During October 24-26 in Bishkek, a working meeting was held at the Jesuit institution to explore opportunities for the Society to become more involved in educational activities in Kyrgyzstan. Apart from local Jesuits, The Provincial Delegate for Education Paweł Brożyniak SJ attended the meeting, as well as a former director of a school in Kosovo Axel Bödefeld SJ and a former director of the Jesuit School in Gdynia, Wojciech Żmudziński SJ. Remotely attended the meeting Stephan Lipke SJ (superior from Moscow) and Piotr Aszyk SJ (prosecutor). Consideration was given as to whether the recently emerging proposal to open a school is serious and sensible enough that it should be submitted to Fr. Provincial.
A word to the participants of the meeting was given by the Apostolic Administrator in Kyrgyzstan Anthony Corcoran SJ. The local context along with the challenges facing education in this exotic to us country was presented on the first day in the morning by Guldzan Beyshenbiyeva from the Ministry of Education, and Remigiusz Kalski SJ, Jesuit superior in Kyrgyzstan, presented our activities in the field of education so far: Centre Fides et Ratio, Centre for children and youth in Issyk Kul, engagement of Janez Mihelčič SJ at the state university, and astronomy projects carried out in schools by Adam Malinowski SJ, a parish priest from Dżalalabad and Osz.
Damian Wojciechowski SJ has shared his ideas for a Jesuit school in Bishkek, and even showed us the site of its possible location, and a well-known architect in Kyrgyzstan presented a concept for the future
During the evening at the Caritas office, Wojciech Żmudziński SJ and Paweł Brożyniak SJ spoke to the interested teachers about Ignatian pedagogy and the network of Jesuit schools in the world. Over 40 people attended the meeting.
The Jesuits taking part in the meeting were received by the Deputy Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Edil Baisalov. We discussed the prospects for greater Jesuit involvement in education with him (present in the picture) and were assured that we are welcome in Kyrgyzstan and will receive all the necessary assistance if we decide to open a school.
On the second day of the meeting, Ludmila Symianovich talked about the work of Jesuit school in Tomsk in Siberia, and Axel Bödefeld SJ shared his experience of the work the director of the Jesuit school in Kosovo.
We have visited some of the public and private schools in Bishkek and talked to their directors. We were most impressed by the Bilimkana private school, which we visited on the third day just before the final conclusion of the working meeting.
Wojciech Żmudziński SJ