Jesuit participation in the WSF India process and in WSF 2004

The pledge of the Society of Jesus ??to actively participate in social movements like the World Social Forum?? as expressed in the document The Social Apostolate and the Society of Jesus. Challenges and Situation 2003 has been amply fulfilled as the remarkable and unprecedented Jesuit participation in this event clearly shows. A Jesuit-led delegation of 1350 participants (Jesuit and non-Jesuit) will attend the meeting. This fact is all the more striking if compared to Jesuit participation in previous events of this nature [HL 20207 and HL30204]. The strong Jesuit presence in WSF India is a response to the invitation issued by Fr. Lisbert D?Souza, provincial of South Asia, through an open letter addressed to the Social Justice Secretary in which, on the basis of the experience at Hyderabad 2003, he expressed himself in the following words: ?..It will be a fine opportunity for Jesuits to come together, as we did in Johannesburg, in the cause of social justice and concern for the poor..? adding that ?…It is gatherings such as these that help promote the collaboration your recent meeting of Social Sector Coordinators so rightly stressed?. Jesuits at WSF 2004 will be participating side by side with the people and groups they work with. The Jesuit presence and involvement in the forum has been coordinated and organised by ad-hoc Indian Jesuit working group, the South Asian Peoples Initiatives (SAPI). The call of SAPI is to ??look for secular space / platform to join and build up networks with individuals, groups, NGOs, Peoples Movements to struggle with the poor. [?] sufficient space is also created to incorporate smaller NGOs and local leaders, primarily from dalit and tribal communities. We hope that bringing together dalits and tribals together for meaningful interface would lead towards broader alliances of the marginalized?.? (SAPI Newsletter, n. 4). Some delegates will play a very active role in the WSF by organising seminars, conducting workshops and setting up panels: eighteen events, out of 19 registered by SAPI, have been approved, including a testimony, panels, workshops and seminars as well as cultural and media programmes. Subjects range from tribal and indigenous people, to the impact of globalisation on the poor in Asia and environmental concerns. Accounts of some of these initiatives will be given in the next HL issues as the forum unfolds, together with links and contacts. In close co-operation with SAPI, the Social Justice Secretariat has mobilized and coordinated the international delegation. Its 27 members (Jesuits and lay collaborators) are involved in Social Apostolate activities in various capacities, as members of Social Centres, province coordinators, journalists, or researchers. ?It is a real consolation?, Fernando Franco S.J. observed ?how the Society has responded to this call?. After the event, a number of international delegates will be visiting social centres that work largely with aboriginal people in India. [HL40103] For more information on SAPI: Joe Xavier S.J. (Assistancy Coordinator), , or Fr Prakash Louis SJ (Director ISI), . Organiser of the International Delegation: Daniele Frigeri S.J.