IAMSCU begins a Post-Pandemic phase and promotes various activities worldwide

Continuing its emphasis on 2022 as an important year for Methodist Education, when people around the world are beginning to move beyond the global pandemic of COV ID-19, IAMSCU has promoted and participated in various events and activities. In September and October, IAMSCU and its partners have been promoting a series of important international gatherings:

  1. International Seminar on Human Rights hosted by University College Stockholm (UCS) in Stockholm, Sweden (8-10 September). This event brought together researchers from various Methodist-related colleges, seminaries, and universities in Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, who are part of the IAMSCU Network on Human Rights. This network has been working throughout the years, but reduced its activities to virtual meetings during the pandemic. This was the first in person meeting since then and included sessions on Wesleyan Theology and Human Rights, Indigenous Rights, Rights of Nature, and Peace and Reconciliation. The main topic was Indigenous Rights, with keynote speeches by Helga West, a Sami scholar who spoke about the situation of the Sami People in the Sub-Arctic region that encompasses countries such as Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Norway and presented the issues regarding identity, land use, and culture affecting this community. Kaisa Syrjänen Schaal spoke about her legal work and the political processes involved in the Reconciliation process with the Sami People in Sweden.
  2. Annual Meeting of the Methodist Independent Schools Trust (MIST) in London, England (13-14 September). Principals, Trustees, and Chaplains of Methodist schools in the United Kingdom met for their annual gathering in London, where they discussed their cooperation efforts with other Methodist community schools in the UK and abroad as well as the strategies for the future. MIST also acknowledged the retirement of David Humphreys and the appointment of Judith Fenn as the new General Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of MIST. MIST participants also welcomed Tom Wolfe, IAMSCU’s President, who reiterated the invitation for them to participate in the Joint IAMSCU-MSN Conference to be held at Kingswood School in 2023. President Wolfe also interacted with The Rev. Graham Thompson, President of the Methodist Church in Britain and the keynote speaker during the MIST assembly.



(Photo Credit: IAMSCU)

3. Global Forum on “Making Peace Peacefully” led by the Asia Pacific Association of Methodist Educational Institutions (APAMEI) in Japan (24 September). This event built on a series of seminars led by Bishop Emerito Nacpil (Philippines) throughout the years, after he proposed the need to discuss current situations of international conflict and the importance of taking initiatives to implement peace by peaceful means instead of military interventions. In continuity to a series of events previously held in South Korea, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines in which APAMEI members discussed the various current conflicts in the continent, APAMEI initiated a new series of virtual meetings. The new series tarted with a talk by Professor Tomoko Arakawa, of the Asia Rural Institute in Japan.

4. “Café Alive” held by the Methodist International Student Exchange Network (MISEN) and led by Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan (30 September). This event brought students from the various colleges and universities associated with MISEN, who listened to a lecture by Professor Yuko Fukushima on “Peacebuilding in the Midst of Conflict” and then discussed in small virtual groups the current cases of conflict in Ukraine, Taiwan, Korea, and other parts of the world. This event was also part of Aoyama Gakuin’s “Global Week” in Tokyo.

5. “Global Week 2022” in partnership between the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) and the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities (IAMSCU), held in Nashville, TN, United States (1-7 October). At the invitation of The Rev. Dr. Greg Bergquist, GBHEM’s General Secretary, various organizations met in Nashville during the week of October 1-7, 2022 to celebrate a series of important dates and achievements: GBHEM’s 50th anniversary, the Black College Fund’s 50th Anniversary, IAMSCU’s 30th Anniversary, and the WMC Education Committee’s 30th Anniversary as well as important meetings of GBHEM’s Board of Directors. More than 150 people from around the world attended these events, which included the Willson Lectures, given by Dr. Peter Mageto (Africa University, Zimbabwe) and Dr. Jamisse Taimo (Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique). Other lectures were given by Dr. Ulrike Schuler (Reutlingen School of Theology, Germany), Dr. Dennis Dickerson (Vanderbilt University, United States), Dr. James Hildreth (Meharry Medical College, United States) and Dr. Socorro de Anda (Lydia Patterson Institute, USA/Mexico).

(Photo Credit: GBHEM)

6. Congress and General Assembly of the Latin American Association of Methodist Institutions of Education (ALAIME) in Coquimbo, Chile (6-9 October)

ALAIME’s first in person Congress and General Assembly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was held from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 October in Coquimbo, Chile. The leading theme for this gathering was “ALERT! LIFE AT RISK. Proposals from Methodist Education.” The event brought together Trustees, Principals and Presidents, and teachers and professors at Methodist institutions of education in Latin America. The event also included a Meeting of Secondary Students – which has been held yearly and very successfully, even during the pandemic – as well as the Meeting of Chaplains, which took plance on Sunday, October 9, and continued a series of conversations bringing together more than 30 chaplains who have been meeting online and sharing about their demanding work during the pandemic. The two keynote speakers for the conference were Pablo Ferrer and Raquel Riquelme.

7. International Scientific Conference on “Celebrating Academic Excellence for Transformative Innovation and Leadership in Africa” at Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe (19-20 October). 

As part of Africa University’s celebrations of its 30 years of excellence and leadership transformation in Africa, the university organized the International Scientific Conference, which was held on the 19th and 20th of October, 2022. The theme of the conference was “Celebrating Academic Excellence for Transformative Innovation and Leadership in Africa” (CAETILA) and the event provided a platform for a diverse community of young and senior researchers, scholars, academics and practitioners from across Africa.

(Photo Credit: Africa University)

Scholars from Africa University (Zimbabwe) as well as other countries such as Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, and many others including representatives from the United States and Sweden, shared cutting edge policy-development-entrepreneurial oriented research. The papers and posters also displayed innovations within the integrated fields of Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Theological Sciences, Political Sciences, Business Sciences, Legal Sciences, and Technological Sciences as well as Agriculture and Natural Sciences. The conference presentations addressed some difficult questions on topical issues such as the current rate of vaccination and treatment against COVID-19 infections on the African continent, the challenges affecting social and economic development in many African countries, issues of leadership and governance for the continent, as well as conflict resolution, peace, and resolution. The conference deliberately adopted an interdisciplinary and afro-centric perspective in order to highlight and value the knowledge that is being produced in Africa today. For more information on the results of the conference, publications of its results, and opportunities for collaboration, please contact Dr. Pamela Machakanja (pamelamachakanja@gmail.com) at Africa University.

This series of important international events in different world regions, in such a short time, clearly indicates that after a long time experiencing a global pandemic of COVID-19, Methodist educational institutions are finally able to begin to meet in person again! All these events (held in five continents: Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America) served as a good rehearsal for the IAMSCU Conference in 2023. These events also provided the opportunity for participants to reconnect with each other and resume their intercultural conversations and collaborations.