutions, and for BC, a further manifestation of our international commitment.”
The partnership between BC and the JRS provides more than 30 placements for students to provide therapy to teach job skills to asylum-seekers in South Africa, trauma survivors in Malawi, and help resettle refugees in Portugal, according to a University release.
Superior General of the Society of Jesus Pedro Arrupe, S.J., founded the JRS in 1980. In 2000, Arrupe registered the organization as a foundation of the Vatican City State. The program focuses on human rights work and advocacy, psychological support, reconciliation, livelihoods, health care, emergency assistance, and education.
Featured Image Courtesy of Celine Lim / Heights Editor