The month-long ecumenical formation and leadership development training course, Asian Ecumenical Institute (AEI) 2018, organised by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) was inaugurated on Monday, 16 July 2018 at the CCA headquarters in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The AEI is aimed at training prospective church and ecumenical leaders in Asia. The theme of AEI-2018 is ‘Wider Ecumenism in Asia’s Pluralistic Context’.
The contents of the course include four main components: analyses of situations, sharing of ecumenical vision, understanding Asia’s pluralistic contexts, leadership development and community building. These would help participants to imbibe the spirit of wider ecumenism.
The outdoor study sessions include visits to refugee camps on the Thailand – Myanmar border, meetings and interactions with the refugees and stateless people, visits to Buddhist monasteries and dialogue with Buddhist monks on faith in the context of religious plurality.
Internationally acclaimed ecumenists, theologians, academics and social scientists who serve on the faculty of AEI-2018 include Dr. Wesley S. Ariarajah, Emeritus Professor of Drew University in the USA who served on the staff of the World Council of Churches as Deputy General Secretary and Director of Inter-religious Dialogue (Sri Lanka/ Switzerland); Bishop Reuel Norman Marigza, formerly a professor at the Union Theological Seminary and the General Secretary of the United Church of Christ – UCCP (Philippines); Bishop Dr. Daniel Thiagarajah, CSI Jaffna Diocese and a New Testament Scholar (Sri Lanka); Dr. Joseph Deva Komar, Theological Seminary in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia); Rev. Dr. Pradit Takerngrangsarit, formerly the President and the Dean of the McGillivray College of Divinity of Payap University in Chiang Mai (Thailand); Dr. Le Ngoc Bich Ly of the Institute of Religion and Culture in Thailand (Vietnam); Venerable Dr. Phramaha Boonchuay Doojai of the Suanduk Temple and Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University; and Dr. John Suresh, a Development Analyst and Civil Society activity (India).
The in-house members of the teaching faculty of AEI include Dr. Mathews George Chunakara, General Secretary of the CCA and programme staff of CCA – Dr. Chuleepran Srisoontorn, Rev. Jung Eun Moon, Dr. Reynaldo Racaza Ty, Rev. Dr. Ngur Liana and Dr. Ronald Lalthanmawia.
Twenty-five young people from various Asian countries and also from Mauritius, an island country in Africa are attending the AEI. The participants are sponsored by CCA member churches as well as by the Roman Catholic and Pentecostal churches.
The Asian Ecumenical Institute will conclude its sessions on 15 August.
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