Brittany Fried on the ESJ Project

Author: Brittany Fried

January 30, 2020

What did you study through the ESJ Project? What are some of the larger takeaways from your research? 

I was in Lusaka, Zambia, where I was hosted by the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), which is a civil society organization that educates the public of their rights, as well as government and civil society leaders as to their responsibility to Catholic social teaching. 

Zambia is constitutionally a Christian country, so that makes JCTR’s work especially interesting because they are trying to bridge the gap between church and state. I explored the intersection of public education and government leader education through radio, civil society training, and publications. My conclusion was that Catholic social teaching is very important in pursuing social justice in Zambia. 

How did you change during the course of the ESJ Project?

I had my greatest personal growth in terms of spirituality at Georgetown. Before coming to Georgetown, to be honest, I didn't really know anyone Catholic or have any interactions with the Catholic Church. 

Spending time with JCTR and spending time with my host family, who is so fully committed to living these Jesuit values, it was really inspirational to know that there is a global Jesuit network beyond Georgetown, a shared cause. This fellowship and seeing those broader connections really hit home to the point that I returned to campus and decided to go through the Catholic confirmation process.

What was it like studying and living in your host community?

The community welcomed me with open arms from the day I arrived. I was allowed into all of their staff meetings and given access to all their resources. I landed on a Friday night, and on Tuesday morning they had me alone on a bus going across the country to meet other members of the organization. 

There was a mutual respect, which I really appreciated. I was really involved in all of their work, and they were grateful to have an American institution spreading the word about the hard work that they do. We were lucky to learn, and they were happy to share.

What is your current occupation? How did your involvement in the ESJ Project inform the remainder of your undergraduate education and career choice? 

Upon coming back from Zambia, I ended up completely shifting the topic of my senior honors thesis to work with the Jesuit school in East Timor, focused on the intersection of peace education and Jesuit education, because I realized that incredible sense of community that I feel here at Georgetown is an international one.

I now work as manager for the Center for Jewish Civilization at Georgetown. Nearing graduation, I knew there was going to be an opening in the center. A lot of the reason why I chose to stay was knowing that I would have more time here at Georgetown to interact with Jesuit education and learn it from an administrative capacity.

Brittany Fried