Saturday, January 21, 2017


Source: AGI-Rome Program Overview Powerpoint

The Academic Global Immersion #AGIROME Program has evolved!
By Marco Tavanti, PhD

We are proud about the new developments implemented in our third Academic Global Immersion Program (AGI) in Rome. Here are a few reasons and innovative elements that made this yearly  program a high quality experiential learning clearly exemplifying the Jesuit values of social justice and educating women and men for others.

1. Humanitarian Emergency Integration

The AGI-Rome program is now part of a Graduate Program Certificate for the University of San Francisco's School of Management and a preferred elective integrated in the Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) Program. This integration is important to further extend the learning quality and career outcomes of a program like this. It is also instrumental to help prepare students who want to change the world for the better through professional careers such as those in humanitarian emergency management.

2. Roma Program Coordination

This year we are grateful for the leadership role that Ms. Chiara Peri of Jesuit Refugee Service Italy and Centro Astalli has taken as the AGI-Rome Program Coordinator. Her role and presence in Rome is essential for the success and impact of our program. She is involved everyday in the struggle of refugees and constantly collaborating with other agencies in Rome. Her knowledge in the field and her personal/professional engagement in these social causes are also an inspiration for our students.

3. High Level Meetings

We met with high level leaders and experts in the field of refugee service management, humanitarian emergencies and Jesuit values. We could not have had these kinds of experiential learning from simply studying in our San Francisco classrooms. For example, some of our students were able to meet personally with Pope Francis, a leader and spokesperson to the cause of global refugees. We also met with the EU representative for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). We met with Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, the newly elected Superior General of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) worldwide. We met and expanded our collaborative relations with Fr. Tom Smolich, SJ, International Director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS-Int).

4. Experiential Visits

This year we had more visits with partnering organizations in their offices to provide better context for our students. While logistically it is easier to have leaders coming to us in the conference room of the hotel, maximizing these kind of exposure is extremely important for the experiential learning objective of the program. Students can get a better sense of the organizational managerial and context specific challenges and opportunities happening in these workplaces. We also had a great chance to enjoy the beautiful City of Rome.

5. A Personal Journey

We met and listened to refugees with their compelling stories. These stories embody what we study and give a human face to the efforts we place in understanding policies and best practices in refugee service management. We do not participate in program like this just to experience the refugee crisis through international relations. We primarily participate to understand, analyze and eventually contribute through our research and work as professionals. However, these personal connections and stories are essential to remind us that policies have a human consequences and that statistics are not just numbers but a collection of many stories like those we heard.

6. Follow up commitments

We all shared leadership activities during the immersion. We were impacted by the whole experience and made a commitment to contribute in different ways. Some consented outcomes will be the participation and involvement in the organization of the USF4freedom Conference on April 7, 2017 to share our learning experience with others at USF and connect with San Francisco Bay Area organizations working on refugee service and immigration integration.

7. Social Media Communication

We also implemented and expanded our social media communications before, during and after the  immersion program. These blog posts are an example of this effort. We also tweeted and shared postings on FB and other social media to reach out to our personal, university and organizational networks. Please checkout the #AGIROME hashtags.

8. Students as Colleagues

As Program Director, I am so pleased with the quality and collaborative capacity of our USF students who participated in these programs. They exemplify what the value education of our Jesuit University of San Francisco is all about. They represent transformational leaders and competent agents of change who express compassion and capacity to "Change the World from Here" and anywhere we are in the world. Thank you all! Grazie a Tutti!

READ MORE: Want to read more about the global experiential learning methods of the =#AGIROME program? Check this other Blog  and the referred JNEL article  

WHAT'S NEXT? Stay tuned for the AGI-Rome Programs for next year. Contact me to express your interest in the program and / or suggest other innovative approaches, partnerships and resources that can contribute in any way to the experiential and global values of our educational programs.