MRel Faculty

MEC 2012 - Day 1 (9)

Colin Chapman

Colin Chapman Lead Faculty for MENA Islam

Colin Chapman was brought up in Scotland and studied at St Andrews University and London Bible College before training at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, for ordination in the Anglican Church. After working for three years as an assistant minister in a church in Edinburgh, he went to Egypt with the Church Mission Society, where he was on the staff of the Anglican Cathedral and taught at the Coptic Evangelical (Presbyterian) Seminary.

From 1975 to 1983 he worked with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students as Regional Secretary for Islamic Lands, based in Beirut. Returning to the UK he taught the Study of Mission and the Study of Religion at Trinity College, an Anglican seminary in Bristol, and from 1990 to 1997 was Principal of Crowther Hall, the training college of the Church Mission Society in Selly Oak, Birmingham. From 1999 to 2003 he taught Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut. His wife, Anne, worked with the Church Mission Society as a nurse in Jordan before they were married, and they are now enjoying semi-retirement in Cambridge, England.

Colin’s books include: Christianity on Trial (Lion, 1971-73); The Case for Christianity (Lion, Tyndale, 1981); Whose Promised Land? The Continuing Crisis over Israel and Palestine (Lion and Baker, 1983); Cross and Crescent: Responding to the Challenge of Islam (IVP UK and USA, 1988 and 2007); Islam and the West: Conflict, Co-Existence or Conversion? (Paternoster, 1998); Whose Holy City? Jerusalem and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Lion and Baker, 2004). 

Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing and Teaching: Islam, Christian-Muslim Relations and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Profile - Rupen

Rupen Das

Rupen Das Lead Faculty for MENA History, Politics and Economics

Rupen Das is Research Professor at Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto, in addition to his role as Lead Faculty for History, Politics and Economics for ABTS. He is also on the faculty of the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (IBTSC) in Amsterdam. At the moment he is based in Amsterdam.

Previously he had been the Program Director for the Master of Religion (MRel) in Middle Eastern and North African Studies at ABTS Beirut, Lebanon. He also set up LSESD’s humanitarian response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Rupen was professor and Program Coordinator of International Project Management at Humber College in Toronto.  He has extensive experience in humanitarian assistance and development with World Vision and as a consultant with various NGOs, the Canadian Government, and others. Early in his career he had been the Dean at Kodaikanal International School in India and on staff with the Navigators in North America and in Asia.

Rupen’s undergraduate and graduate degrees are both from Syracuse University in the US, and doctoral degree (DMin) from Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University, Canada. At present, he is a Ph.D. candidate at the Vrije University in Amsterdam. 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, an Ashoka Fellow, and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s School of Education.

Some of his publications include Compassion and the Mission of God: Revealing the Hidden Kingdom; Profiles of Poverty: The Human Face of Poverty in Lebanon; and Strangers in the Kingdom: Refugees, Migrants and the Stateless.

For more details on Rupen Das, click

Richard McCallum

Richard McCallum

Richard McCallum Lead Faculty for MENA Cultures

Richard McCallum first traveled to North Africa in 1984 whilst studying for a BSc in Physics at Imperial College, London and later lived in Tunis from 1992 to 2002 where he lectured English and linguistics at the Université de Tunis, having got an MA in Applied Linguistics. 

During that time he learned Arabic – or at least a Tunisian version of it! – made many Arab friends and traveled extensively around the Middle East. After leaving Tunis, Richard returned to his home town, Yeovil, UK, and led a church there for several years.  In 2011, Richard completed a PhD in Sociology at the University of Exeter looking at Christian responses to Islam in Britain and taught Sociology of Religion.

In 2012, Richard moved to Oxford to work as a freelance researcher for both the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies at Oxford and for the Cambridge Interfaith Programme, particularly looking at the impact of recent interfaith initiatives and the teaching of Islam to Christian students. In November 2013, Richard joined the staff of CMCS as a research fellow. He has also taught on various aspects of Islam and worked with Muslims at several colleges in the UK. Richard occasionally works as a freelance cross cultural trainer and delivers intercultural workshops particularly for companies working in the Arab World. In his own words, “I enjoy this as it gets me out of both academia and the Christian world!” Richard is married to Heather and has one daughter, Katie, who is studying at SOAS, part of the University of London.

Martin Accad

Martin Accad

Martin Accad Lead Faculty for MENA Christianity / Support Faculty for MENA Islam 

Martin Accad served as director of the Institute of Middle East Studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary from 2003 – 2016, having served as well as Academic Dean of ABTS for 5 years between 2004 and 2008. Recently, he was given the position of Chief Academic Officer of ABTS, overseeing all academic affairs of the seminary. Accad 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 8thto 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.

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,” and 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.

Kathryn Kraft

Kathryn Kraft

Kathryn Kraft Support Faculty for MENA Cultures

Kathryn Kraft has lived and worked in various Arab countries since 2001. She has a MA in Middle East studies from the American University of Beirut, and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Bristol, England. She has worked in a variety of fields including research, peace and reconciliation, emergency relief and social development. She now lectures in International Development at the University of East London.

Kathryn was born in the U.S. and raised in Brazil, and first moved to the Middle East shortly after completing her university studies, in 2001. After a year and a half of full-time Arabic studies in Syria, she pursued postgraduate studies at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Her research focus was on Syrian women’s sense of identity and relationships. Based on that research, she has recently published a full-length novel (under a pseudonym) entitled Dreams in the Medina.

After completing her MA, Kathryn wrote her PhD at the University of Bristol, in Sociology. Her research focus was on community and identity in the Middle East, particularly in the context of religious conversion. Her PhD research was also recently published by Regnum Books, in a book entitled Searching for Heaven in the Real World.

Over the course of her research, Kathryn’s attention was increasingly drawn to the importance of caring for the poor, the sick, the hungry, and the most vulnerable people, as well as the value that education and community dialogue can have in societal transformation. So after completing her  postgraduate studies, she began working in community development and humanitarian relief work for a variety of different organisations in various different roles. In addition to consulting for some local organisations based in the Middle East, she worked for Catholic Relief Services, World Vision and Save the Children in nearly a dozen different countries. Her experience ranged from project management in emergency disaster relief, to project design, to strengthening the capacity of local civil society to engage in peace and reconciliation work. Most recently she served as a monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning advisor in the Syria response.

In September 2013, Kathryn began working as a Lecturer in International Development at the University of East London. In this role, she looks forward to training a new generation of community development and relief workers, and pursuing her research into the power of storytelling as a tool for conflict transformation.


Arthur Brown

Arthur Brown Holistic Formation Faculty for MENA Islam

Dr. Arthur Brown is Associate Director for Youth Initiatives at the Institute of Middle East Studies and a member of faculty on IMES’ MRel in Middle East and North African Studies program. He also teaches in the areas of Youth Ministry, Community Development and Practical Theology on the BTh and MDiv programs at ABTS.

Dr. Brown is responsible for providing leadership for IMES’ annual Middle East Consultation (MEC), held in June each year in Lebanon. The MEC attracts world reputed evangelical specialist speakers as well as delegates from around the world. 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.

In 2016, Brown was awarded a doctorate from the University of Chester and Spurgeon’s College in the area of ethical and contextual approaches to youth ministry within multi-faith contexts. In addition, 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).

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 four children, Jessica, Naomi, Jack and Johnathan.

Mike Kuhn

Mike Kuhn

Mike Kuhn Support Faculty for MENA Christianity

Mike and his family spent 22 years in France, North Africa and the Middle East, working among Muslims and Christians – learning how the gospel is impacting Islamic communities.  After leaving the Middle East in 2005, Mike returned to the US where he served for 6 years as a pastor in Knoxville, Tennessee. Currently, Mike is involved with theological education in Beirut, Lebanon.

Having graduate degrees in both Theology and Arabic Language and Literature, Mike is now pursuing a PhD from the Oxford Center for Mission Studies in Muslim-Christian relations during the 11th century, in hopes that it might inform the church today.

In the aftermath of 9/11 and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mike sensed that Christian rhetoric among US Christians regarding Muslims was often a poor reflection of the gospel. He began to speak and write as an advocate for a “Kingdom vision” of the Muslim world, writing the book Fresh Vision for the Muslim World to give voice to his convictions. With practical suggestions, Kuhn helps readers leave the path of isolation, fear and self-preservation and choose a less-traveled road: a path of self-awareness, empathy, and deep listening. Mike is married to Stephanie and they have 3 daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandsons! In his free time, Mike enjoys playing guitar and banjo.


Robert Hamd

Robert Hamd Holistic Formation Faculty for MENA Cultures

Robert Hamd has served as a cross-cultural worker, pastor, and educator since 1994 in Amman, Jordan; Marseilles, France; and Beirut, Lebanon. He currently serves as executive director of The Philemon Project, a joint ministry project with the National Evangelical Church of Beirut and The Evangelical Presbyterian Church’s World Outreach. He served for many years as pastor for the international congregation of the National Evangelical Church of Beirut, the oldest protestant congregation in the Middle East (f. 1823).

Robert holds a Doctorate in Intercultural Studies (DIS) from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and joined the IMES team in 2016 as Holistic Formation Faculty for the MENA Cultures module of our Master of Religion in Middle Eastern and North African Studies program. Robert is of Lebanese-American background.

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Elia Khalifeh

Fr. Elia Khalifeh Holistic Formation Faculty for MENA Christianity

Fr. Elia Khalifeh is a Lebanese Antiochian Orthodox monk currently based in Oxford. Fr. Elia is the founder of Antioch: A Centre for Antiochian Orthodox Christian Studies and Research in Oxford whereat he is working to preserve and make known the Antiochian Orthodox heritage by cataloging and examining all available manuscripts produced or related to the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch.

He is especially interested in documenting the use of Syriac and Christian Palestinian Aramaic among the Orthodox. From Balamand, Lebanon to Oxford, England, Fr. Elia Khalifeh has embarked on the monumental project of locating and cataloguing the widely scattered manuscripts of the Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchate. From libraries and museums of the Middle East, Europe, and America, his patient, detailed search has unearthed a treasury of Chalcedonian Christian literature, sparking the recovery of our rich Antiochian heritage.

A more detailed paper about his work can be found here and an article about him from the magazine Road to Emmaus can be found here.


Jesse Wheeler

Jesse Wheeler Support Instructor for MENA History, Politics and Economics / Programs Support Instructor

Jesse Wheeler serves as Projects Manager for the Institute of Middle East Studies (IMES). As part of his responsibilities at IMES, Jesse administers the Master of Religion in Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MRel in MENA Studies) program, manages the Middle East Immersion (MEI) summer internship program, and serves as managing editor for the IMES blog. In addition, Jesse acts as Support Instructor for the MENA History, Politics and Economics module, and currently facilitates the Induction and Research Methods modules, as well as the Middle East Consultation course, for the MRel in MENA Studies program.

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 son Nimer moved to Lebanon in 2013, while a new addition, Tommy, came along in 2016. Jesse and Heidi see it as their personal mandate to help bring about positive transformation in the Middle East and beyond. 

In a prior life, or so it seems, Jesse has ministered to children and youth 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. Jesse has also spent a good deal of time teaching English as a Second Language (currently Introduction to Theological English for ABTS), playing guitar, and watching far more ‘sci-fi’ than is appropriate for a grown adult. In addition to IMES Lebanon, Jesse blogs at

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Elias Ghazal

Elias Ghazal Holistic Formation Instructor for MENA History, Politics and Economics

In 2016 Elias Ghazal took over responsibility as IMES Manager. Previously he spent most of his time managing a project that develops online theological courses in Arabic. The project aims to serve local communities in the Middle East and North Africa by training and equipping faithful followers of Christ for ministry. In more tangible ways, Elias helps seminaries and students in the MENA region benefit from online theological education, according to their capacity and need. He helped the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) launch its latest online program, the Certificate in Ministry, which is the first Arabic online theological degree in the world. In 2015, Elias played the role of support faculty for the MENA History, Politics and Economics module, in the IMES Master of Religion in Middle Eastern and North African Studies.

Elias has a Masters of Theological Studies from Tyndale Seminary in Toronto (2011), and has recently completed an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the American University of Beirut (2015).  Elias’ main academic interests are Middle Eastern history, politics, and religion. Elias is looking to continue his doctorate studies. He wants to explore how religious violence impacts international relations in the Middle East.

In September 2011, Elias moved from Toronto, where he was working as Operations Specialist in the financial sector, to Lebanon. With special affinity for Arabs, he moved to the Middle East to be closer to the changes that the Arab Spring promised. He met his wife Joyce in Lebanon, and they made their permanent home there. God blessed them with one girl (March 2014) and one boy (March 2016). The family serves at a local church in Mansourieh.