Memorandum of Understanding with Belhaven University

Research & faculty mobility partnership

BAD LIEBENZELL/JACKSON. Dr. Bradford M. Smith, director of Adult and Online Psychology Programs and the Institute for International Care and Counsel at Belhaven University, has already been co-editor of a volume of IHL’s publication series “Interkulturalität & Religion • Intercultural & Religious Studies: Liebenzeller Impulse zu Mission, Kultur und Religion.” In 2015, he and his colleague Prof. Dr. Ulrich Giesekus, IHL professor of psychology and counseling, organized an international symposium about “Global Mental Health and the Church” which included participants from 17 different countries.

Ulrich Giesekus and Brad Smith have worked on a number of research and missions projects together, and are currently involved in a joint research project. The cooperation between the two institutions has now become official: IHL Rector Prof. Dr. Volker Gäckle was pleased to sign a memorandum of understanding for an institutional partnership between IHL and Belhaven University on November 29, 2017. Volker Gäckle said: “This partnership is special in two ways: first, it is IHL’s first partnership with an US American institution, and second, it is IHL’s first partnership which focuses on research and faculty mobility as it has been our concern to further advance the topic of global mental health and the church’s role in it. This partnership allows us to enable two professors to dig deeper, and to support their cooperation in a serious way.”

In February 2018, Belhaven University’s president, Dr. Roger Parrott, also signed the memorandum of understanding which also includes that Bradford Smith was the first to be appointed as honorary research fellow of the Liebenzell Institute of Missiological, Religious, Intercultural & Social Studies, in equivalence to Ulrich Giesekus´ appointment as fellow of the Institute for International Care and Counsel at Belhaven University. “Being able to share common interests and working with a common goal in joint projects in this way is a great privilege, just as building a transatlantic friendship of individuals and institutions,” Ulrich Giesekus said. The emphasis of their common research is global mental health and the role of missions and churches. With these projects, they are following up on the “Capetown Declaration on Care and Counsel as Mission” of the Third Lausanne Congress in 2010.

Internationale Hochschule Liebenzell was established in 2011, is recognized by the State of Baden-Württemberg, and accredited with the German Council of Science and the Humanities. Its slogan is “Studying with a worldwide horizon.”

Belhaven University is a Christian liberal arts college belonging to Regional Universities South. It has about 5,000 students, and was originally founded in 1883 in Jackson, Mississippi, USA.