Growing in identity from our roots: JRS Europe and Country Directors strengthen the network at the Regional Coordination Meeting

31 March 2022

Related: Protection

On 31 March and 1 April 2022 the bi-annual Regional Coordination Meeting (RCM) took place in Loyola, Spain. JRS Europe and the Directors from JRS national offices attended to reinforce the work on our common priorities: access to protection, immigration detention, social inclusion and awareness raising.  

Urgent point on the agenda was the discussion of JRS response on the Ukraine emergency. A coordination group has been set up to support the work of JRS in Ukraine and neighbouring countries such as Poland, Hungary and Romania. JRS is also preparing to host Ukrainian refugees in other European countries in the following weeks.  

“Our RCM is a great opportunity to walk together in a common mission. In this occasion, the emergency in Ukraine played a crucial role. The main concern at the moment is to deepen the articulation of the network to ensure a medium and long-term response that supports the accompaniment of all displaced people. As in all conflicts, the most able and well-resourced usually flee first, but after these weeks of war our focus is on the most vulnerable, people with special protection needs, such as women and children, unaccompanied children, older and sick people, and people with disabilities,” said  JRS Europe director Alberto Ares. 

Other sessions covered the new Strategic Framework for the region for 2022-2024 and an update on the different activities done at European level, including projects, funding, advocacy and communication.  

Programme Coordinator Carola Jimenez and Fundraising Coordinator Christopher Klotz showed a breakdown of current and future projects. JRS Europe is currently running several activities, including the Oak Foundation sponsored ‘Monitoring Detention’ and the school programme for awareness raising ‘Change. 

Advocacy and Policy Coordinator Claudia Bonamini shared the work undertaken with the national Advocacy Officers on the topic of reception with the goal of building a common position on the topic.  

All country Directors also had the opportunity to share best practices and the challenges they face in their daily work. Each office prepared a poster with images and the Directors had the opportunity to learn about the work of the other JRS offices.  

The RCM was preceded by the Loyola 2022 Justice and Ecology Congress where representatives from across the European Social Apostolate gathered for a week to explore together the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus 2019-2029. JRS Europe team actively participated in the Congress and each of the members of the staff carried out a workshop about the different topics of our work. 

The Congress represented a milestone in the deep renewal of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials Justice Networks and, as one of these networks, the participation of JRS Europe was fundamental to align processes and for our contribution to the implementation of the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus by 2029,” concluded JRS Europe director Alberto Ares. 

The RCM and the Congress allowed participants to reconnect with the roots of JRS, to strengthen capacity across countries, share best practises and make use of each other’s support and capabilities.