The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organization that aids refugees, forcibly displaced peoples, and asylum seekers. JRS operates at national and regional levels. JRS's international headquarters are located in Rome, Italy. JRS was founded in November 1980 as a work of the Society of Jesus and JRS was officially registered on March 19, 2000 in Vatican City as a foundation. The impetus to found JRS came from the then Father General, Pedro Arrupe, who was inspired to action by the plight of Vietnamese boat people.
JRS has programs in 57 countries. The main areas of work are in the field of Education, Advocacy, Emergency Assistance, Health and Nutrition, Income-Generating Activities, and Social Services. In total, more than 500,000 individuals are direct beneficiaries of JRS projects.
Over 1,200 workers contribute to the work of JRS, the majority of whom work on a voluntary basis, including about 100 Jesuits, priests, brothers, and scholastics, 85 religious from other congregations, and more than 1,000 lay people. These figures do not include the large number of refugees recruited to take part in programs as teachers, health workers and others.
JRS is also involved in advocacy and human rights lobbying.
JRS contributes to refugee research at the University of Oxford and the University of Deusto. At Oxford, the "Pedro Arrupe Tutor" overseas research undertaken in the name of JRS as well as facilitating the formation of personnel at JRS. At the Institute of Human Rights, University of Deusto, Bilbao, JRS and the Loyola Jesuit Province are joint sponsors of the newly established Pedro Arrupe Tutorship. The main tasks of the Tutorship include conducting research, teaching and consultancy concerning refugees and forced migration for church agencies, other non-governmental organizations and for governments.
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