Fr Michael Smith SJ is the International Education Coordinator for Jesuit Refugee Service. Originally from New Zealand, Fr Smith entered the Australian Province of the Society of Jesus in 1976 and was ordained a priest in 1984.
In addition to undergraduate degrees in science and theology, Fr Smith has a Postgraduate Diploma in Science from the University of Otago (1975), a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from the University of Melbourne (1979), a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counselling from Loyola University Chicago (1993), and a Doctorate of Education from La Trobe University in Melbourne (2001).
From October 1983 to February 1984, Fr Smith worked as a member of JRS with boatpeople at the Vietnamese Refugee Camp on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. In 2000, he helped to found an advocacy group called the Refugee Tertiary Education Committee that was instrumental in Australian Catholic University pioneering online tertiary education for refugees on the Thai-Burma border.
From 1994-2005 Fr Smith was the Director of Campion Centre of Ignatian Spirituality in Melbourne, Australia, where he gave retreats and worked as a pastoral counsellor and spiritual director. From 2005-2010, he was the Rector of Jesuit Theological College in Melbourne. Michael was the founder and Academic Dean of Jesuit College of Spirituality (JCS), one of the eleven member colleges of the University of Divinity. JCS offers postgraduate courses in spirituality, supervision and leadership including a Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction.
Fr Smith's hobbies include scuba diving, painting portraits, playing the guitar, listening to the Beatles, following the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, and hiking. He walked the Camino Frances in 2011, led the first group to complete the Ignatian Camino from Loyola to Manresa in 2013, and did the Jesus Trail from Nazareth to Capernaum in 2015. He visited the South Pole in December 2012 when he was a chaplain to the US base in the Antarctic (see photo).