Featured Graduates

Dr. Anwar Berhe (Ethiopia)

PhD in Intercultural Studies – Islamics (2019), Fuller (USA)

Anwar first encountered Christ in a dream. Having grown up as a passionate Muslim, he studied Christianity for several years before he committed himself to Christ. In Ethiopia, because of Christianity’s historical dominance, Muslims are a hostile minority. Anwar’s family and community immediately rejected him after his conversion, though some converted later. Thus, Anwar’s PhD topic – Muslim-Christian relationships – extends his personal experience. His research will help the Church understand how to counteract deep interfaith tensions, how to reach Muslim neighbors with the Gospel, and how to disciple Muslim converts more sensitively. Anwar has returned to Evangelical Theological College (ETC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as ETC’s first full-time faculty with a PhD in Islamics and as the Academic Dean for undergraduate programs. His teaching and research will prepare a new generation of Ethiopian Christians for fruitful relationships with Muslims.

Dr. Tharwat Nagib (Egypt)

PhD in Pentecostal Studies (2019), Regent University (USA)

Tharwat’s story combines several strands of Egyptian Christianity. Growing up Coptic, he spent time in the Methodist church, studied with the Presbyterian Synod of the Nile, and now serves Pentecostals. This diverse experience has equipped him to promote Church unity through his research, which links the early church fathers and the modern Pentecostal movement. He has lectured at Veritas College Seminary, Evangelical Theological Seminary – Cairo, and First Pentecostal Seminary in Cairo, to which he returns as full-time faculty. In addition to teaching, he has pastored churches and written and translated books about the Holy Spirit, personal holiness, and missions. He will encourage Christians to heal from the battered minority syndrome that often marks the Egyptian Church and, as a body united in Christ, to embrace reconciliation and courageous church planting.

Dr. Prabodith Mihindukulasuriya (Sri Lanka)

PhD in Church History (2019), University of Colombo (Sri Lanka)

Before beginning his PhD, Prabo served as Deputy Principal and Professor at Colombo Theological Seminary (CTS) in Sri Lanka. His PhD will further equip him to train pastors in Sinhala-speaking churches to explain the Bible faithfully. He will also teach apologetics to young people so that they can understand and defend their faith. Because the Sri Lankan Church has often struggled to articulate Christianity intellectually, Prabo’s work will be essential to the Church’s maturity. Further, Sri Lankans often connect Christianity with Western colonialism, so Prabo’s dissertation research will counteract these stereotypes as he explains how Christian humanitarian organizations campaigned for justice after the 1915 genocide.

Dr. Judy Wang’ombe (Kenya)

PhD in Intercultural Studies – Islamics (2019), Africa International University (Kenya)

Judy has dedicated her life to the Borana Muslims, who live in a barren region near the Ethiopian-Kenyan border in northern Kenya. As Islam spreads, the Kenyan Church needs to understand how to minister to these neighbors, whom the Church has often left alone out of a sense of inadequacy. Judy’s research, which focuses on spirit possession cults, calls the Church to see this Muslim group as separate from Islamic ideology and to understand their unique spiritual and psychological needs. Before she started her PhD, Judy served the Borana for twenty years as a missionary. With her PhD, she will continue missions work, and she will also train the next generation of Kenyan missionaries and pastors to approach these Muslims with Christlike care and understanding.

More Graduates

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 a small Iranian church in Edinburgh and acts as a consultant to the Lutheran Church in Denmark as they help refugee and migrant converts integrate into local churches.

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. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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 (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. 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. Wageeh Mikhail (Egypt)


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. 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.