Dolphin Stories

Thursday, August 25, 2011

El Salvador Immersion Trip Seeks to Strengthen Jesuit Ideals and Leadership

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Members of the ICP group, including Le Moyne's Dr. Shawn Ward (at left) met with Hugo Roger Martínez Bonilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs for   El Salvador (in tie) during its recent eight-day trip to the country. 

As part of the Ignatian Colleagues Program (ICP), Dr. Shawn Ward of the psychology department, recently traveled to  San Salvador, El Salvador. Dr. Ward was among 12 individuals -- representing 10 Jesuit institutions -- who took part in the trip. 

Describing it as an educational immersion trip, Dr. Ward said "Our experience was pretty diverse. We met with government officials representing both political parties. We met with faculty and toured the University of Central America (Universidad Centroamericana). We visited a coffee cooperative, and also a village that had been displaced by civil strife back in the 1980s." 

The ICP, according to its mission statement, "seeks to develop Ignatian partners in Jesuit higher education who are capable of and committed to assuming leadership within the Ignatian spiritual and educational heritage and who will sustain their school’s Jesuit Catholic character into the future." Le Moyne participants in the initial cohort of the ICP program are Dr. Ward and Dr. Dennis DePerro, vice president for enrollment management.  

The experience was very eye-opening for Dr. Ward, who had never traveled abroad before. "What struck me was the level of poverty in this country compared to the feeling of hope that existed. While the capital of  San Salvador has a large international presence, when we went out into the rural communities, they lived a simple life and expressed a great deal of hope for the future.... What was exciting for me as a student development person was to be on campus and see their students. They look like our students, they were excited to be there and worked hard. But their struggles after college are different than our students. Their economic situation is much more severe than ours, and there are serious social issues they have to face because basic needs are not being met in their country." 


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