(Above) The memorandum of understanding is signed at Booth University College. From left, Rhonda Friesen, dean of students, Booth UC; Dr. Linda Schwartz, vice-president academic and dean, Booth UC; Dr. (Rev.) Rob Fringer; Royke Lepa; Samuel Pongi; Comr Yusak Tampai; and Dr. Mariciel Nuyda, dean of the School for Continuing Studies, Booth UC

A new partnership has formed between Winnipeg’s Booth University College and Palu Theological Seminary (PTS), a Salvation Army institution based in the Sigi Regency in Indonesia. While the country is primarily Muslim, Dr. Rob Fringer, president of Booth UC, explains that there is a large Salvation Army presence in that regency. “When we were approached about a partnership, since PTS is a Salvation Army school and we are a Salvation Army school, it seemed like a natural fit,” he says.

The Indonesian government has been invested in providing educational opportunities for its young citizens, including study abroad programs. The initial goal of the partnership isto send three to five PTS students to Booth UC to complete a term of full-time studies. “The idea is to give them a broad experience, beyond just theological studies,” explains Fringer. “It’s about capacity building, skill development and broadening perspectives.”

To further explore the partnership, a delegation from Indonesia recently visited Booth UC, including Commissioner Yusak Tampai, territorial commander, Indonesia Territory; Samuel Pongi, vice-mayor of the Sigi Regency; and Royke Lepa, director of PTS. Over the four-day visit, delegates were introduced to Booth UC’s campus, programs and student supports, toured Salvation Army ministries in Winnipeg, and discussed outcomes that aligned with both the Indonesian government and PTS. At the end of the visit, a memorandum of understanding was drafted and signed between PTS and Booth UC.

“It was eye-opening to see and observe the vast range of programs provided by Booth UC, and how rich the resources are there,” says Commissioner Tampai. “It is our hope that the partnership between the colleges will flourish with the development of our young people.” The next steps in the partnership include choosing the students and ensuring they have the supports in place for studying in Canada before welcoming them to Booth UC in 2024.

“This partnership truly embodies our commitment to education for a better world,” concludes Fringer. “Having different cultures together in a classroom gives a larger perspective. It helps make us global citizens and allows us to have more grace with each other as we learn and grow both culturally and academically.”

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