International Partnerships at Columbia
August 13, 2014—For many decades, Columbia Theological Seminary has been engaged in partnerships with academic, mainly theological institutions and ecclesial bodies of the reformed tradition in various parts of the world. International partnerships enable us to be actively engaged with the global church through exchange programs with various institutions abroad and to host visiting scholars of international repute on the Columbia campus.
As a community, we become givers and receivers of hospitality and make connections all over the world through various exchange programs and by accommodating international students and scholars here in the Atlanta area. We gain an ability to better understand the world and God’s work in different parts of the world through our exchange partners. Such an enhanced understanding allows us to better engage the world outside the U.S. and to collaborate in providing a sustainable and impactful theological education.
These partnerships foster mutual enrichment and robust global scholarship as a result of engaging with diverse cultures. They provide our American students opportunities to be introduced to very different perspectives on the biblical texts, theology and on the role of the church in contemporary world. Explorations trips, which often emerge from these partnerships, provide for our students opportunities to spend short periods of time abroad witnessing first hand varieties of expressions of Christianity and lived experiences of Christians in other parts of the world, especially in the Global South.
International students who come to Columbia Seminary either for a short time exchange program or a full degree program, get to experience life in contexts very different from theirs and connect with churches in the U.S. during their time here. They are able to take with them the insights from their time here and help build bridges between across the globe.
Work of the International Programs Committee
The newly formed committee works with the Director of International Programs to streamline existing partnerships and to initiate new ones. The committee seeks to pursue the following goals in establishing partnerships with Christian institutions in other parts of the world:
- Build and maintain relationships that reflect and advance the unity of the church across God’s world, allowing for our active engagement with the global church
- Be givers and receivers of hospitality through various exchange programs and by accommodating international students and scholars at Columbia Seminary
- Foster mutual enrichment as a result of engaging with diverse cultures
- Better understand the world through our exchange partners in order to better engage that world and God’s work in other parts of the world
Columbia Theological Seminary currently has established partnerships with Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; the Reformed Church in Hungary; Westminster College in Cambridge, United Kingdom; the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, Kenya; University of Stellenbosch in Western Cape, South Africa, Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea; and United Theological College of the West Indies in Jamaica.
The International Programs Committee hopes to create new partnerships based on where faculty members have connections, where there are communities with strong reformed tradition and Christian community and where there are like-minded communities with a vibrant and growing Christian presence (e.g. India, Scotland and Brazil).
These partnerships help increase the presence and visibility of Columbia Theological Seminary in other parts of the world. Columbia Seminary hopes to continue welcoming international students and visiting scholars into the life of the community as it sends its faculty and students to other parts of the world for the mutual benefit of all God’s people.