AGI Program

Academic Global Immersion #AGIROME

NPA 663: Humanitarian Emergency/ Refugee Service Management

The Academic Global Immersion in Rome, Italy (#AGIROME) is a program designed to gain knowledge and experiential learning in the field of refugee service management. Students learn about refugee rights and international community’s responses for protection and humanitarian solutions. They learn from meeting with leaders and managers of Jesuit Refugee Service and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) such as the United Nations. They prepare their global immersion with 3 San Francisco-based sessions. They demonstrate their learning with assignments related to critical reflections and advocacy/writing, best practices and social innovation solutions for NGO management.

The AGI-Rome program follows the experience-reflections methods of other Arrupe Immersion Programs combined with applied fieldwork and professional preparations in humanitarian emergency coordination, policies and sustainable solutions. The program centers on Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)’s mission for service, accompaniment and advocacy to support the rights and dignity of forced migrants. It also relates to the policies and fieldwork managerial practices of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and other key international and national institutions.

Since 2014, University of San Francisco’s School of Management graduate students have benefitted from this experience by reflecting on the social relevance of their career interests and skills to the plight of forced migration. In 2018, the program was expanded to include Master in Migration Studies students. With their projects, they have contributed to make a positive social impact on partnering organizations that assist refugees, forced migrants and trafficking victims in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the USA, in Europe and worldwide. Learn more about past student experiences at more about the connected annual USF for freedom conference at

Course Description

Grounded in a rights framework, examines the organizational managerial practices and national / international policies related to forced migration, refugees and people seeking refuge and anti-human trafficking. It exposes students to real world situations and solutions for the global refugee “crisis” while offering understanding on the cross-sector collaborations for humanitarian emergency management. It focusses on the innovative values of accompaniment of Jesuit Refugee Services and other nonprofits, NGOs and foundations. The course is connected to the Academic Global Immersion (AGI) in Rome, Italy.

This course was first developed by Dr. Marco Tavanti, Program Director of the Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) program and Professor of the University of San Francisco’s School of Management, in collaboration with Jesuit Refugee Service, the United Nations Refugee Agency and other international organizations to enhance the global experiential learning opportunities for nonprofit, public administrators and managers at University of San Francisco. It run annually since 2014 to give an opportunity to USF and SOM students to learn directly from the management, leadership and administrative policies of European and international NGOs and IGOs engaged in services and advocacy for refugee rights, forced migration and anti-human trafficking.
Program Overview

Refugee Focus

The course and its experiential learning components focus on understanding managerial and policy issues related to refugee service. The work of refugees and forced migration in general engages many nongovernmental organizations and civil society organizations worldwide. The work of international organizations such as the United Nations Refugee Agency is often done in partnership with NGOs. Understanding the nature of such cross-sector partnerships, along with the exploration of the humanitarian, legal and administrative complexities of refugee work are central to this AGI and important to the study of NGOs. In addition, the partnership and examples of international works of Jesuits Refugee Services (JRS) will allow students to immerse themselves in some of the most central values and inspiring practices of the Jesuit community. Students will experience how the human dignity and social justice paradigms play a role in the leadership and management of worldwide projects for humanitarian assistance. Specifically, students will witness the central role that NGOs play in service delivery, international coordination, global policy and advocacy. They will learn the JRS values of accompaniment, service and advocacy in the context of NGOs capacity development.

Learning Outcomes

The goal of this program is to provide students with experiential learning and international professional exposure to help enrich, inspire and engage students in their career trajectory relevant to social and global problems. Specifically, the goal is for students to acquire appropriate attitudes, managerial skills, partnership capacities, and inter-cultural competencies generally relevant to the field of humanitarian emergencies and specifically applicable to refugee service.

By the end of this course / program students should be able to:

· LO1: Forced Migration Fields (International): Acquire intellectual and practical knowledge of the contemporary debates and interconnected fields of refugee service, forced migration and anti-human trafficking at the local, national and international levels.

· LO2: Experiential Learning (Culture & Policies): Integrate the global-intercultural immersion experience with the course learning on refugees’ crisis management, humanitarian emergencies, migration policies and integration practices.

· LO3: Refugee Service Organizations (Management): Develop capacity to identify and analyze best organizational practices in refugee service management exemplified by selected international organizations, nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprise organizations (SEOs) or projects relevant to the assistance of refugees, asylum seekers and forcibly displaced people.

· LO4: Action Learning: Identify, connect and engage with key stakeholders for the purpose of identifying comparisons of effective integrative & inclusive public policies, innovative & socially beneficial business initiatives, and humanitarian & diversity managerial practices of civil society organizations.

· LO5: Intercultural communication:Demonstrate cultural sensitivity, empathy and appreciation of cultural differences. This includes cultural, ethnic, racial, political and institutional diversity aspects encountered throughout the readings and experiential components of the course.

Course Competencies

During and after the AGI-Rome immersion, students should be able to develop the following competencies and skills:

· CO1: Intercultural Communication Competence:Demonstrate competence in cultural sensitivity, empathy and appreciation of cultural differences. This includes cultural, ethnic, racial, political and institutional diversity aspects encountered throughout the readings and experiential components of the course (to be demonstrated in the professional communications and intercultural interactions during the immersion and program activities).

· CO2:Comparative Policy Analysis:Demonstrated increase capacity to identify international solutions to global problems through the comparison of humanitarian international standards and guidelines with national and local practices across sectors and across nations (to be demonstrated in the class discussions during the preparatory and post sessions activities).

· CO3: Value leadership development: Demonstrate competence in interpersonal sensitivity and empathy for socially disadvantaged populations in line with Jesuit and humanitarian values for social inclusion, human rights and human dignity (to be demonstrated in the group reflections during the immersion and program activities).

· CO4: Social innovation
:Demonstrate competence to engage in socially innovative and inclusive economic solutions and socially inclusive public policies for humanitarian emergencies and community integration (to be demonstrated in proposed and presented initiatives shared with partnering organizations during the immersion and program activities).

Rome: Caput Mundi

Rome is so much more than the Roman Ruins, the seat of Italian government and the Vatican. It is a window to the world of refugees in Italy and Europe. It is a global city facing an influx of immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Many refugees are also from the latest and ongoing crisis in Syria. Italy’s long coastal borders are difficult to control and the pro-immigrant social policies help turn it into the “Corridor to Europe”. The City of Rome, is the second stop after Island of Lampedusa, the prime transit point for immigrants. It is currently receiving forced migrants from the Horn of Africa and the MENA Region particularly from the ongoing crises in Libya and Syria. Rome is also the place of Centro Astalli, one of the shelters and refugee service places of JRS Italy and the first place visited by Pope Francis after his election. The Vatican in Rome is also the international headquarters of Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS-int) an international organization that best embodies the Jesuit values of service, accompaniment, advocacy and social justice. Rome is also an international city hosting numerous international organizations such as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Food Program (WFP), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the International Development Law Organizations (IDLO) among others. In addition, Rome is also at the center of the European and world controversies regarding open v. closed policies toward forced migration and migration in general from economically challenged economies in Africa and the Global South. The Italian cultural Catholic values for hospitality and humanitarian assistance clashes with the economic pressures of the country that, also due to its geographic position is the European country with most arrivals of asylum seekers and economic migrants. The AGI-Rome integrates the reflections on the Roman Empire and Republic to understand ancient power dynamics of dictators, rule of law, economic domination, migration, slave labor and prostitution and how they compare with today’s societies.

Ignatian Pedagogy Paradigm (IPP)

This course and the AGI Program are based on the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP) addressing the context (who),experience (what), reflection (why/how), action (what next), and evaluation (how well). The critical reflections expressed during the immersion visits will be important to collectively discern the Roman experience (e.g. observations and perspectives of speakers), reflecting on their meaning (e.g. in relation to administrative, policy and intercultural challenges) and invitations to act (e.g. providing collaborative opportunities with other Jesuit universities and NPOs in the Bay Area). The experiential learning component of this AGI will pay particular attention to understanding the complexity, trends, and anomalies in human migration in its social, economic, political and environmental aspects. Therefore, throughout the AGI Program, including the pre-and-post activities, the five elements of Ignatian pedagogy will play a central part of the written reflections and collective sharing as a group. Read more about the IPP at

Arrupe Justice Immersion Program

The AGI Rome is also classified as USF’s Arrupe Justice Immersion Programs. Students participating in the AGI will be asked to participate in program activities in line with the IPP method. The journal requirement of this course / program is designed to help student to reflect on the experience while develop the student’s values and awareness of men and women for others, for the promotion of social justice and common good social transformations. Please familiarize yourself with the readings and methods associated with these programs available at

Jesuit Values

The AGI-Rome reflects some of the core values of University of San Francisco. In particular, the program aims to do the following:

1. First, enhance students’ ethical leadership and decision making by experiencing ‘learning as a humanizing, social activity rather than a competitive exercise.’[1]

2. Second, by recognizing our shared global responsibility as global citizens by seeking the common good. This program aims to promote long-term collaborative solutions.

3. Third, the cross-cultural context and diversity of opinion reflected in the program aims to increase our intelligence to effectively relate to ‘diversity of perspectives, experiences and traditions as essential components of a quality education in our global context.’

4. Fourth, promote critical inquiry by questioning assumptions in human relations, presuppositions in policy making, and perspectives in organizational services in light of human rights, social responsibility, and the human dignity of others.

Andragogy Model

The element of ‘andragogy’ (learning by adults) in the Jesuit tradition will also be instrumental in linking elements such as teaching, learning, service, and justice with professional services and long-term institutional partnerships. In other words, students will not simply ‘experience’ the program for themselves (consumer learners) but become conscious subjects for positive transformations (engaged learners). This AGI Program exposes students to the complex reality of refugee service and global human trafficking through the examples of international organizations such as Jesuit Refugee Service. The immersion into the reality of Italy is instrumental to helping students to recognize the global dimensions of these issues, compare the same or different administrative practices, and develop connections with San Francisco and other US based organizations engaged in similar activities. The purpose of the immersion and study is to give SOM students exposure to the values and challenges of international humanitarian assistance. Through carefully planned readings, assignments, presentations and activities, students will gain familiarity and enhance their capacity to effectively engage with diverse communities, organizations and institutions. In line with the value of Jesuit collaboration and service learning, students are able to participate in activities and produce assignments benefiting the work of Jesuit Refugee Services.

International Experiential Learning

The often-cited phrase “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll understand” demonstrates what experiential learning is all about. Experiential learning is an increasingly important pedagogy for professional schools, business schools, public and nonprofit education which recognize how management and leadership can be more effectively recognized through practices and real-world applications rather than by traditional classroom-based pedagogies. Both experiential and international practices are recognized and encouraged by University of San Francisco’s School of Management as a priority and an opportunity to accomplish our educational mission and quality of assurance expressed in our accreditations (WASC, AACSB, NASPAA, NACC).

At the international level and in connection with the values of this program, experiential learning assumes the values of international capacity development for service learning and organizational development. It implies the development of intercultural capacity, along other international collaborations capacities to effectively engage with diverse organizational configurations, project purposes and cross-sector configurations.

[1]These statements are in relation to the University of San Francisco’s core values available at