These scholars are changing the world!

Your generosity makes all the difference.

These scholars are changing the world!

Your generosity makes all the difference

Our Leader Studies program awards scholarships to exceptional Majority World Christian leaders pursuing doctoral-level education in theology and related disciplines. Meet the 2024 new scholars.

Collins Ako, Cameroon

The Rev. Collins Etchi Ako is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. In this role, he serves in the East Congo Episcopal Area in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Born in Cameroon and orphaned at an early age, Collins began working closely with the United Methodist Church’s Cameroon Mission in 2007. Missionary service has been on his spiritual radar since that time. He has a special interest in the ministries of justice and reconciliation. He has traveled widely, conducting seminars on conflict management, peace, sustainable development, and interfaith dialogue. His dissertation explores the relationships between mission and socio-political stability, a pressing concern in his primary contexts of Cameroon and the DRC. In particular, he studies the missional activities of member churches of the Council of Protestant Churches of Cameroon (CPCC) in their context of instability in southern Cameroon. 

Patient Bahati Hamuli, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Patient was born in 1985 in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He has been a Catholic priest since 2015, with special involvement in interreligious dialogue between Christianity and Islam. His doctoral research considers the role of religion in the contemporary Muslim world, especially in Algeria. He is examining how, despite challenges presented by secularization on the one hand and radical ideologies on the other, religion can help to build rich societal identity.

Angelica de Vera, The Philippines

Angelica’s calling is to engage, empower, and equip the body of Christ for His global mission. Passionate and energetic, she is a creative who plays the violin, draws, paints, and has illustrated children’s books. One of her many dreams is to create innovative resources to help the church live out its mission in the world. Her PhD research aims to uncover how Filipino Christian young adults in Metro Manila perceive the role of art in catalyzing missional engagement.

Alexandr Diller, Kazakhstan

Alexandr was born in Central Kazakhstan. His spiritual journey began after he completed military service in 1992. Since 1993, he has been involved in ministry in various roles, including sound engineering, missions, youth leadership, and administration. He is now a pastor. He and his wife have been blessed with six children. For his PhD, Alexandr is researching the influence of the Soviet gulags (1940-1956) on Central Kazakhstan’s religious and cultural contexts.

Daniel S. Grijalba Rosero, Colombia

Daniel is a Colombian who lives in Medellín. Teaching is his passion, and he is a theologian with a Master’s in education and a Master’s in theology and ministry. He is also a trained lawyer with a specialization in human rights. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Theology at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia. His research will exegete Matthew 25:31-46 to offer a renewed understanding of discipleship to Colombia as part of a theology of integral mission. 

Flo Kagwamba, Kenya

Flo Kagwamba serves as the Executive Administrator for the Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA). Prior to her role at ACTEA, Flo worked at Africa International University as the Executive Secretary to the Vice Chancellor. She contributed to AIU’s chief achievements, including the Award of the Charter by the Kenyan Government. Outside of work, Flo enjoys spending time with her family. She is married to Edward, and they have three children: Giovanni (15), Gianna (12), and Makena (4). Flo’s doctoral research surveys succession planning practices within ACTEA-accredited institutions – specifically, how new leaders are identified, mentored, and transitioned into their positions. She is assessing the relationship between succession planning and institutional mission and seeking to identify best practices for improving succession planning. In her work, Flo hypothesizes that institutions that have robust transition processes are healthy, sustainable, and fulfill their mission.

Alejandra Ortiz, Mexico

Alejandra Ortiz is from Tijuana, Mexico and is married to Abdiel. She is mom to two girls, Erandi (6) and Ayari (3). Alejandra co-leads the Logos & Cosmos Initiative for Latin America, is part of the Engaging the University Global team, and serves on the regional support team for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) Latin America. Her work includes mentoring, teaching, writing, and leadership. In her research, Alejandra studies the history and missiology of Latin American evangelicalism with a focus on gender issues. In particular, she explores how women, both local and foreign, contributed to IFES and to the foundation and ethos formation of various Latin American university movements. 


Lily is a minister and seminary professor in a restricted country in Asia, where she has had the grace to serve the Lord for over fifteen years. Currently, she is a PhD student at Wycliffe College in Toronto. Her research will study the lament psalms in order to develop a theology that will benefit the church from the intersection of biblical thought, poetics, and Asian classical literature. She hopes that her study will create dialogue between Christianity and her home culture, bridging the two so as to contribute to scholarship on the Hebrew Bible on the one hand and also to be a blessing to the church on the other.

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