More than 100 students from Jesuit universities worldwide, including residents of the Philippines, India, Qatar, Lebanon, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Australia, convened at Fairfield in June for the Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN) Student Leadership Conference for young people with a calling to work in the humanitarian field.
The students came to learn from humanitarian relief experts and academics as well as from each other at the four-day conference entitled “Global Perspectives on Humanitarian Action.”
Organized by the University’s Center for Faith and Public Life, the event featured leaders from such organizations as Catholic Relief Services, Jesuit Refugee Service, and Save the Children who met with the students, most of whom are intent on embarking on careers in social justice, humanitarian action, and community activism.
Roundtables and presentations offered best practices on service/immersion trips, simulation exercises on humanitarian crisis, and frameworks for helping people in politically unstable environments. Students from Ateneo University in the Philippines discussed their project to organize stakeholders in its community to respond to disasters like typhoons that plague the Pacific Ring, efforts involving connecting students via text messages. Sanaa Chadda, an International Development Studies major at Australian Catholic University, gave a presentation about how development programs are helping alleviate poverty in India. Fairfield seniors Maria Clinton ’13 and Nargis Alizada ’13, founder of Fairfield’s Muslim Student Association, discussed their project, “Stand For: Pakistan,” aimed at creating media awareness of the monsoon floods that hit many provinces there.
Other Fairfield students shared lessons learned from spring break experiences in Joplin, Missouri, and New Orleans, where they repaired homes damaged by natural disasters. Kelly Ryan, acting deputy assistant secretary for immigration policy for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, told the students: “If you believe you are called to be men and women for others, this is one of the best ways to live it.” For more information, visit www.fairfield.edu/cfpl/cfpl_juhan_conferences.html.