- Global Institute of Theology's First Doctorates October 24, 2018
Graduates return to home countries as the next leaders of the Christian community
“Global Institute of Theology was the perfect place for theological education.”
These were the opening words of George Samuel Okoth’s acceptance speech upon receiving his doctorate in theology from Yonsei University President Yong-Hak Kim at the 2018 August Commencement ceremony held on August 31, 2018. He spoke on behalf of his classmates and friends, the first doctoral graduates of the Global Institute of Theology (GIT) at Yonsei University.
A priest with the Anglican Church of Kenya, Okoth had studied for three years at GIT of Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. With his new doctoral degree, he is now able to continue his duties as Principal of Bishop Okullu College as well as serve as Head of the Theology Department of the University of Kisumu in Kenya. Okoth, who is expected to become a pioneering leader of Protestant Christianity in Kenya, acknowledged that his academic achievements were made possible due to the education and support he received at GIT and Yonsei University.
In 2015, Yonsei University established the Global Institute of Theology as part of the United Graduate School of Theology (UGST) in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the advent of its theological education in Korea. In acknowledgment of the generous support by missionaries and overseas Christian organizations throughout history, UGST and the network of Korean Churches joined hands to launch GIT as a responsibility project to give back by providing a professional education center to educate ministers and theologians with ecumenical minds from emerging Christian countries in Asia, Africa and South America.
Located at the Yonsei International Campus in Songdo, Incheon, GIT offers a master (Th.M.) and doctor (Th.D.) in Theology and provides 100 percent support for all degree program students, which include a full scholarship as well as accommodation and living stipend.
“GIT is not merely an academic program provided by Yonsei University; it represents a mission that all Korean churches must pursue together as one,” said Professor Soo-Young Kwon, Dean of the United Graduate School of Theology at Yonsei University. He added that the Institute’s first seven doctorates, including George Samuel Okoth, have already taken on influential roles to contribute as Christian leaders in their respective countries.
The graduates will continue on with their theological research; Pau Gualnam will head the Reformed Bible Institute at his home country India and Moon Pan will continue his theological research as newly-promoted Associate Professor of the Myanmar Institute of Theology. Colby Kumwenda will continue teaching at the University of Livingstone in Malawi. Moses Bushendich, an Anglican priest and key coordinator of the Church of Uganda, began his new position as international director of Church Missionary Society-Africa on September 1, 2018.
Yonsei University plans to continue educating Christian leaders of Asian, African and South American countries through the Global Institute of Theology and with the support of churches and Christians in Korea.
“As I return to Kenya, my focus is to establish a Christian community that is culturally sensitive to promote the gospel, prepare young Kenyans for ordination training, train chaplains for the schools, hospitals, and prisons and to mobilize resources for church development. I will continue to associate with GIT and Korean churches, friends and well-wishers to achieve these dreams,” remarked Okoth.
<Originally published on September 14, 2018>