in 1946, in Kakamas, Northern Cape, South Africa, Rev. Dr. Allan Aubrey
Boesak is a theologian, humanitarian, prolific author and tireless
advocate for social justice. Since gaining international acclaim for his
doctoral dissertation, “Farewell to Innocence,” nearly four
decades ago, Boesak has emerged as one of the world’s preeminent
authorities on liberation theology. In June 2013, Christian Theological
Seminary and Butler University named Boesak the Desmond Tutu Chair of
Peace, Global Justice, and Reconciliation Studies, following his role as
a theologian and visiting professor at both institutions during the
2012-13 academic year.
studied at the University of Western Cape and earned his doctorate in
theology from the Protestant Theological University in Kampen, the
Netherlands. His early activism and service led to international
recognition as an influential leader in the fight against apartheid.
During the 1980s he worked alongside Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela to
lead efforts against apartheid and promote reconciliation.
Community and Political Leadership
brings decades of political and community service to his role at CTS
and Butler University. His social justice advocacy during some of the 20th
century’s most tumultuous social eras served to advance a wide breadth
of organizations committed to advancing the reconciliation movement.
An abbreviated summary of his leadership from the 1970s thru the dawn of the 21st
century includes: board member of the Christian Institute of Southern
Africa; National President, Association of Christian Students in South
Africa; Chairman, The Confessing Circle of the Black Dutch Reformed
Churches; Editor of Dunamis, the quarterly publication of The
Confessing Circle; President, Alliance of Black Reformed Christians in
Southern Africa; National Vice President, South African Council of
Churches; and advisor on theological and socio-political matters to
several ecumenical bodies, including the World Council of Churches and
the All Africa Conference of Churches. He also served as President of
the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and as founding member of the
Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians, and advisor to the
Apartheid Commission of the UN.
Boesak was a participant in a specially appointed international group on Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons chaired
by Sir Shidrath Ramphal (Commonwealth), Pres Julius Nyerere (Tanzania),
and Mr. Rajiv Ghandi (Prime Minister of India) between 1985 and 1986.
He was a key negotiator during discussion on sanctions on the South
African regime’s Commonwealth Heads of State/Heads of Government meeting
in Kuala Lampur in 1989, and a member of the International Commission
on the Future of the United Nations, chaired by Sir Shridath Ramphal and
Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlson between 1990 and 1993.
Theological, Church and Academic Leadership
his accomplishments fighting apartheid, Boesak’s leadership in
theological, church and academic settings is equally expansive and spans
decades. Between 1982 and 1990 he served as a moderator of the Dutch
Reformed Mission Church in South Africa and as vice-moderator of the
General Synod and moderator of the Regional Synod of the Western Cape.
He has served as a keynote speaker and Bible study leader at several
ecumenical assemblies including the World Council of Churches, All
Africa Conference of Churches, Asian Christian Conference, Caribbean
Council of Churches and South African Council of Churches.
to his work at CTS and Butler, Boesak taught and lectured at several
theological institutions, colleges and universities throughout North
America, Asia and Europe. In 1987, he served as a Bible study leader,
speaker and main Kirchentag Preacher at German Kirchentag in Frankfurt.
He served as Inaugural Lecturer at Calvin College’s Multi-Cultural Lecturship program in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1988, Boesak was opening speaker at the International Bonhoeffer Congress in Amsterdam. Between 1995 and 1997, he taught at American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley, California.
accomplished scholar on Calvinism, Boesak is a member of Calvin
Commemoration Patronage Committee of the World Alliance of Reformed
Churches and served as a member of the Lombard Panel for the John Calvin
Essay competition for young theologians in 2009.
also served as head of “The Globalisation Project” of the Uniting
Reformed Church in Southern Africa and the German Reformed Church at
Stellenbosch University, and Professor Extraordinaire, Systematic
Theology, Stellenbosh University; and Research Fellow, the Beyers Naude
Center for Public Theology.
scholarship has led to Boesak being awarded multiple honorary doctoral
degrees from some of the world’s most esteemed higher education
institutions in the United States, Canada, England and Switzerland.
prolific writer, Boesak has authored 17 books, and edited or co-edited
four, in addition to publishing numerous articles on theology and
honors and awards have been presented to Boesak in recognition of his
leadership on humanitarian, reconciliation, social justice and