To educate or just pass on culture? A question that, I think, is asked by any good teacher or anyone, like me, who aspires to make a valid contribution to the education of young people. Personally, I have the privilege of providing my business experience to the growth of business students at Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, a prestigious American university within the Jesuit tradition.

In the year that celebrates the canonization of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, I see the educational values that he left us as a beacon that is coming back into the limelight in this hectic and uncertain reality.

The purpose of the Jesuit methodology, in fact, is to foster the integral education of the person, that is, to form men and women capable of living their existence, both personal and professional, not in a passive way, but by contributing to the welfare of the future society with their actions.

The fundamental stages of this educational approach start from the direct encounter with experience, where theoretical arguments are mixed with practical arguments; ending in critical reflection and discernment, that is, the ability to make well-considered choices with responsibility and awareness; to arrive at specific action, made up of decisions. This is the main purpose of the educational model proposed by St. Ignatius.

An education of this kind is essential, especially today, amidst the experience of the new generation of business leaders, whose preparation cannot be separated from a continuous confrontation with realities, as diversified as possible. For a business student, it therefore becomes extremely educational to attend events and conferences with influential internationally accredited business managers, whose contribution of life experience and professional activity is of great teaching and inspiration. These are educational activities, typical of schools in the Jesuit tradition, that allow young people to gain independence, self-confidence and become proactive.

Each student will always be required to strive to excel as much as possible, but to never stop at the mere expressions of notions or theory, but rather setting goals to achieve them.

It is action, accompanied by solidarity, gratitude and courage, that is the true strength of Ignatian pedagogy that accompanies young and immature students on their life journeys, delivering them as mature men and women and leaders of tomorrow’s society.

“Whoever was given much, will be asked for much.” I always carry this passage from Luke’s Gospel with me. To educate, in my opinion, is also to give something to others, helping them to become what they “could be”.

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