The ICETE Board has been working for the past two years, through a Succession Committee and then a Search Committee, to identify a successor to Dr. Sanders. Dr Sanders, who is now retiring, has served in the position with dedication and distinction since 2006.
ICETE is collaborating with Langham Partnership International in arranging a joint appointment, whereby Dr Kassis will serve as ICETE’s International Director and concurrently as the International Program Director for Langham Scholars. Leaders of both organizations have embraced this partnership not only in light of its practicality but especially in light of the synergy it offers and the unity it signifies in the cause of global evangelical theological education.
As ICETE International Director, Dr. Kassis will provide leadership in fulfilling ICETE’s mandate to promote excellence and renewal in evangelical theological education worldwide. He will serve as the network’s chief executive, accountable to the governing board for progress in championing ICETE’s cause; achieving its mission; developing and implementing plans, policies and procedures for accomplishing its purposes; and acquiring and stewarding the financial and human resources necessary to achieve these ends.
As International Program Director for Langham Scholars (from 1 November 2012), Dr. Kassis will direct the operation and strategic development of the program, which now encompasses more than 300 scholars around the world.
Dr. Kassis lives in Lebanon and currently serves Overseas Council International (OCI) as its Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe. In this position he has exercised wide involvement with theological education in these regions and globally. He also serves as visiting professor of Old Testament at The Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, Lebanon. In addition he has served as Director of the J. L. Schneller Institute in West Bekaa, Lebanon. Dr. Kassis is a respected lecturer and author in Arabic and English. He holds a BA from Damascus University in economics, an MDiv from Alliance Biblical Seminary in Manila, and a PhD from the University of Nottingham, UK. Among his publications have been: Why Don’t We Read the Book That Christ Read?, The Book of Proverbs and Arabic Proverbial Works, and Have You Known Your Spiritual Gifts?
Dr. Kassis was a plenary speaker at the ICETE International Consultation for Theological Educators in Sopron, Hungary, in 2009; has been active in the ICETE Doctoral Initiative at its events in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2010 and Bangalore, India, in 2011, and will be a plenary speaker at the ICETE International Consultation in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2012.
ICETE, Langham Partnership, and Overseas Council have a long history of working closely together in the cause of worldwide evangelical theological education.
David Baer, President and CEO of Overseas Council, comments, “Overseas Council works closely with our partners at Langham Partnership and ICETE. Riad will continue to be a valued partner in our shared mission as his institutional identity shifts to these sister organizations. I express my gratitude for my friend Riad’s remarkable contribution to the ministry of Overseas Council. Riad’s service, deployed with energy and discernment in service to Overseas Council’s global mission, is characterized by grace, wisdom, and godly character. We will feel his absence deeply, yet we are consoled by the fact that is gifts and talents will continue to be brought to bear on the training of Christian leaders for a world that desperately needs men and women who will exercise their calling as servant leaders with vision, integrity, and competence.”
Reflecting on his changing role Riad Kassis observes, “My ministry with Overseas Council has been a crucial phase in my life that opened new horizons to interact deeply with theological education issues both regionally and globally. I am excited that my joint appointment by Langham and ICETE is a concrete example of partnership and collaboration. As much as I will miss my colleagues in OC and its partner schools, I look forward to synergizing our efforts as we seek the expansion of God’s church and kingdom through theological education.”
In a joint statement Chris Wright (International Director, Langham Partnership) and Paul Sanders (current ICETE International Director) affirm: “There is so much overlap between the world of ICETE, with its global network of regional associations of evangelical theological institutions, and the worldwide fellowship of Langham Scholars, many of whom serve in these same institutions, that it makes abundant sense for the same person to give creative leadership to both. We are delighted to welcome Riad into combined executive roles within our two organizations, to which in many ways he already belongs. His stellar work with Overseas Council and our close partnership with OC are strategic assets for continuing global collaboration between our three organisations. We look forward to increasing and fruitful synergy for the benefit of the church and its mission in the world, for the glory of God.”
The ICETE International Director leadership transition from Paul Sanders to Riad Kassis will be formalized at ICETE’s 2012 International Consultation for Theological Educators in Nairobi 15-19 October, 2012. In the meantime, we invite you to join us in praising the Lord for His clear leading and abundant provision of leadership for ICETE and in praying for Riad and his family during this transition period.
Your partner in global theological education,
Ralph E. Enlow, Jr.
Chair, ICETE Search Committee
Chair, ICETE Board, 2011-2012
About International Council for Evangelical Theological Education
ICETE is a global community, sponsored by eight regional associations of theological schools, to enable international interaction and collaboration among all those concerned for the enhancement of evangelical theological education worldwide. Further information is available at http://www.icete-edu.org/.
About Langham Partnership
Langham Partnership works alongside Christian leaders around the world, especially in the continents of the south and east, helping to equip them with skills and tools for growing the church with depth and maturity. Langham’s mission is to strengthen the ministry of God’s word by planting national movements for continuous training in biblical preaching (Langham Preaching); providing preachers and seminaries with evangelical literature, and mentoring indigenous writers, editors and publishers (Langham Literature); offering doctoral scholarships for theological leaders who will train the next generation of Bible teachers in their own countries (Langham Scholars). Visit www.langhampartnership.org for more information.
About Overseas Council
Overseas Council partners with seminaries, Bible institutes and other strategic ministries by leveraging people, expertise and resources to advance quality Christian leadership training, thus empowering churches around the world to fulfill the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ. More information is available at http://www.overseas.org/.