Dordt College News

Christians Challenge Boundaries in Higher Education

November 22, 2006

Global Conference

Granada, Nicaragua — Building on the dramatic expansion of Christian Higher Education (CHE) worldwide, 145 delegates from 34 countries met for 5 days in Nicaragua. Congreso Internacional 2006 (CI06), hosted by The Polytechnic University of Nicaragua (UPOLI), was the 7th global conference conducted by the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education (IAPCHE), with offices at Dordt College in the United States.

Challenging the view dominant in most of higher education in the West, delegates discussed they ways in which their shared worldview directs and shapes their work across a wide variety of disciplines. Further, delegates recognized that their work must prepare students for service throughout the world.

Executive Director Dr. Nick Lantinga, Sioux Center, emphasized the connection between this vision and two famous Christian thinkers, C.S. Lewis and Abraham Kuyper: “Both Kuyper and Lewis employed nearly identical phrases declaring the Lordship of Jesus Christ over ‘every square inch’ of Creation. Since our first conference in Africa 31 years ago, IAPCHE has promoted that discussion around the world.”

Rev. Dr. José Alcántara, professor at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico, the newly elected chair of the Board, celebrated the “extraordinary spirit of trust that prevailed, even during disagreement and debate. Although our delegates come from institutions supported by a wide variety of denominations, we all hold one faith. We are united in our task.” Reflecting the rising membership from around the world, Alcántara was elected as the first Chair of the Board to come from outside North America.

During his summary keynote speech, Dr. Joel Carpenter, Director of the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity at Calvin College in the United States, remarked on the extraordinary ability of IAPCHE to adapt to the new international context of CHE. “Over the last 20 years, hundreds of new colleges have started in some of the most unlikely places, changing Christian Higher Education in fruitful ways. The largely fragmented North and West have much to learn from the more wholistic South and East.”

CI06 delegates came from the following countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Philippines, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States.

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