News Detail
Father Daniel Hendrickson, SJ, with a Jesuit Worldwide Learning program graduate.
Refugees in Kenya and Malawi Earn Diplomas Through Jesuit Worldwide Learning Program

July 30, 2018 — This month, 61 refugees in Kenya and Malawi earned diplomas from Regis University through the Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) program.

Father John P. Fitzgibbons, SJ, president of Regis University in Denver, and Father Daniel Hendrickson, SJ, president of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, handed out diplomas at JWL graduation ceremonies at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya on July 16 and the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi on July 20.

“Many of us think the refugees are the poorest of the poor and most marginalized. Those in the refugee camps, while they are poor, are often the business-oriented ones. They’re very resourceful. They’re very bright. In this program, they feel like the world is finally investing in them,” said Fr. Fitzgibbons.

Founded in 2010, JWL provides university-level coursework for refugees in 11 countries. The program offers refugees the opportunity to earn a diploma in liberal studies. Typically completed in three years, the 45 credit-hour diploma includes 30 core credits in liberal studies and 15 credits in one of three specialties: social work, education or business. Many of the graduates use their education to start businesses or lead community-based organizations within their camp, and credits they earn can be applied toward bachelor's degree programs at U.S. institutions.


Regis University president Fr. John P. Fitzgibbons, SJ, with a graduate of the Jesuit Worldwide Learning program.

More than 180 instructors from 20 U.S. Jesuit institutions and 10 international institutions teach the online courses. Worldwide, JWL enrolls more than 350 students each semester and at least half the students are women. In its 8th year of operation, the program has expanded to 20 learning centers in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the United States.

“As we’ve found, the refugees are not doing this job to get a job,” said Armando Borja, JWL’s chief operations officer. “They’re doing this to create jobs. They are doing this to help their communities.”

“I found I need to go meet my clients in their various needs to help them,” said Grace Muvunyi, valedictorian for the Kakuma graduating class. “We’ve learned to become professional communication social change agents. We can change the world.”

Kakuma’s 33 graduates were the sixth class to complete the program at the camp. Located in northern Kenya near the South Sudan border, the Kakuma refugee camp counts more than 189,000 refugees from 19 countries.

Dzaleka's 28 graduates comprised the largest class to graduate from JWL in that camp’s history. The Dzaleka refugee camp houses more than 34,000 refugees.

“By graduating today, it is a testament of courage, hard work and determination on my part. But my main focus is to become an inspiration to my children and to the other women in my community,” said Joyce Kagai, a Rwandan refugee and JWL graduate at the Dzaleka camp. In addition to running her own business selling snacks and drinks, Kagai is launching an initiative to support young moms called the Teen Mom Association. “A single community, a single teacher, a single cohort or a single woman can change the world,” she said.

“One thing I’ve realized is that this program at Jesuit Worldwide Learning represents the best of Jesuit higher education in the world,” Fr. Hendrickson told the graduates. “Students of Africa know the importance and power of education.”

Photos from the Dzaleka camp:







Photos from the Kakuma camp:

[Sources: The Denver Post, Regis University (Regis University Celebrates Jesuit Worldwide Learning Graduation, Regis University Confers Diplomas at Refugee Camp in Kenya, 50 refugees in Kenya, Malawi will earn Regis University diplomas)]





Recent News

November 11, 2018 — Jesuit universities are recognized by many veterans’ associations as exemplary when it comes to reaching out and helping veterans succeed.

November 9, 2018 — Speaking on behalf of all adult Catholics, Pope Francis formally closed the Synod of Bishops on Oct. 28 by asking young people for forgiveness.

November 5, 2018 — Today is the feast of All Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus, when we remember the Jesuits who have lived Ignatian values in inspirational ways.

October 31, 2018 — Today is the feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ, patron saint of Jesuit brothers.


October 23, 2018 — After six months of construction work, the relocation and restoration of Our Lady of Peace Chapel on Xavier’s campus is complete.

October 18, 2018 — The Jesuits issued a statement of continued solidarity with the people of Nicaragua on the six-month anniversary of nonviolent protests.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 10/29/18

America 10/22/18

America 10/15/18



Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago
Located 80 miles north of Milwaukee, the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago welcomes men and women of all faiths to its silent preached and directed retreats.