Supporting education for critical thinking to transform individuals, as well as churches and societies
(LWI) - Supporting women and men from member churches who want to study theology and diakonia has long been a key component of leadership training for the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). That tradition continues as, for the coming year, 55 theology students and 72 students for diakonia-related fields have had their scholarship applications approved.
Rev. Katariina Kiilunen, Program Executive for Capacity Building and Leadership Development noted that through these scholarships, “LWF supports theological and diaconal education and formation that not only transforms individuals, but also the life of our churches and the world in which we live.” She added: “As there are many voices that clamor for our attention, there is a great need for theological education that offers tools for critical thinking.”
Applications for scholarships to support students, who mainly attend classes in their home countries, were submitted last autumn by candidates from 46 LWF member churches for theology and from 45 churches for diakonia-related courses. Each candidate must be endorsed by the head of her or his local church.
New online leadership training
During the December selection process, criteria for equitable representation from the regions, as well as gender and youth quotas, are prioritized to underline LWF’s longstanding commitment to inclusive participation. 52 percent of the approved theology candidates are women, while 60 percent of those receiving scholarships to study diakonia and development are also women. The majority of approvals in both categories are for youth candidates, between the ages of 18 and 30.
Most of the new scholarship holders for theology come from Asia (25) and Africa (24), while two are from Europe and four are from Latin America and the Caribbean. For diakonia-related courses, 35 students are from Africa, 30 from Asia and seven are from the Latin America and Caribbean region.
Later this month, the LWF will inaugurate a new online leadership course to further develop its scholarship program. “I am very excited about this training course of eight online modules, which aims to raise self-awareness and equip students with skills and capacities to strengthen them for leadership in their churches,” Kiilunen said. “It provides an excellent opportunity for us to engage and inspire future leaders for continuous learning within the Lutheran communion,” she added.