A Global Perspective for Duke Divinity School
As an institution within the church, Duke Divinity School seeks to contribute to and learn from the life of the church in an increasingly globalized world. This desire to contribute and to learn takes its shape from Christ’s invitation to share in God’s love for the world. Through its international engagements, the Divinity School also seeks to respond to God’s call for unity in diversity among the churches and in the world. As an institution that educates and forms students for ministry, the Divinity School seeks to engage students with the life of the church in a wider world as part of their education and formation. The Divinity School also seeks to play a full part in the internationalization of Duke University. Besides giving students a deeper appreciation for the international context of their lives, the Divinity School encourages faculty to develop cross-cultural research programs that in turn inform course development and teaching.
The Home Country
The International Studies Committee of Duke Divinity School serves as an ongoing resource to welcome and accommodate the students from other countries who make a significant contribution to the community. The Internationally Minded People of Faith (IMPF) extends that hospitality on behalf of the student population of the Divinity School, including the organization of an international worship service each semester. Every year, the school has about a dozen international students from various countries. The school also is a strong proponent of international students receiving the fundamental theological training in their home country.
In addition to courses in world Christianity and courses in the history of religion administered by the Graduate Program in Religion, various departments within the Divinity School offer courses related to international studies.
As complement to the course offerings, the Lecture Program Committee and the Office of Black Church Studies bring a succession of distinguished scholars and church leaders to speak in the school. Among these have been Lesslie Newbigin, Gustavo Gutierrez, Kwane Bediako, Njongokulu Ndungane, Jacques Dupuis, Dana Robert, and Cornelius van der Kooi.
On occasion, Duke Divinity faculty offer courses that include a travel component as part of the course (e.g., Tour of Turkey (Church History 766/New Testament 755) and Readings of Our Lives: Contemporary African Bible Interpretations (Old Testament 807)). In an effort to sustain its commitment to the Peru Initiative envisioned by the late Dr. Fredrick Herzog, the Divinity School has sent students, staff, and alumni to various locations within the country to conduct clergy education workshops during spring break.
Student Partnerships and Exchanges
Exchange programs are in place between the Divinity School and Tübingen University in partnership with the Methodist-related Reutlingen School of Theology in Germany. Partnerships are also in place for exchanges with the University of Durham, England, and the Free University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, as well as Chung Chi Seminary at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. These exchanges facilitate divinity students studying on their campuses and their students coming to Duke Divinity School for a full academic year. Most recently a relationship has been established with Leipzig University in Germany for doctoral students in homiletics.
Individual students occasionally have made private arrangements for study abroad. This study has most often taken place in England or Scotland, with academic credit usually transferable toward the Duke degree. The Divinity School is also strengthening its International Field Education opportunities with summer internships in South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Mexico, and El Salvador. These placements occur in both rural and urban settings.
Duke Divinity School is in partnership with several international church and academic institutions. Through these partnerships, faculty and students from the school and the partner institutions share expertise, experiences, and pray with and for one another. The partnership programs afford the opportunity for Duke Divinity School faculty and staff to visit, teach, serve, and learn from the partner institutions, and for their students, faculty, and staff to visit Duke University.
The involvement of Duke Divinity School with international institutions and cultures has always gone beyond one-way educational opportunities. Over the years, faculty, alumnae and alumni, and students have lived and worked in locations abroad, under both ecclesiastical and secular auspices. The latest listings include more than one hundred seminary graduates in ministry overseas.
Divinity students often participate in international service projects on a short-term basis. Faculty and staff, too, are engaged in a variety of activities outside the United States. In addition to innumerable conferences and lectures in Canada and Europe, professors have taught and given papers in numerous countries.