Santa Clara University

Office of the President

Globalization and Justice:

Can They Co-Exist in the World?

Fr. Paul Locatelli, S.J.
Father Paul Locatelli, S.J., President


I invite you to reflect with me on this question as you read about how Santa Clara, a 150-year-old Jesuit university, looks at some of the complex issues we face as a global village.

While this report focuses mainly on the sesquicentennial academic year that ended in June 2001, it is not possible to write about the topic without taking note of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. That day changed our understanding of global relationships. Globalization may spread cultures, for good or ill. New technologies have always been its powerful engine, whether in the form of Polynesian canoes or World Wide Web sites. I believe Sept. 11 and its aftermath will alter our view of citizenship and democracy, freedom and community, religion and culture.

The tragedy directly affected the Santa Clara community. We lost a student, junior Deora Bodley; an alumnus, Capt. Lawrence D. Getzfred '71; and siblings of three students on that tragic day. This report is dedicated to them, to the other victims and their families, and to all who grieve and who seek justice in this world.

At a Sept. 17 memorial liturgy in the Mission Gardens, more than 2,500 members of the campus and local community heard staff member Ahmad Ahmadi and faculty member Cynthia Baker speak following the Mass. Ahmadi read movingly from the Koran and Professor Baker said in part:

"Peace is not a matter of stillness, tranquillity, and certainty, in [the Jewish tradition]. It is, perhaps paradoxically, a peace that is unsettled and unsettling-that finds contentment through always asking, always seeking, always risking uncertainty. Peace, wholeness, shalom...is a never-ending dynamic process through which the world can be born to wholeness again and again and again."

Santa Clara University's experience of globalization, fortunately, is usually a positive one. The University's location in the Silicon Valley gives it a unique window and place in the world of technology and economics; its location in California makes it part of the world's fifth largest economy. Its Jesuit tradition of inquiry and reflection go back more than 400 years. All of these distinctive aspects of the University contribute to its particular examination of the dimensions of globalization.

We are faced with the critical question: What can this American, Jesuit, Catholic university do to have a credible impact on the complex and ever-expanding issues included in "globalization"?

This question challenges Santa Clara University to be a locus for debate about the emerging reality of globalization, as any university should be. Yet, we ask deeper questions about global and local citizenship and our moral responsibility to other people, especially in the poorest countries of the world. Will we use our citizenship to help achieve a higher standard of living and social justice for others? How will we give this world a greater chance at achieving peace among all people within their own cultures and among nations? How will we, as global citizens, be able to influence decisions that benefit both strong, expanding economies and fragile, fledgling ones? In what ways will our graduates in engineering, English, psychology, biology, business, and the arts make a difference?

In a small way, the four essays in this report-on technology, markets, community-based learning, and solidarity with the world-reflect on different aspects of globalization. At a higher education conference Santa Clara University hosted in October 2000 as part of its sesquicentennial year, Very Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, offered an approach to answering this question. He challenged us to connect the education of whole persons with issues of global justice and injustice.

It seems clear that the same factors that can divide us can also draw the world into greater connectedness, with great opportunities, for example, in reconfigured international relations, new technologies and the Internet, new cultural forms, and new market structures that transcend political borders. We also see contradictions such as the growing gap between rich and poor, the fouling of the environment, and the continuing violations of human rights, and know we must be alert to these problems.

I have quoted extensively from Fr. Kolvenbach's talk at Santa Clara, and another he gave in Rome last May, because both talks are opportunities for a Jesuit university to engage in a valuable campus dialogue. All successful organizations benefit by periodically evaluating their alignment with their missions. Reflecting on our Jesuit leader's challenge keeps us focused on the distinctive Catholic and Jesuit mission within which we operate. In a time when the topic of globalization has taken on extraordinary new shadings, our mission to educate men and women of competence, conscience, and compassion seems more powerful than ever.

Focusing on the sesquicentennial year activities of Santa Clara's four Centers of Distinction, this report illustrates a few of the ways in which each of us-the corporate executive, religious, faculty member, student, philanthropist, parent, and friend, from different religions, races, cultures, and national origins-can learn and live together.

I want to thank all of the people and organizations that contributed to our sesquicentennial conferences and lectures, particularly the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation, which provided the major support for most of the conferences.

I hope you find something valuable in this report and that you will not hesitate to continue this dialogue with us at Santa Clara University in the days and years ahead.

 

Paul Locatelli, S.J.

President

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