Population concerns: The making of an international network

Fr Stan D?Souza SJ has had ten long years of experience as founder and coordinator of the International Population Concerns network. He is therefore in the best position to describe and assess the setting up and functioning of a network within the Society of Jesus. His valuable insights into the main challenges of such an endeavour are bound to be useful to all Jesuits and collaborators who believe in the necessity of such networking. Fr D?Souza describes his experience and insights in an article written for the forthcoming May-June 2006 issue of JIVAN, the magazine of the South Asian Assistancy. IPC was created in 1994 at the invitation of SJS and Father General as an informal think tank comprising Jesuit demographers and social scientists with an expertise in ethics. The idea ? explains Fr D?Souza – was to create a space for reflection and a source for advice on the « burning issue of population » and accompanying policies in the light of the Church?s teaching. IPC, which today comprises some 25 members including lay collaborators, has organised two high- profile international colloquiums in New Delhi and Cairo on ethical approaches to population and poverty and conflict from an inter-religious perspective. From an organisational angle, the network, supported jointly by the Belgian and Calcutta Provinces, has always remained an informal ?auto- financed? structure. From one point of view this has been an asset for the network, ensuring flexibility and independence in research, but at the same time it is also the cause of financial and organisational instability.