INDIANAPOLIS—Christian Theological Seminary and Butler University have appointed world-renowned South African theologian Allan Boesak as Desmond Tutu Chair for Peace, Global Justice, and Reconciliation Studies, a new four-year position held jointly with both institutions.
The title recognizes Boesak’s influential activism against racial apartheid in the 1980s in his native South Africa, where he worked closely with Archbishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela, the country’s former president.
The first African ever elected president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Boesak continues to teach and advocate for social justice, reconciliation, and interfaith dialogue around the world. He spent the 2012-2013 academic year teaching at Butler and Christian Theological Seminary (CTS), addressing classes in peace and international studies, political science, religion, and philosophy.
“I am very happy to accept this joint appointment,” Boesak said. “My teaching experiences at Butler and CTS this year have been wonderful, and I am excited for the chance to explore the global impact of Desmond Tutu’s values and thinking with students, colleagues, and the broader central Indiana community.”
Boesak will teach three courses per academic year: two will be taught at CTS, beginning in fall 2013, and one will be at Butler, beginning in spring semester 2014. Students from both institutions will be able to enroll in courses taught at either institution.
Butler President James M. Danko and CTS President Matthew Myer Boulton said the two neighboring schools are currently exploring several opportunities to collaborate academically.
“By continuing Dr. Boesak’s time with our students,” Danko said, “we offer them an exceptional lens through which to view the world and their future as contributing citizens.”
Boesak’s appointment as The Desmond Tutu Chair of Global Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation Studies has the enthusiastic encouragement and support of Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, according to Boulton and Danko.
Boulton called Boesak “an exceedingly significant international figure in Christian theology over the last few decades.”
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Boesak working with our students preparing for church and community leadership,” said Boulton, “particularly in view of his experience with faith communities in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, as well as in the groundbreaking truth and reconciliation process that followed.”
Kathryn Morris, Butler provost and vice president for academic affairs, said Boesak “brings a wealth of experience and expertise to students at both our institutions, giving them the benefit of interacting with someone who represents a living history of anti-apartheid, social justice, and reconciliation efforts.”
Edwin Aponte, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at CTS, emphasized Tutu’s legacy. “Few people in the world today embody transformative religious and social leadership as does Desmond Tutu, and Dr. Boesak is the perfect person to interpret and carry forward that legacy for a new generation in North America.”
Butler senior Marianne Richardson heard Boesak speak during a “History of Christianity” course at Butler.
“He is very good at demonstrating, through his experience in South Africa, that religion—as a political agent—can either foster oppression or liberate from oppression,” said Richardson.
About Butler University
Challenging and enabling students to meet their personal and professional goals has guided Butler University since 1855. Today, Butler is a nationally recognized comprehensive university that blends the liberal arts with first-rate pre-professional programs. It seeks to prepare each graduate not simply to make a living but to make a life of purpose, in which personal flourishing is intertwined with the welfare of others. Butler is known for its vibrant campus, superior academics, and dedicated faculty. The University enrolls more than 4,700 undergraduate and graduate students in six academic colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Located just six miles from downtown Indianapolis, Butler’s urban setting affords students internship opportunities that provide excellent graduate school and career preparation.
About Christian Theological Seminary
Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) is a fully accredited ecumenical seminary and is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). It offers eight graduate-level degree programs, including theology, ministry, and counseling, with specializations in ministries that emphasize the arts and programs for life-long learning. More than 30 denominations are represented among CTS faculty and students.