School of Divinity

The Divinity School has embraced the opportunity to serve and learn in Nicaragua through a project developed collaboratively with Nicaragua partners and colleagues in the schools of Law and Medicine.

In March 2010, 12 students and 4 faculty embarked on a "pilot" exploration of this idea that graduate professional students could learn more about themselves, their professional identities, and pressing global issues like poverty and health through immersion with partners serving in Nicaragua. Evaluations of this first experience were positive and encouraging for us to continue. In March 2011, 13 students and 4 faculty will again study, travel, serve, and reflect together on the role of the professions in a global community.

Students do common core readings, as well as readings specific to their disciplines to learn more about the cultural and historical contexts of Nicaragua, as well as issues of globalization, health, poverty, religion, and law. In Nicaragua we work alongside local NGOs and educational institutions, including Project AMOS, Jubilee House Center for Development, Universidad Centroamericana School of Law, as well as human rights and conservation organizations.

Faculty leaders have worked to design the travel and service component as part of courses in their respective schools. For example, medical students go to Nicaragua as part of a rotation exploring global health; divinity students meet a requirement for studying ministry in multicultural contexts; law students have met requirements for a course in law and poverty.

Seminars and readings enable students to explore the ethical commitments at the heart of their chosen profession, as well as to dialogue across professional lines emerging out of these ethical cores.

The role of religion and theology in the history of Nicaragua is rich and complex, both in historical and contemporary contexts. Faith-based organizations like Project AMOS and Jubilee House CDC give theological students exposure to ways that communities with faith commitments can engage complex issues like poverty and health in cultural contexts.