Martin Accad has been serving as Director of the Institute of Middle East Studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary since 2003, having served as well as Academic Dean of ABTS for 5 years between 2004 and 2008. He joined ABTS in 2001 after receiving his DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford for a dissertation on the interpretation of the Gospels by Muslims of the 8th to the 14th centuries. Before that, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon, and an MPhil in Eastern Christian Studies from the University of Oxford. Accad’s academic career has been influenced from the beginning by current affairs. He defended his doctoral dissertation on September 11, 2001 and found himself immediately thrust into the teaching of Islam for the sake of better Christian-Muslim understanding. In 2006, he was invited by Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena (CA) to take up the faculty position of Islamic Studies. He has since been teaching there for 3-4 months every year. The rest of the time, he lives and works in Lebanon.
Accad has published numerous articles and book chapters in the fields of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations, including “Christian Attitudes toward Islam and Muslims: A Kerygmatic Approach,” “Mission at the Intersection of Religion and Empire,” “Loving Neighbor in Word and Deed: What Jesus Meant,” the article on the “Trinity” in the IVP Dictionary of Mission Theology.
With a rich multicultural background in his own family, a Lebanese father and Swiss mother, Accad views himself as a bridge between cultures: an interpreter of Arab-Middle-Eastern complexities to a western audience, and of western complexities to an Arab audience. He also grew up through the Lebanese Civil War from 1975-1990 and understands the lethal potential of religions on human relationships. But conversely as well, he has experienced and witnessed the redemptive and transformational power of the teaching and model of Jesus of Nazareth both for individuals and communities. These are the areas he is interested in blogging about.
Martin is married to Nadia, an active advocate for the poor and most marginalized by the mainstream in Lebanese society, and they have two amazing children, Mia and Alexandre, who have more cultural mix in their background than their own parents can keep count of.
Wissam al-Saliby holds an M.A. in International Law from Paul Cézanne University, France, with focus on protection and human security. He is currently the Partnerships Manager for the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS).
Prior to joining ABTS, Wissam managed human rights education projects in Lebanon. In 2012, he was the Lebanon coordinator and lead trainer of the Swiss organization Geneva Call where he organized and lead trainings on human rights and humanitarian law, namely for Lebanese and Palestinian political parties in Lebanon. He still gives trainings on humanitarian law from time to time for local and international organizations.
In 2009, Wissam launched a blog advocating for migrant domestic workers’ rights, http://ethiopiansuicides.blogspot.com/ (twitter.com/mdwsuicides). His personal blog is http://lebanonesia.blogspot.com/ where he mostly posts photos. His personal twitter feed is http://twitter.com/lebanonesia. In 2010, he made a short film on migrant workers’ rights titled Sri Lankiete Libanieh (My Sri Lankan is Lebanese) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-dtxEO3GjA.
Arthur Brown is Assistant Director of the Institute of Middle East Studies and a member of faculty on IMES’ MRel in Middle East and North African Studies. He also teaches in the areas of Youth Ministry, Community Development and Practical Theology on the BTh and MDiv. programs at ABTS.
Arthur’s primary responsibility with IMES is providing leadership for the annual Middle East Conference, held in June each year in Lebanon. The MEC attracts world reputed evangelical specialist speakers as well as delegates from around the world. Whilst the general focus of the MEC each year is dialogical within Christian Muslim and East West relations, specific conferences focus on particular themes. For example, the conference in 2013 explored International Human Rights Conventions, within the contexts of both Islam and Christianity. In 2012 we explored the call to love our neighbour, in line with God’s command for justice and compassion, whilst focusing specifically on the Palestinian crisis within Lebanon and beyond. MEC 2014 focuses on Christ-centered discipleship within the MENA context.
Prior to moving to Lebanon in 2005 Arthur was Course Leader and Senior Tutor on the Oasis/Spurgeon’s College BA(Hons) degree in Youth Work and Ministry. He taught in the areas of informal education; principles and practices of youth & community ministry; mentoring; Adolescent risk-taking behaviour; community action and development and non-managerial supervision. He has also worked as Project Manager for a UK central government funded program supporting young people ‘at risk’ of educational and social exclusion due to behavioural challenges. He has been involved in a number of community development projects in East London, where he lived before moving to Lebanon. Arthur has a passion to see communities of faith engage positively with their local community in ways that bring about practical positive change and the development of peaceable relationships.
Arthur holds a BA (Hons) in Youth & Community Studies from DeMontford University, Leicester (1995) and a MA in Youth Ministry and Theological Education from Kings College London (University of London, 2004). His MA thesis was titled ‘Building Community Through Dialogue’. He also obtained a Certificate of Higher Education in Christian Life and Ministry from the London School of Theology (formerly London Bible College – 1996). He is currently pursuing doctoral studies with the University of Chester and Spurgeon’s College in the area of ethical and contextual approaches to youth ministry within multi-faith contexts.
Arthur’s publications include Developing Ministry Among Young People: A Guide for Youth Leaders in the Middle East (ABTS/World Vision, 2010 – available in Arabic & English); Taking Risks: Young People and Risk Taking Behaviour (Grove, 2009) and numerous articles in Youthwork Magazine in the UK.
Arthur first visited Lebanon in 1991/92, soon after the end of Lebanon’s protracted civil war, spending a year involved in voluntary work. After numerous visits he moved back to Lebanon, this time with his family, in 2005, seconded by BMS World Mission to serve at ABTS. He is married to Louise and they have three children, Jessica, Naomi and Jack.
Jesse Wheeler is Projects Manager for the Institute of Middle East Studies (IMES). In addition to providing critical administrative support for IMES, Jesse serves as Managing Editor for IMESLebanon.wordpress.com and directs the Middle East Immersion summer internship program. He currently leads the Induction and Research Methods modules, as well as the Middle East Consultation course for the MRel in MENA Studies. Jesse holds a Master of Divinity with special emphasis in Islamic Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in History, specializing in international and Middle Eastern history, with a minor in Political Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jesse, his wife Heidi, and their adorable son Nimer recently moved to Lebanon and see it as their personal (as well as institutional) mandate to help bring about positive transformation in the thinking and practice between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East and beyond.
In a prior life, or so it seems, Jesse has ministered in both Nazarene and Korean Presbyterian churches, worked as Teaching and Research Assistant for Martin Accad and J. Dudley Woodberry, and served as the Islamic Studies Administrative Coordinator for Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. He currently attends and periodically preaches at Sin El-Fil Nazarene church in Beirut, Lebanon. Jesse has also spent a good deal of time teaching English as a Second Language (currently Introduction to Theological English in the ABTS Department of Theology), playing guitar, and watching far more ‘sci-fi’ than is appropriate for a grown adult male.
Jesse’s wife Heidi is a doctoral candidate in psychology at Azusa Pacific University in California and a psychology intern at the American University of Beirut Medical Center in the Department of Psychiatry. Her specialties include child trauma, assessment, and forensic psychology.
Rupen Das is Lead Faculty for MENA History, Politics and Economics in the MRel.
Rupen Das is Consultant for Mission and Development with the European Baptist Federation (EBF) in Amsterdam, and Research Professor at Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto, Canada. He is also Senior Advisor for Capacity Building with Canadian Baptist Ministries. Previously he was the Director for Community Development and Relief at LSESD and the Program Director of the MRel.
Rupen was professor and Program Coordinator of International Project Management at Humber College in Toronto for six years. He has extensive experience in humanitarian assistance and development, having been the Director for Emergency Response and Disaster Mitigation at World Vision Canada. Prior to that he was WV’s Field Director for the South Pacific, based in Papua New Guinea. For World Vision International he was also Project Manager in Russia (a USAID project) and in Belarus (Chernobyl project). He has been involved in emergency responses in Kosovo, East Timor, India, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, among others. He was part of the Canadian team that did the pre-war assessment of the potential impact of war on the civilian population of Iraq.
As a consultant he has worked on projects for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Canadian CIMIC and DART, UNDP, Pearson Peacekeeping Center, Plan Canada, Focus Humanitarian (part of the Aga Khan Network), World Vision International, and International Development Support Services (IDSS Australia), among others. He was adjunct faculty at Eastern University in the US and visiting faculty at the Refugee Study Center, York University in Canada.
Rupen’s undergraduate and graduate degrees are both from Syracuse University. He holds a doctoral degree (DMin) from Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University, Canada. In addition he holds certificates in Disaster Management from the University of Wisconsin, in Refugee Studies from York University, and in Evaluating and Managing Evaluations of Humanitarian Action from ALNAP, UK. Rupen has twice been a 21st Century Fellow in the UK and was Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s School of Education.
Among Rupen’s publications include Connecting Curriculum to Context: Handbook for Context Relevant Curriculum Development in Theological Education; Church and Poverty: The Church Witnessing to the Kingdom of God (Arabic); Profiles of Poverty: The Human Face of Poverty in Lebanon; Humanitarian Space in Unconventional Warfare in Helping Hands, Loaded Arms; Dealing with Trauma: A Do No Harm Perspective in Mary Anderson’s Options for Aid in Conflict; and Food Security and Food Sovereignty in Iraq: The Impact of War and Sanctions on the Civilian Populations.
Sara Obeid is the Communication Officer at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. She has a degree in Environmental Health from the American University of Beirut and has experience in advocacy campaigns related to peace-building and environmental activism.