June 21, 2019

SFS Hosts Centennial Celebration in Rome on ‘The Jesuits and Global Impact’

Late last month the Georgetown community gathered in Rome for a first international event to celebrate the centennial of the Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS).

(From left) Fr. Daniel Villanueva, Amb. Melanne Verveer, Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, and Thomas Banchoff
(From left) Fr. Daniel Villanueva, Amb. Melanne Verveer, Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, and Thomas Banchoff

Georgetown’s President John J. DeGioia and SFS Dean Joel Hellman hosted a conference on “The Jesuits and Global Impact” that explored the significance of the Jesuit ethos of SFS in the wider context of Jesuit engagement around the world over the past five centuries.

“We come together to recognize the Centennial of our School of Foreign Service, our longstanding commitment to global service, and the way that this commitment has been shaped by the mission and impact of the Society of Jesus around the world,” said DeGioia in his opening reflections. “Since the founding of the Society of Jesus almost five hundred years ago, to the founding of our university in 1789, to the establishment of our School of Foreign Service in 1919, we have been sustained by a tradition committed to global engagement.” SFS was founded in the wake of World War I as the first school of international relations in the United States.

Hellman moderated a first panel centered on the evolution of SFS and the role of Jesuit values of service in the education of citizens and leaders for global responsibility. Speakers included SFS Professor Fr. Matthew Carnes; Politico Europe CEO and Georgetown board member Shéhérazade Semsar-de Boisséson; and Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Thomas Smolich.

President John J. DeGioia introduces keynote speaker José Casanova
President John J. DeGioia introduces keynote speaker José Casanova

Georgetown Vice President Thomas Banchoff led a second panel on challenges facing the global Jesuit network, and Professor José Casanova delivered a keynote address “The Jesuits, Globalization, and Our Historical Juncture.”

“It is fitting that our centennial celebration should take us to Rome, where the Society of Jesus was founded,” said Hellman. “The Jesuit value of women and men for others will be as critical in the second century of SFS as it was in the first.”

The conference took place in the Villa Malta, home to the Jesuit journal, La Civiltà Catolica. Fr. Antonio Spadaro, its editor in chief, serves on the Georgetown University Board of Directors. 

SFS will continue to host events in celebration of its centennial throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, including a gala weekend November 15 to 17 in Washington, D.C.

A list of sponsors, speakers, and full videos of the day’s events are available on the event webpage. To learn more about the SFS Centennial, visit the SFS website.