Magis Americas renews collaboration with NED

Magis Americas (MA) has renewed its collaboration with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), signing a new 18-month grant valued at $190,498 USD. The new grant will allow MA to continue its work with local partners to implement civic education and entrepreneurship classes for marginalized communities in the Global South. The announcement follows completion of a one-year $77,293 grant signed by MA and the NED in September 2021.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the NED,” said Nate Radomski, executive director of Magis Americas. “The NED’s mission to grow and strengthen democratic institutions perfectly compliments our mission to build just societies through mobilizing support for Jesuit education, migration, and ecology initiatives. This collaboration is a wonderful opportunity to continue our support and promotion of quality and inclusive education programs in the Global South.”

The program supported by the NED will use community centers to (1) promote civic education and reconciliation through workshops, dialogue sessions, and exchanges; and (2) implement entrepreneurship classes and technical assistance to marginalized communities, with a particular focus on reaching female participants.

Over the last two-plus years, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced more than “100 million people worldwide into poverty and more than 4 billion have little or no social support, healthcare or income protection” as stated by the United Nations. In an effort to support the post-pandemic development of societies, Magis Americas, in collaboration with local Jesuit partners, is working to promote the development of education projects that focus on strengthening the ability of individuals to participate in their broader economies.

“One of the strongest tools that we have in combating inequality and poverty is guaranteeing all have access to quality education,” said Radomski. “Education is an investment that opens the doors for individuals to become agents in their individual and communal development, giving them the tools and knowledge necessary to become protagonists of their own lives and enabling them to have agency.”

The Light Up the Night: For a Brighter Venezuela Gala is Back

The impact of Fe y Alegría, which was founded in Venezuela over 65 years ago, has always been felt beyond its direct work with marginalized and vulnerable communities. Ask any Venezuelan–on the streets of Miami, Madrid, or Maracaibo–and they will tell you their “Fe y Alegría story”. Through its connections with many public and private institutions, including the Catholic Church, Fe y Alegría has brought individuals together in collaboration in two ways: 1) the annual raffle and 2) community programs, which allowed students to visit Fe y Alegría schools to learn how the organization supports marginalized communities.

Even years later, many Venezuelans recall their experience with the annual raffle and how this special time of the year would fill their hearts. Regardless of where they are now, Fe y Alegría, the raffle, and its little red heart transports Venezuelans of all ages and backgrounds back to that sense of community and belonging. This is the case of Carolina Domínguez, María Alecia Klemprer and Mariana Bustillos, three friends from Venezuela who now live in Houston, Texas. Living outside Venezuela for a number of years, the trio had a growing sense of longing to contribute to the future of their home, in any way shape or form.

“When we became familiar with Magis Americas and Friends of Fe y Alegría in the US, we immediately felt compelled to work together,” said Dominguez.“There was trust in the platform, process and institutionalization of the organization that is not easy to find when working with organizations in Latin America.”

This clear connection to the impact and history of success by Fe y Alegría, as well as the security and transparency provided by Fe y Alegría’s relationship with Magis Americas, it’s long time U.S. partner and fiscal sponsor, allowed Dominguez, Klemprer and Bustillos to realize that this was the perfect opportunity to take action and support their country and its future generations.

Thus, with the support and guidance of Jesús “Txuo” Rodríguez Villarroel, S.J., executive director of Fundación Unidos en la Misión, the Light Up the Night: For a Brighter Venezuela gala was born.

In its first year, in 2019, the gala was a complete success. It gave participants the chance to contribute with friends and family, not only as Bustillos said, to “see that [their] little grain of salt, translates into the smiles on kids’ faces, joy”but also to see a direct line of support to Fe y Alegría as it continues on facing challenge after challenge. It was a true celebration of the work of Fe y Alegría and a moment in which individuals came together for a Brighter Venezuela. To the organizer’s surprise, the event also had strong support and participation from individuals who were not from Venezuela, but who had a strong connection to the country. It gave everyone a chance to get involved.

This year, after being postponed twice due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Light Up the Night: For a Brighter Venezuela gala is back to give individuals a chance to remain connected to the needs of Venezuela and contribute to the organizations working towards solutions. The gala will be inspired by Venezuelan culture through its ambiance and music, dancing and celebrating.

To learn more about the Light Up the Night: For a Brighter Venezuela gala, as well as purchase tickets, sponsor and/or donate, click here.

The gala will take place at the Silver Street Studios (2000 Edwards St., Houston, TX 77007) on Saturday May 7, 2022, at 7pm.

Global Citizenship Education as a Force to Change the Course and Transform Education

Education as a tool for transformation

How many times a day are we exposed to news of the alarming realities that many of our fellow brothers and sisters face? The protection of individuals’ dignity, the commitment to ensuring basic rights, and the safety and health of our common home are all at risk. We live in an increasingly connected world yet, sometimes, it is hard to connect and empathize with each other’s realities. Seeing past ourselves and accepting our interdependencies as strengths can help us take our place as agents of change for a more humane world. To stand in solidarity in the mission of justice and reconciliation and realize our role as Global Citizens, we first need to see the possibility of change.

The choices we collectively make today will determine our shared futures. One of these choices, perhaps the most important, is how we are educating the leaders of tomorrow. Education is the basic human right, key in accessing all other rights and inevitably linked with our responsibility as Global Citizens. Yet, today more than 260 million children and youth are denied this right.

Education is a tool for societal transformation. It cultivates understanding and builds capabilities that can help us create more just and equitable societies. Education mobilizes knowledge to help us navigate a transforming and uncertain world. Global Citizenship Education (GCE) takes this to the global stage. It has the power to connect us with the world, encouraging us to revisit our assumptions, be critical in our analysis of current issues, engage in collective action, and include others in possible solutions. GCE exposes us to new possibilities, leading us in changing the course and transforming education.

The “La Silla Roja” campaign, Magis Americas’ annual GCE campaign, encourages students to take action locally and globally, transforming their mindsets and educational experiences. Every year, the “La Silla Roja” campaign works to defend the right to an equitable and inclusive education. In 2021, the campaign led students and youth through a process of reflection, awareness, and action in which they ultimately made a Promise to Education (#APromise2Education). Students took on their responsibility as Global Citizens and realized that #APromise2Education is a promise for opportunities, agency, and the contribution of creating a more inclusive and just world.

Global Citizenship Education in Action

At least eight high schools within the Jesuit School Network participated, in this year’s campaign, all in different forms. Here are some examples and takeaways from students and teachers.

St. Peter’s Preparatory

“Introducing students to ‘La Silla Roja’ was an incredibly rewarding experience….I believe in the transformative power of education as a tool to empower students and broaden their perspectives and engaging with this campaign edified that belief as I watched my students apply their knowledge for the betterment of our world.” – Salvatore Veniero, Director of Global Initiatives

The St. Peter’s Prep Global Ed Club took the initiative to bring “La Silla Roja” to their school. The board members of the club went through the three phases of the challenge, and decided their Promise to Education would be a series of activities for fellow students to get involved and learn more:

  1. Presenting the “La Silla Roja” campaign to the freshman and sophomore classes
  2. Painting red chairs to place around the school
  3. Participating in a “La Silla Roja” scavenger hunt
  4. Letter writing to congress
  5. Tutoring students from a Fe y Alegría school in Peru

James Popadick, Senior
“I participated in the ‘La Silla Roja’ campaign because I wanted to be able to make a direct impact on not only my school community but also the community of individuals who currently lack the access to education that is essential in the lives of all people.”

Joshua Pascale, Senior
“My biggest takeaway from this program was gaining a greater sense of gratitude for everything I’ve been given in my life.”

Evan Merkov, Sophomore
“’La Silla Roja’ campaign [gave me the] wonderful opportunity to give back to my global community, and it is an experience I will keep with me for a long time to come.”

Jesuit High School, Tampa

“This year’s ‘La Silla Roja’ campaign was an impactful experience for our students. They were able to learn about how the pandemic has increased educational inequities and the concrete ways Fe y Alegría is working to bring quality educational experiences to those most in need. The ‘La Silla Roja’ campaign not only made our students aware of the problem, but also inspired them to take action to promote educational opportunities for all.” – Dr. Cristina Delano, Foreign Language Department

The La Gente Club took the lead in painting two chairs red and placing them around the school. Throughout the fall semester, a series of Spanish classes went through the challenge and students made their Promises to Education.

Archie Teller, Class of 2022
“’La Silla Roja’ is a great metaphor for the need to improve education, and the activities with it that I have done have helped me do my part for this cause. The biggest action I have taken so far was giving a speech in front of my whole school about the ‘La Silla Roja’ campaign, what it means, and what our school can do to help.”

Diego Cubas, Class of 2023
“Painting la ‘Silla Roja’ allowed me to reflect on the social crisis of kids who are deprived of school. I believe it was a great way to help bring awareness to the people around the school.”

Sam Forman, Class of 2023
“While participating in the ‘La Silla Roja’ project at school, I learned about how lucky I was. In the activity, the issues regarding education and health in countries like Peru and Ecuador were brought to my attention, which is something that had never been done before. This activity helped to inspire me to contribute to my own community by helping teach the children at my local religious school.”

St. Xavier High School Ohio

“We investigated the various reasons why some children do not have access to quality education and how organizations like Fe y Alegría work to provide this fundamental human right to the world’s youth. Magis Americas’ ‘La Silla Roja’ project fit perfectly with our unit, and when I introduced the project to the class, students responded with enthusiasm. In fact, they even generated some of their own ideas to augment the project.” – Therese Bower, English Teacher & Global Education Coordinator

The Global Perspectives class went through the ‘La Silla Roja’ challenge, and in addition to painting a red chair, students suggested a couple of ideas of their own to increase the impact of the project:

  1. They placed red tape across 29% of the desks in the school’s classrooms to represent the percentage of children worldwide who do not complete secondary school
  2. They also 29% of the student body to wear red shirts on a designated day, and then arranged to deliver an education-themed Examen during homeroom.
  3. They did research on the issue
  4. Met with the school principal
  5. Made posters for the display in the main stairwell
  6. Composed and shared an Examen to the school community

Connor M
“Through the ‘La Silla Roja’ Project, I have learned that finding ways to help with global issues is important in my development as a global citizen.”

Andrew S:
“‘La Silla Roja’ really made me appreciate the opportunity that I have been given to attend such a great school and to receive an amazing education. It also taught me how to work as part of a team. We all had different roles, from talking to the principal, to making posters, to writing and reading an Examen for the entire school.”

Brooklyn Jesuit Preparatory

“It is important to have campaigns like this because it allows students to become aware of the hardships others face around the world. It allows them to understand how fortunate they are. These campaigns give students a world view and pop the bubbles that some may be living in. It gives students the true meaning of becoming men and women for others.” Maryellen Doino, School Counselor

The Student Government was responsible for taking the ‘La Silla Roja’ campaign to all homerooms at Brooklyn Jesuit Prep. Students reflected on the importance of access to education shared their thoughts in open discussions as well as organized a dress-down day to support Fe y Alegría.

Safaira Kelly, 8th grader, Student Government President
“This is important because everyone deserves an education”

Gervais Gors, 7th Grade, Student Government Representative
“It was important to learn this because it shows that we should be grateful that we have school because others might not be able to go to school and they can’t achieve what their parents want them to or what their parents couldn’t”


Students took part in contributing to solving the dual challenge we face as a society of (1) fulfilling the promise to ensure the right to quality education for every child, youth, and adult and (2) realizing the transformational potential of education as a means to achieve sustainable societies.

Students changed the course and transformed their educational experiences. Each group was able to see education in a different light and through a different lens. Most importantly, not just education, but the role they can collectively and individually take in collaborating in the creation of a society in which all can access this basic right.