The Faces of IMES

Martin Accad

Martin Accad

Martin Accad ABTS Chief Academic Officer

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 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.

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.

Elias Public Image

Elias Ghazal

Elias Ghazal IMES Manager

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.

Arthur Brown

Arthur Brown

Arthur Brown Associate Director for Youth Initiatives

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.

Jesse Wheeler

Jesse Wheeler

Jesse Wheeler IMES Projects Manager

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. 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

Wissam al-Saliby

Wissam al-Saliby

Wissam al-Saliby ABTS Partnerships Manager

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 regular trainings on humanitarian law for local and international organizations.

In 2009, Wissam launched a blog advocating for migrant domestic workers’ rights: Ethiopian Suicides ( His personal blog is where he mostly posts photos. His personal twitter feed is In 2010, he made a short film on migrant workers’ rights titled Sri Lankiete Libanieh (“My Sri Lankan is Lebanese”)