Archbishop Bashar Warda Delivers Talk at Boston College
His Grace Archbishop Bashar Warda delivered a talk at Boston College under the title “Education is not for the faint of heart”, on Wednesday, May 10, 2023.
During his speech, H. G. Archbishop Warda highlighted several points regarding the political and social situation in Iraq, especially in the midst of crisis and forced displacement, for minorities, as well as other groups in the country.
His grace talked about the Baghdad College, which was built by the Jesuits in Baghdad saying: “ In the early 1930s, a group of Jesuits from Boston arrived in Baghdad, which at the time was home to Shia and Sunni Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other ethnic and religious groups. They tried, through a boy’s high school named Baghdad College, to offer both a strong Christian education and as Fr. Joseph F. MacDonnell puts it in his book Jesuits by the Tigris: Men for Others in Baghdad, to “encourage greater tolerance and understanding of the faith, which would work to the mutual advantage of Christians and Muslims alike.” They made sure there was room for dialogue built on mutual respect to create an academic environment that harmonized, intellectual, and social differences into opportunities for mutual enrichment.” His grace added “The seeds they sowed were later reaped by the students for an abundant harvest.”
Furthermore, in talking about social media and the way it is used by some institutions for division rather than truth, His grace said “In light of the failure found in social media and many universities to preserve academic freedom, I decided to establish academic centers committed to the truth: schools and a university, to provide an opportunity for all students to get to know each other and create a place for living and learning together for years to come…Today, we have 17 Christian run schools throughout Iraq.”
Moreover, Archbishop Warda also talked about the Catholic University in Erbil, and it’s establishment as an institution seeking to serve the displaced and the marginalized, offering educational opportunities to all: “We opened the doors of the Catholic University in Erbil (CUE) to the most affected by ISIS: the forcibly displaced, the Christians, and the Yazidis, through scholarships provided by Aid to the Church in Need, the Knights of Columbus, the Italian Bishops’ Conference, and others. This is our eighth year in operation, and 100 students have graduated from the 12 colleges we established.”, adding that “We are committed to being a strong voice for the hurt. They are victims of violence and were not parties to sectarian conflicts.”
His grace concluded his talk by saying
“I see in the Catholic University a sign of our Christian presence, which hopes for God’s providence, believing that He is with us and will not abandon us. It is a sign of peace between minorities, majorities, and the people of Iraq generally. It is a step toward building a society that honors the other in freedom of expression and mutual respect. As we continue on this road to rebuild Iraq, I entrust our work to Christ who is our hope and in whom we shall never hope in vain.”