By Erin Hallissy
Around the World
Saint John Baptist de La Salle could not have imagined when he founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools that his mission would grow so far beyond Reims, France. The first French schoolboys who benefitted from the Brothers’ dedication to teaching have been followed by generations of students from throughout the world. By 1900, the Brothers were in 35 countries, including Italy, America, Singapore, Mauritius, Algeria, Ecuador and India. After France passed secularization laws in 1904 and expelled religious orders, thousands of Brothers headed to dozens of other countries, making them part of a true international organization.
So it is not surprising in the 21st century, where a global economy and community are powerful forces, that Saint Mary’s College already has a long history of being part of a global society open to all, regardless of ethnicity, race or language.
A couple of years ago, I met Kiyoshi “Joe” Ikemi ’57 at a Reunion Weekend on campus. Ikemi was educated by the Brothers at De La Salle High in Kagoshima, Japan, and sailed across the Pacific Ocean to study at Saint Mary’s at the urging of Brother Marcel Petit. It wasn’t always easy for Ikemi, who faced language barriers and cultural shocks, but he was one of countless students at Lasallian schools who discover that those obstacles can be overcome.
Participating in a global community can take on many forms, as we explore in this issue of Saint Mary’s. For the Brothers, it means going where they are called and doing what is needed, whether opening a school or taking in orphans or going into prisons to educate young delinquents.
For students in a graduate business program, the global business world presents opportunities not just for work, but for work that does good by incorporating the Lasallian mission that underlies the College’s mission.
The global experience includes athletics, with Australian student-athletes transforming the men’s basketball program in recent years. And it is animated by the fictional experiences of two cultures coming together for a Hollywood movie, as written by a Saint Mary’s professor who was born in the Philippines and has won recognition in America for his short stories.
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