Speaking to a gathering of dozens of the most influential leaders in Catholic Studies in the United States, Ines Murzaku, Ph.D., Professor of Religion & Director and Chair of the Catholic Studies Program and Department, represented the International Federation of Catholic Universities at the second annual symposium of the Catholic Studies Consortium at Loyola University Chicago in September.
Dr. Murzaku's talk focused on explaining to the attendees at the conference the significance of membership in IFCU. "IFCU has direct ties to the Holy See and direct representation in the United Nations, as well as in other significant international organizations," said Dr. Murzaku. "As we at Seton Hall have discovered through our involvement in IFCU, membership in the organization provides plentiful opportunities to develop global partnerships, enabling us to more fully live out our Catholic Mission."
The IFCU is the world's largest and most diverse international network of Catholic universities. This world-renowned higher education organization, created in 1924 and based in Paris, is marked by both its geographical extensiveness and its cultural richness. It serves to connect Catholic universities around the world to advance research, pedagogy, and Catholic mission.
Seton Hall joined the IFCU in June 2021, and since then has been a productive contributor to the work of the organization through the development of broad-based partnerships with the Catholic University of South Sudan and the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP) in Mexico. In August 2022, Katia Passerini, Ph.D., Seton Hall Provost and Executive Vice President, was elected to the Administrative Board for the International Federation of Catholic Universities, serving as the representative for North America.
Additionally, under the direction of Dr. Murzaku, Seton Hall is overseeing a new intercontinental IFCU Catholic Studies Research Group focused on exploring how the Catholic Intellectual Tradition can be integrated into curriculum for all disciplines. Over the past year, Seton Hall’s programs — in particular, its Catholic Studies and CORE initiatives — have been featured in several IFCU webinars and conferences.
Addressing those gathered at the symposium in Chicago, Dr. Murzaku discussed the IFCU Catholic Studies Research Group, which she heads, and which has its headquarters at Seton Hall. "The Catholic university, by its very nature of being a Catholic university, presents the potential for dialogue among the disciplines and integration of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, which brings about also an integrative approach towards teaching and research," said Dr. Murzaku. "The interdisciplinary model we have created and implemented at Seton Hall has been receiving quite a bit of international attention."
Dr. Murzaku's talk was well received, and it is anticipated that several of the universities represented at the Symposium will seek membership in IFCU. Dr. Murzaku noted that Seton Hall looks forward to working new IFCU member institutions. She stated, "We realize that as more institutions join the IFCU and participate in the Catholic Studies Research Group, we will together develop even more innovative ways to integrate research, teaching, and Catholic Mission."