SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA--The fifth Latin American Consultation of IAPCHE was held in San José, Costa Rica from September 18-20. About 30 Latin American scholars came together to discuss various issues and scholarly projects on the theme of “Disciplinary approaches in response to the current reality of Latin America.” The event was held in the premises of the Nazarene Seminary of the Americas in San Jose.
The inaugural address was given by Dr. Sidney Rooy, current IAPCHE advisor for Latin America, who spoke on the topic of “The Educational Movement of IAPCHE in Latin America.” A historian by profession, Dr. Rooy provided a panoramic view of the work of IAPCHE in Latin America by providing an account of all the conferences in the region since 1999. He shared valuable insights on how those conferences addressed the specific situations of the continent (San Jose 1999, Quito 2000, Barranquilla 2002, and Brazil 2004). From that historical foundation, Dr. Rooy shared with participants connections with the present period, showing how the 2014 conference was throwing them a challenge to join forces through a strategic cooperative project of social research to focus on the specific context within Latin America.
Papers were presented on different disciplines of the Humanities, Natural and Social Sciences, and Arts covering such broad issues as: “Contributions of Biblical Sciences to Latin American Reality”; “Theology and Social Sciences: Epistemological and hermeneutic convergences”; “Contributions of Psychology to Latin American problematique of the family”; “Maths, Higher Education and the problematique of Latin America”; “The need for a philosophical framework in the Scientific and Technological activity”; “Learning-Teaching with mind,heart, body and spirit: Educational scenarios and the need of renewal for Christian character formation”; and, “Mimesis: Literary creation, revelation and incarnation.”
In the evenings panels led by Costa Rican university institutions discussed general themes related to Christian Higher Education, some of them related to secular universities withreligious or theological programs. The first panel was on the theme of “Interdisciplinary formation and holistic mission in Latin America”, a conversation with the Principals of the Evangelical University for the Americas (UNELA, the Latin American Biblical University (UBL), the School of Pastoral Studies (ESEPA) and the Center for Interdisciplinary Theological Formation (CETI).
The second panel had the theme “Challenges to Christian Higher Education in Latin America” with the participation of Dr. Harry Fernhout and Dr. Sidney Rooy representing IAPCHE globally and in Latin America, and the Deans of Theological and Religious Studies from the Distance Learning University (UNED) and the National University (UNA), both Costa Rican state universities. A more general objective of the consultation was to promote IAPCHE’s work in the region, making strategic alliances with other organizations concerned with holistic mission and the best ways to train God’s people.
The consultation was organized in alliance with the Center for Interdisciplinary Theological Education (CETI) and the Latin American Theological Fellowship (LATF), two organizations that play a key role in advancingGod’s work through intellectual and academic capacity building in the continent Present at the consultation meeting was Dr. Harry Fernhout, IAPCHE board chair,who followed with great interest the process of the conference. Dr. Fernhout spoke at the meeting about the “History and mission of IAPCHE” at the global level. This consultation is part of a broader strategic plan for systematic research that tries to respond to social problems afflicting Latin America under the title “Scholarship and Development in Latin America: Protestant faculty involvement in social responsibility research”. An “Affirmation” of the consultation is being drawn up and the papers that were presented during the consultation are being prepared for publication.
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The 6th AIPESC Consultation in Latin America, to be hosted in Lima, Peru, from July 3-7, 2017, will focus on the theme, “Where is Protestantism in Latin America Going? A multidisciplinary and prospective vision at the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.”
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