Featured Graduates

Mwawi Chilongozi

Dr. Mwawi Chilongozi

Secretary General for the CCAP, General Assembly

Mwawi completed her PhD in Practical Theology from Stellenbosch University in South Africa in 2022. Her research focuses on how the Church can promote socioeconomic empowerment through microfinance, especially among rural women, in order to alleviate poverty and strengthen social networks. An ordained minister in the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia, Mwawi ministers to the Zolozolo Congregation in Mzuzu. Recently, Mwawi was elected Secretary General for the CCAP, General Assembly. The largest Protestant denomination in Malawi, the CCAP also includes synods in South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Dr. Stavan John

Professor, SAIACS

Stavan completed his PhD in Systematic Theology at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (UK) in 2022. His dissertation on “The Risen and Ascended Humanity of Christ in T.F. Torrance’s ‘Complete’ Christology” examines Christian understandings of Jesus’s bodily resurrection. This research is especially important in an Indian context influenced by Hindu avatar theology, which emphasizes the spirit over the body. Stavan’s work will serve as a corrective, showing that Christ has achieved the complete salvation of whole persons. Stavan is part of a strategic faculty development plan at South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS)(a client school of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative).

Dr. Eva Wong

Faculty, Bible College of Malaysia

An Assemblies of God minister, Eva serves as faculty member and Spiritual Formation Director at the Bible College of Malaysia. In 2022, she completed her PhD in Theology from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in the UK. In addition to her faculty responsibilities at BCM, she is a member of the Malaysian Assemblies of God Theological Commission, and she has been commissioned to found a new Malaysian Pentecostal Research Centre (MPRC). Both of these projects are developing clearer theologies that will guide Pentecostal believers in Malaysia; both align closely with her research, which traces the history of Pentecostalism in Malaysia from classical to contemporary times, with special reference to Joel 2.

Dr. Gerardo Corpeño

Professor of Systematic and Latin American Theology, SETECA

Originally from El Salvador, Gerardo serves as Professor of Systematic and Latin American Theology at Seminario Teológico Centroamericano (SETECA), where he had taught for eleven years before pursuing a PhD in Theology from Wheaton College (Illinois, USA). He completed his PhD in 2022. Located in Guatemala City, SETECA is one of Latin America’s largest seminaries and is also a client of ScholarLeaders‘ Vital SustainAbility Initiative. Gerardo's research focuses on the implications of Christ’s cross for reconciliation in violent societies.

More Graduates

Identity Protected (China)

Identity Protected (China)

This leader completed his PhD from the London School of Theology in 2022. His research develops a theology of the Godhead in the Gospel of John for the Chinese Church, with implications of Christ’s portrayal in Revelation for Christian worship and missions.

Dr. Sara Afshari (Iran/Cyprus)

Refugee Ministries

Sara earned her PhD in World Christianity from the University of Edinburgh (UK) in 2017. Sara develops media to train Christian leaders and reach people in closed countries – especially Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan – through SAT-7 PARS, a Persian TV ministry. Sara also serves at an Iranian church in Edinburgh and acts as a consultant to the Lutheran Church in Denmark as they help refugees integrate into local churches.

Dr. Nelson Morales (Guatemala)

Director of Postgraduate Programs, Central American Theological Seminary

Nelson earned his PhD in New Testament from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (USA) and now serves as the Director of Postgraduate Programs at Central American Theological Seminary (SETECA) in Guatemala City, Guatemala. SETECA, a VSI client school, is one of the largest evangelical seminaries in Latin America. The school has nearly 3,000 alumni serving the Church throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

Identity Protected (Cambodia)

Academic Coordinator, Glow Cambodia

This leader completed her PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2021. She is now starting a new MA program related to Marketplace Transformation (or Work and Faith) for Glow Cambodia. Her study of Exodus 19-24 and Ancient Near Eastern law collections offers a lens for understanding the relationships between faith and politics in Cambodia and Hong Kong.

Dr. Sutrisna Harjanto (Indonesia)

President, Bandung Theological Seminary

Sutrisna earned his PhD in Educational Studies from Trinity Evangelical School (USA) in 2017. Now, he is the President of Bandung Theological Seminary (BTS) in Indonesia. Before his studies, Sutrisna served with Perkantas (IFES Indonesia) for over 20 years. As president and faculty at BTS, he teaches Christian professionals to witness in the workforce.

Dr. Xue Xiaxia (Hong Kong)

Associate Professor, China Graduate School of Theology

ScholarLeaders first supported Xiaxia for her Master’s at China Graduate School of Theology (CGST) in Hong Kong and then for her PhD studies in New Testament at McMaster Divinity School in Canada. Xiaxia now serves as Associate Professor of New Testament at CGST. For more than 40 years, CGST has developed leaders for the Church in Hong Kong and in mainland China. Xiaxia was a recipient of the Liefeld Scholarship.

Dr. Josè Thontwa (DRC)

Professor, Protestant University of Ubangi

Josè completed his PhD at Bangui Evangelical School of Theology (VSI), formerly known as FATEB, in Central African Republic. After graduation, he teaches systematic theology at the Protestant University of Ubangi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His teaching and witness will contribute to the Church's ability to build a stable, peaceful society in the DRC.

Dr. Kei Hiramatsu (Japan)

Professor, Central Bible College

Kei completed his PhD in New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary (U.S.) in 2021. Afterward, he and his family returned to Japan, the world’s fastest-aging society (89% of Japanese pastors are over 50). By serving as the first Japanese faculty member with a PhD in Biblical Studies at Central Bible College (Tokyo), Kei is helping the Japanese church rebuild its pastorate. His research on how suffering helps Christians conform to Christ encourages Japanese believers who often face intense social pressures and ostracism for Jesus’s sake.

Dr. João Aquino (Brazil)

Professor, Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie

João earned his PhD in Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (USA). In a context marked by extreme wealth disparities, João's research on how the Gospel applies to poverty equips the Brazilian Church to be grounded in Christ's salvation and in respect for the poor rather than in the prosperity gospel (which often focuses attention only on gaining material wealth). In addition to teaching, he pastors churches and maintains a website for teaching Greek in Portuguese.

Dr. Ernest Nyarko (Ghana)

Professor, Akrofi-Christaller Institute

Ernest completed his PhD in New Testament at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute (Ghana) in 2021. His research helps Ghanaians understand Biblical sexual ethics.

Dr. Gelu Paul Faina (Romania)

Founding Pastor, Vox Domini; Co-Founder, Big Impact; Founder, Estera Foundation

Gelu earned his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (USA). A pastor, theologian, and teacher, Gelu is a founding pastor of Vox Domini, a multi-site Evangelical church in Timişoara, Romania. He co-founded and currently serves as Chairman and Strategic Coordinator for BIG Impact, a network of church-based training centers preparing Christian leaders throughout Romania. Gelu also founded Estera Foundation, a crisis pregnancy center.

Dr. Reeju Tharakan (India)

Professor, Southern Asia Bible College

Reeju earned his PhD in Christian Studies from Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology, and Sciences in India. Pentecostalism has exploded in India, so Reeju's research on the history of Pentecostalism in India helps believers understand their history. He is one of the only faculty members with a PhD in the History of Christianity at SABC.

Identity Protected (Eastern Europe)

Professor of Missiology

This scholar earned a PhD in Intercultural Studies, which seems especially fitting as he has lived in Eastern European countries and now ministers among Muslims. Over 40 different Muslim people groups inhabit Russia, and in one area alone, over 98% of all residents identify as Muslim. This scholar is a Professor of Missiology and leads an organization that mobilizes Gospel workers to reach remote areas of Eastern Europe.

Dr. Wageeh Mikhail (Egypt)

Staff, ScholarLeaders

Wageeh earned his PhD in Arab Christian Theology at the University of Birmingham (UK). He has directed the Center for Middle Eastern Christianity at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC). Founded in 1863, ETSC is one of the oldest seminaries in the Arabic-speaking world and is also a VSI client school. Wageeh now serves with ScholarLeaders.

Dr. Tharwat Nagib (Egypt)

Academic Dean and Professor of Historical Theology, Faith Wesleyan Theological Seminary

Tharwat has served Copts, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Pentecostals. This diverse experience equips him to promote Egyptian Church unity through his research, which links the early church fathers and the modern Pentecostal movement. He earned his PhD in Church History from Regent University in 2019. In addition to teaching, he has pastored churches and written and translated books about the Holy Spirit, personal holiness, and missions.

Dr. Abel Ngarsoulede (Chad)

President, Shalom Evangelical School of Theology

Abel was the first graduate of the PhD program at Faculté de Théologie Évangélique de Bangui (FATEB, a VSI client school) in the Central African Republic. FATEB was the first Evangelical seminary in Francophone Africa to offer a doctorate. After earning his degree in Old Testament, Abel returned to the faculty at Shalom Evangelical School of Theology (ESTES), the only degree-granting Protestant seminary in Chad. Within two years of his return, Abel was appointed President of the school.

Dr. Emad Botros (Egypt/Lebanon)

Professor, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary

Emad lectures in Old Testament and Islamic Studies at ABTS (Lebanon). He earned his PhD in 2020 from McMaster College (Canada). Raised in Egypt, he met his wife, who is from Iraq, when he traveled to study at ABTS. Now, his research and teaching at ABTS contextualize the Old Testament for the Middle East today. In particular, he analyzes how the Book of Jonah can be a resource for new believers.

Dr. Thomas Traoré (Burkina Faso)

Director, Maranatha Institute

Thomas earned his PhD in New Testament from Faculte Libre de Theologie Evangelique de Vaux-sur-Seine (France). Now, as director of the Maranatha Institute in Burkina Faso, he trains the next generation of pastors for the Church and participates in Bible translation.

Dr. Wanjiru Gitau (Kenya)

Research Fellow, University of Southern California

Wanjiru earned her PhD in Intercultural Studies from Africa International University (Kenya). She has taught at Africa International University, Asbury Theological Seminary (USA), Fuller Theological Seminary (USA), and St. Thomas University (USA). Her book, "Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered," won Christianity Today's 2019 Book of the Year Award for Missions/Global Church Building. She also co-authored "The Kingdom of God in Africa: A History of African Christianity" with Mark Shaw (2020).

Dr. Anwar Berhe (Ethiopia)

Professor, Evangelical Theological College

Having grown up Muslim, Anwar first encountered Christ in a dream. In Ethiopia, because of Christianity’s historical dominance, Muslims are a hostile minority, and Anwar’s community immediately rejected him after his conversion. Now, Anwar serves as ETC's first full-time faculty with a PhD in Islamics (from Fuller Theological Seminary, USA). He will help the Church understand how to counteract interfaith tensions and how to reach its neighbors with the Gospel.

Dr. Sofanit Abebe (Ethiopia)

Professor, Ethiopia Graduate School of Theology

Sofanit Abebe completed her dissertation in New Testament from the University of Edinburgh (UK) in 2021. She returned to Ethiopia, where she serves as faculty at Ethiopia Graduate School of Theology. Her research offers a Biblical theology of creation and suffering that helps to address Africa's mounting environmental crisis.

Dr. Sofía Quintanilla (Costa Rica)

Vice Rector, SETECA

Sofía Quintanilla began her career as a journalist. She earned her Master's in Education, a diploma in Bible, an MDiv, and now a PhD in Theology. Upon completing her PhD, she moved to Guatemala to serve as Vice Rector of SETECA, one of Latin America's largest seminaries. Her research challenges the Latin American Church to care for the marginalized.

Dr. Valentin Siniy (Ukraine)

President, Tavriski Christian Institute

Valentin completed his PhD in Theology in 2021. He is president of Tavriski Christian Institute (VSI) in Ukraine. His research develops a Christian definition of community as a sphere in which all individuals play an active role and in which unity and diversity are balanced.

Dr. Alexander Belyaev (Russia)

Professor, Saint Petersburg Christian University

Alexander Belyaev earned a PhD in Religious Studies from Herzen State Pedagogical University in 2022. His dissertation investigates early Christian apocalyptic understandings of Jesus Christ. While conducting his research, Alexander served as Vice Rector of Academic Affairs at Saint Petersburg Christian University (a client of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative); after completion of his PhD, he is Associate Professor in Theology. He ministers at an Evangelical Baptist church.

Dr. Maqsood Kamil (Pakistan)

Vice Principal, Gujranwala Theological Seminary

Gujranwala Theological Seminary trains 80% of church leaders for all major Protestant denominations in Pakistan. In 2019, Maqsood completed his PhD in Islamic Studies at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (UK). His research on Christian-Muslim debates in 19th-century India provide valuable insights for interreligious dialogue in Islamic contexts.

Dr. Golden Muriwo (Zimbabwe)

Academic Dean, Theological College of Zimbabwe

After his PhD in Old Testament from Stellenbosch University (South Africa)(2017), Golden returned to Zimbabwe to work at the Theological College of Zimbabwe as Academic Dean. Golden has seen soldiers shoot children being carried on their mother’s backs during these times of unrest; in response, his teaching and research focus on God's peace. Alongside his wife, Patience, Golden also mentors United Baptist students at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo.

Dr. Eric Sarwar (Pakistan)

Founder, Tehillim School of Church Music & Worship

Eric finished his PhD in Intercultural Studies at Fuller in 2021. A gifted musician and songwriter, he is the Founding President of Tehillim School of Church Music & Worship in Pakistan ("Tehillim" is Hebrew for Psalms). Eric enables the Pakistani Church to worship in its mother tongue by translating and writing worship music (often, Pakistani Christian music has been written and performed by Muslim musicians, who have better training).

Dr. Siew Pik Lim (Malaysia)

President, Alpha Omega International College

Siew Pik earned her PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary (USA) while serving as Academic Dean at Alpha Omega International College (AOIC) in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. A flexible program allowed her to earn her degree via independent study. In 2014, Siew Pik received the annual Leadership Award from Fuller’s School of Intercultural Studies. After her graduation, AOIC appointed her as President.

Dr. Emmanuel Mukeshimana (Rwanda)

Professor, Uganda Christian University

Emmanuel earned his PhD in New Testament at Uganda Christian University, where he now teaches. His research explores Christ’s mission to the poor in the Gospel of Luke in order to construct a Christian model for poverty alleviation in Rwanda. Although the Rwandan economy has improved since the genocide, most Rwandans are poor. His findings will strengthen the Church's ministry and perhaps influence the government. He also serves as an Anglican priest.

Dr. Judy Wang’ombe (Kenya)

Professor, Africa International University

Judy earned her PhD in Islamics from Africa International University, where she now teaches. Her research, which focuses on spirit possession cults, calls the Church to understand the unique needs of the Borana, a marginalized Muslim tribe in northern Kenya. She trains the next generation of Kenyan missionaries and pastors to approach these Muslims with Christlike care and understanding.

Dr. David Muthukumar (India)

Professor, Union Biblical Seminary

David was born to Hindu parents, but when they divorced, he was sent to live with a Christian aunt. Now, as an Indian Christian theologian, David's teaching and research proclaim Christ's uniqueness in a context that values many gods -- yet in a way that invites conversation with non-Christians. He earned his PhD in Systematic Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary (USA) in 2020. Now, he teaches systematic theology at Union Biblical Seminary in Pune, India.

Dr. Prabodith Mihindukulasuriya (Sri Lanka)

Professor, Colombo Theological Seminary

After earning his PhD in Church History from the University of Colombo, Prabo teaches apologetics at CTS. The Sri Lankan Church has often struggled to articulate its faith intellectually, so Prabo's teaching is key to helping believers explain their faith clearly. Further, Sri Lankans often connect Christianity with Western colonialism; Prabo’s research counteracts these stereotypes as it explains how Christian humanitarian organizations campaigned for justice after the 1915 genocide.

Dr. Enoch Okode (Kenya)

Dean of the School of Theology, Scott Christian University

After earning his PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (USA) in 2019, Enoch returned to Kenya, where he now leads Scott Christian University's School of Theology. Growing up in a context marked by suffering, Enoch's teaching and research equip the African Church to respond to suffering with hope rooted Christ's sufficiency. This hope not only encourages individual Christians but also addresses cultural pressures toward superstition and syncretism.

Dr. Emmanuel Ogunyemi (Nigeria)

Founder, Life Builders Ministries

Emmanuel earned his PhD in Educational Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (USA). His research examined the actions of pastors amidst the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria. In addition to teaching at West Africa Theological Seminary in Lagos, Nigeria, Emmanuel founded Life Builders Ministries International to mobilize the Church in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. Life Builders runs a school and medical clinic in Lagos.