MAGIS at 30
The MAGIS Foundation, the NGO of the EUM Province of the Society of Jesus, is thirty years old. In 1988 the Italian Jesuits decided to create an efficient structure for cooperation able to interact with national and international institutions. A non-governmental organization meant to take the place of the Mission Offices that until then had supported the activities of the Italian missionaries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The first steps were not easy, there were many resistances. Gradually, however, the Mission Offices gave way to MAGIS, which today is the only institution that coordinates the missionary and international cooperation activities of the Province.
The MAGIS’ objective is “to promote Jesuit Mission in the world in favour of reconciliation with God, within humanity and with creation, enabling local communities to become actors of social change towards an integral and sustainable development”. Projects are conceived, written and implemented by Jesuits who live locally and therefore know well the needs of the people, communities and local Churches. The Jesuits, in turn, operate within a larger project which is that of the Province of the Society of Jesus to which they belong. Basically, the Jesuits start from the needs they perceive in the territory and insert them into the overall project of the Province.
The Foundation operates mainly in four sectors.
- Education: train young people and make them capable of active and responsible citizenship in favour of their country, with particular attention to issues of corruption and sustainable development.
- Fundamental rights: ensure health, education and support for those suffering with HIV-AIDS, widows and street children.
- Peace: mobilize leaders of different ethnic groups and religions for a non-violent resolution of conflicts.
- Culture: defend indigenous communities’ identities in Asia and Latin America towards a development respectful of ethnic minorities and interculturality.
MAGIS acts also in Italy, where it offers courses in global citizenship education to better understand the context in which we work and the motivations of our commitment.
To celebrate it’s thirtieth anniversary, MAGIS has organized the symposium: “What future for solidarity? To dare the missionary spirit in the contemporaneity”. The event will be held in Rome on November 21 (at 3:00pm) at the Pontifical Gregorian University (room C012). The meeting is dedicated to a reflection and analysis of the reality of international and missionary development cooperation, through different testimonies and the presentation of data from the Censis-MAGIS survey: “Mission, international solidarity and lifestyles of the Italians”.
“The missionaries are less and less” – explains the president of MAGIS, Father Renato Colizzi – “We continue to help them and support their projects. In the meantime, our action has expanded with an ever-increasing support of local Jesuit projects. These projects are conceived and desired on site. We are not an NGO that brings money and projects, but skills that allow the development of initiatives born of local needs”.