A Graduate Program That Combines Faith with Social Action
Taniya George ‘12G, an Idente Missionary from India, had a special reason for enrolling in the Master in Global Development and Social Justice at St. John’s.: “A master’s program that blends Catholic Social Thought with an emphasis on the social concerns for our society thrilled me,” she said.
The program, Taniya says, was the perfect way to combine her faith with her profession. Taniya earned her B.A. in English in 2007 from Mahatma Ghandhi University in Kottayam, Kerala, India, and currently lives in Rome, Italy. She was drawn to St. John’s, she says, because of “its use of advanced technology, Catholic tradition, collaboration with the Vincentian spirit and its Idente charism.”
She especially appreciates attending St. John’s through its Online Learning program. “The challenging and authentic learning methodology, the and the openness and dedication of the professors.” These factors contributed to her highly enriching experience throughout the duration of her graduate work at St. John’s.
According to Taniya, the master’s in Global Development and Social Justice taught her to think more critically, emphasized the importance of dialogue and broadened her horizons. She appreciates the atmosphere of love and respect among professors and students and believes the friendships among students were not only scholastic but built on truth and care.
Taniya’s class comprised 16 other students from around the world. Together they strengthened their shared a concern for social issues in their countries and for global development in general. Taniya says the program was “a turning point in her life, encouraging her to think more deeply than ever about social issues in her country. Also, having classmates from developed and developing countries alike helped her to discover and experience the beauty and value of other cultures and lifestyles. In addition, Online Learning and Blackboard erased barriers between herself and her classmates, who participated in the same course while in different countries.
At first, Taniya observes, studying with people of different cultural backgrounds, perceptions, and faith was not easy. But as time passed, she realized that it was the program’s greatest treasure. After completing the final requirements for the program and presenting her capstone project—entitled “Communal Conflict and Underdevelopment: A Case Study from Orissa”—Taniya plans to pursue her doctoral studies. For now, Taniya works in the Indian Malayam section of Vatican Radio, assisting with programs on Idente Youth and the World Youth Parliament. Her responsibilities include preparing, recording, and editing news and interviews and maintaining the web page. In her work, she applies the experience she gained in the Master in Global Development and Social Justice, which “taught me that I could be a true servant of God and contribute to make this world a better place.”