Yale Divinity School Expands Student Exchange Programs to Asia

Yale Divinity School is expanding its international student exchange program, establishing ties to two theological schools in Asia to complement ongoing programs in Germany and England.

Yale Divinity School is expanding its international student exchange program, establishing ties to two theological schools in Asia to complement ongoing programs in Germany and England.

In an open letter to students, Yale Divinity School Dean Harold Attridge called the addition of the Asia exchange initiatives “a step toward a new and more dynamic program to engage the world.”

The Dean’s announcement came on the heels of recent visits to theological schools in Asia and to partner institutions in Germany.

“We have just returned from two major visits – first to Germany in December, where we have existing programs, and, in January, to Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia,” wrote Attridge. “Early in 2008 we visited the U.K., where we had conversations about our ongoing program with Westcott House in Cambridge. These visits have resulted in improvements to existing exchange programs and the addition of two new opportunities for 2009, with Chung Chi College in Hong Kong and with Trinity Theological College in Singapore.”

Accompanying Attridge to Asia were Anna Ramirez, associate dean of admissions and financial aid, and John Lindner, director of external relations. Ramirez also accompanied Attridge on the trip to Germany.

An affiliate of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Divinity School of Chung Chi College is the only theological institution within a Chinese public university. Supported by several Protestant traditions, it provides service opportunities to its students through ecumenical agencies such as the Amity Foundation and the Hong Kong Christian Council. Research centers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong include the Center for Catholic Studies, the Center for Christian Studies, the Center for the Study of Daoist Culture, the Center for the Study of Humanistic Buddhism, and the Center for Harmony in Diversity.

Trinity Theological College, which opened in 1948, operates two significant research centers: The Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia and the Centre for the Development of Christian Ministry.

Initial student exchanges for the new programs will take place during the 2009–10 academic year. According to Ramirez, exchanges will begin on a one-semester basis but might expand if some non-academic components, such as working with nonprofit agencies, are added to the programs.

In his letter, Attridge cited Yale University President Richard C. Levin’s commitment to making Yale a “global university,” and spoke of a corresponding desire and need for increased international emphasis at Yale Divinity School.

“At the Divinity School we are committed to assessing what it might mean for us to more fully ‘engage the world’ in the years ahead and to developing programs to better serve and prepare students,” wrote Attridge.

Ongoing exchange programs exist in Germany with Heidelberg University, the University of Tübingen, and the University of Freiburg. In England, YDS has an exchange program with Westcott House, which has a close relationship with Cambridge University.

The exchange programs enable students from the German and UK schools to study at Yale Divinity School at the same time YDS students are studying at those schools in Europe. Yale sends 3-4 students for a year of study at the German universities; three students go to Westcott House (and three from Westcott House come to Yale) for the fall term only. Two students from each Chinese school will trade places with two from YDS for the fall term of the initial year.

Yale Divinity School is an interdenominational school of theological education that draws its faculty from the major Christian traditions, preparing students for service in lay and ordained ministries, other professions, and academic careers. Each year, some 140 students graduate with one of three degrees offered by the school: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Religion, and Master of Sacred Theology.

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Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345

Gustav Spohn: gus.spohn@yale.edu, 203-432-3466