Throughout the years, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Asia Pacific (AJCU-AP) has hosted several Service Learning Programs (SLP) for the students of its member institutions in higher education. The SLP is an immersion program wherein students engage and collaborate with local partner communities towards empowering shared advocacy. The program, therefore, provides a global, experiential, and formative opportunity under the service-learning framework that grounds academic learning on something more holistic and sensitive to sociopolitical and cultural issues that affect a wider, shared world.

On 04-18 August 2024, the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU), Philippines, will host the 13th AJCU-AP SLP, with the theme: “Democracy under Siege: An AJCU-AP Service Learning Program on Democratic Resilience.” In this intensive, two-week program, student participants, faculty companions, and local communities will engage in collaborative analysis and problematization of the challenges confronting modern systems of democratic governance. But more importantly, the participants are also called to explore innovative strategies for fortifying resilience and democratic freedoms amidst these challenges.

Read SLP Primer here


The current sociopolitical climate is marked by the rise of populism, the erosion of civic trust, and the persistence of social inequalities. These issues threaten to undermine the democratic spirit of governance. The fragility of democracy should, therefore, be emphasized along with a call for heightened vigilance against the forces that dilute the truth and diminish the power of the people.


The AJCU-AP SLP, therefore, suffuses service-learning with Ignatian values that call to the learners to be men and women for others. This sense of responsibility and accountability is important in the formation of servant leaders whose compassion and drive are critical in every effort dedicated to nation-building.


The interactive activities include plenary sessions, workshops, reflection sessions, community exposure, immersion, and other cultural activities. This will allow the participants to learn the riches of culture, tradition, and uniqueness of a local community as well as understand the struggles and challenges confronting the host locality, especially within the context of democratic rights and freedoms. 

Mindanao has a rich history and a strong heritage despite its post-colonial wounds. Its interreligious and intercultural diversity makes it a notable microcosm of the world, the very inspiration for what we mean when discussing the universal principles of social justice for all. Davao City, located in the southern Philippines, is a highly urbanized city that serves as the main trade, commerce, and industry hub of Mindanao. It is also the regional center of the Davao Region, making it a significant economic and political center in the area. 

For two weeks, the participants will venture on a journey across Philippine history, its experience of historical injustices and conflicts motivated by ethnic, religious, and political struggles, and of course, its initiatives for resilience and development. The program will allow the participants to engage in a culture of encounter.

The service learning framework references the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm in fostering holistic learning that is fully contextualized and critical of its learning premise, rooted in experience, and inspires both cognitive and personal involvement, deepened by reflection and a search for meaning, made truly impactful as the learning inspires action, and is reinforced by in-depth evaluation.

Plenary Sessions

The plenary sessions will provide the contexts, inputs, and perspectives and generate meaningful conversations on certain topics. Participants will engage in in-depth discussions and encourage them to contribute insights.

Reflection and Processing Sessions

Reflection is an important element in the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm of service learning. The program allots opportunities for group sharing and reflection among the participants. There will also be companions/formators accompanying the participants in the reflection sessions. After every plenary session, the participants will be having their distillation session for sharing and unpacking learning experiences.

Open Space and Fireside Chat

Aside from the plenary sessions, the program conducts its Open Space and Fireside Chat. This interactive dialogue gathers a line-up of different local communities/speakers who will be sharing their narratives and stories. These sessions ground a clear understanding of the current social conditions in the communities and aim to inspire the participants with their initiatives.

Community Exposure and Immersion

Participants will engage in community exposure and immersion within the barangays and community partners of Davao City. In the Philippines, a barangay is a village, suburb, or demarcated neighborhood, serving as the smallest territorial and administrative district and forming the most local level of government. The SLP partner barangays, represented by different sectors, serve as exemplars of democratic resilience, inclusive governance, and robust civic engagement.

Check out the Schedule of Activities here

The student participants and faculty companions are pre-selected and nominated by their home institution. 

Each AJCU-AP member institution may nominate a maximum of six (6) student participants for the service-learning program.

Eligible Student Applicants must:

  • Currently be enrolled as undergraduate students in their home institutions.
  • Have strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Demonstrate commitment to participating in the service-learning program experience.
  • Be prepared for intercultural dialogue and cross-ideological exchange.
  • Be open to engaging with and learning from local communities in Davao City, Philippines, and their co-participants, emphasizing exposure and immersion in diverse cultural settings and community contexts.
  • Possess a willingness to collaborate and contribute to the program activities and sessions.

Eligible Faculty Companions must:

  • Currently be employed in their home institutions.
  • Have strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Demonstrate expertise complementing the program’s theme.
  • Be able to facilitate the distillation and reflection of learning experiences for students.
  • Have relevant experience in service-learning or community engagement initiatives, preferably in multicultural settings.
  • Demonstrate expertise complementing the program’s theme.
  • Be committed to the program’s objectives and willing to dedicate the necessary time and effort to support student learning and experience.

View the Application Guidelines here


Step 1

nomination form

To be filled out by the institutional head

We would like to request the Head of the International Office, Social Formation Office, or an Administrator of your institution to complete the Nomination Form for the student applicants and faculty companion.

Each AJCU-AP member institution may nominate a maximum of six (6) student participants for the service-learning program.

Kindly download and fill out the nomination form, then submit it to:, cc:

Email Subject: [Name of Institution] AJCU-AP SLP 2024 – Nomination

Deadline for Nomination: 31 May 2024

Step 2

Registration Form

To be filled out by the nominated participant

Once the students and faculty companion/s are endorsed in the Nomination Form, nominees must each complete the registration form individually.

Deadline for Registration: 14 June 2024

Step 3


To be settled and paid by the sending institution

USD 600 per participant for a 14-day Program

*Inclusive of accommodation, meals, local transportation, program materials, and kits

Deadline for Payment: 14 June 2024

Step 4

Signed Program Agreement, Waiver, and Flight Itinerary

To be submitted by each of the participants

After all applications have been reviewed, participants will receive an official letter of acceptance. They will then be required to submit the signed program agreement, waiver, and copies of their flight itinerary and travel insurance. Details regarding the primer and pre-arrival orientation will be communicated as well.

Step 5

Attend the Pre-Arrival Orientation

To be attended by each of the participants

The participants are required to attend the program’s virtual orientation before their arrival dates. The orientation will be online, and the schedule will be announced at a later date.