Published: Monday 3rd November 2014
Last month I had the privilege of visiting Rome, Paris, London, Durham and Dublin to meet with senior Church officials and current and prospective partner institutions. For much of the trip I was joined by the Executive Director International, Chris Riley.
My first stop was Rome, where I had the opportunity to meet with Cardinal Pell, now Prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, His Excellency Mr John McCarthy, and Fr. Friedrich Bechina, Undersecretary to the Congregation on Catholic Education. I also met with Catholic University of America staff who are based in Rome.
In Paris, we visited the Catholic University of Paris which hosted 23 ACU students undertaking the International Core in July this year. I had several lengthy discussions with the Rector Msgr. Philippe Bordeyne on issues impacting Catholic higher education, and met other senior staff including the Vice Rector, the Dean of the Faculty of Letters, and the Dean of Philosophy.
In London, we visited Heythrop College, University of London, and St Mary’s University, where I presented both with Indigenous artworks in celebration of major milestones. This year, Heythrop College celebrated its 400th anniversary, and St Mary’s was officially recognised as a university.
We then travelled up to Durham University at the invitation of the Director of the Centre for Catholic Studies, Professor Paul Murray. The University is home to the leading religious studies centre in the United Kingdom, and they are keen to develop a close relationship with ACU in theology research. The visit also included a tour of Ushaw College, and the wonderful Ushaw College Occasional Lecture – given by the former Abbot of Worth Abbey and BBC presenter Fr. Christopher Jamison.
In Dublin, we met with the President of Dublin City University, Brian MacCraith, to discuss possible opportunities for collaboration in the area of education. St Patrick’s Teachers College in Dublin is merging with the DCU and will be responsible for training teachers for the Catholic education system.
Our final stop was Maynooth, Ireland, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with St Patrick’s Seminary and Maynooth University. The MoU will enable staff and student exchange and also open up opportunities for other forms of collaboration.
Overall the trip was a great success, and we are continuing to build and strengthen ACU’s international profile and partnerships. Our international partnerships support our student mobility program through exchange agreements, facilitate staff exchange, and facilitate the University’s research development, and international community engagement activities.