Spiritual aspect of education at ESADE

(Document approved by the Board of Trustees on 26th March 2008, with the condition that it be published in conjunction with "Education at ESADE and the Spiritual Aspect, in the Framework of Our Institutional Mission", a longer document approved the same day and revised by the Board at a meeting on 16th March 2010)

1. ESADE is an independent, non-profit, university-level, Christian-inspired academic institution that was founded in Barcelona in 1958 by a group of businesspeople and the Society of Jesus. Its mission is "to promote teaching and research in the areas of business management and law, in order to contribute to the scientific, social and personal education of highly professional individuals fully aware of their responsibility in the development of a society that upholds people's dignity according to humanistic and Christian traditions, and in a context of intercultural dialogue."

2. When it was founded, ESADE was meant to offer an explicitly Christian education. Later, taking into account the social context, the challenge of globalisation and the great plurality of society, the Society of Jesus decided to reformulate the initial orientation and transform ESADE into a project where different kinds of people – both believers and non-believers, with different life stances – could contribute in a diverse environment and under conditions of equality.

3. This project assumes a shared anthropology that ascribes to each individual the capacity to develop his or her "human quality", understood as a combination of knowledge, judgment, balance and depth that produces serene, consistent, trustworthy individuals capable of living in accordance with fundamental values.
4. ESADE considers that, in order to fulfil the mandate of its mission as initially defined in the framework of this anthropology, it is not enough to merely develop the scientific competence and social responsibility of its students. It is also essential to cultivate the human quality in order to lend solidity and depth to both aspects.

5. At ESADE, the human quality can be developed from various perspectives. We believe in an ethical approach – not necessarily linked to transcendence – that cultivates the values of citizenship, respect, solidarity, altruism and commitment to noble causes. In recognition of this belief, ESADE's educational approach also offers the possibility of cultivating the spiritual aspect of the individual, which, in our plural society, is formulated and experienced in the form of diverse languages and attitudes, both religious and non-religious.

6. In this approach, ESADE recognises the contribution of both religious traditions and secular humanist traditions in the growth and maturation of the human spirit. The institution is also aware of the risk of dehumanisation run by these traditions when they deviate towards fanaticism or are manipulated by outside interests.
7. In order to develop this educational project in a pluralist society and in a context of intercultural dialogue, ESADE is structured as a plural space that is open to different interpretations of life, both secular and religious, in order to enable the members of its academic community (students, faculty, administrative and services staff, and alumni) to cultivate their human quality, if they so wish, using an ethical, spiritual or religious approach, and to engage in debate and learn more about these matters.
8. In its quest to go beyond "tolerance", ESADE aspires to foster an attitude of "active respect" for the various options – faith-based or otherwise – of the different traditions. This entails offering channels for the expression and development of different personal options, as well as creating occasions for dialogue on these matters. Obviously, tolerance and active respect have certain limits: the humanistic approach and respect for human rights, with an emphasis on avoiding fanatical or fundamentalist positions of all sorts, both secular and religious.
9. In this admittedly plural and intercultural context, ESADE is committed to fostering reflection on the major problems facing humankind that are putting in danger the meaning of life; promoting, with this objective in mind, dialogue on spirituality and religion among Christians, believers of other religions, and non-believers alike; and finally, offering the brand of spirituality most closely related to the institution: that of the Society of Jesus.
10. In conclusion, ESADE aims to offer a comprehensive education that will enable individuals to fully develop their human quality. Therefore, in keeping with that set out above, this education must offer the possibility of cultivating one's spiritual side and incorporate the contributions of both religious and secular traditions. This offer, in the context of intercultural dialogue, must be deeply respectful of the diverse range of life options, as well as the plurality and openness that define coexistence at ESADE.