16 former scholarship holders from the African and Asian member churches of the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) met in Hattingen from 31 August to 7 September to exchange personal training experiences and to agree on the goals and modalities of future cooperation in an interregional network with the foundation of an international alumni network.
Since the 1980s, UEM has supported around 2,000 students with a scholarship for academic training, for example to become theologians, doctors, translators, financial managers or media specialists. The scholarship holders come mainly from the African and Asian member churches of the international Protestant community. So far only two scholarship holders come from Germany. The academic education takes place only partly in Europe, the students mostly attend colleges and universities in the countries and neighbouring countries of their home churches in Africa and Asia. Many of the scholarship holders at that time are now in leading positions within their church or, as experts, take on socially relevant tasks, for example at institutions of various kinds.
"I was very impressed by the presentations of my alumni colleagues, because at that moment I understood that UEM is doing a fantastic job by providing people with a high-quality education," said the theologian Dr Hoyce Mbowe from Tanzania, who did her doctorate at the University of Bonn with the help of a UEM scholarship.
The former VEM scholarship holder and current internist Dr Loli Simanjuntak from the Protestant Church HKBP in Indonesia, for example, explained the importance of her medical studies at the church hospital in Balige, which were aimed at protecting the people in Toba-Batak country from infection with HIV/AIDS.
The founding members of UEM's new alumni network intend to expand this year with the help of regional contact persons in the countries of the African and Asian member churches. Under the motto "Be blessed to be a blessing", the alumni have committed themselves to initiate fundraising campaigns to support the current scholarship holders.
Rev. Dr Andar Parlindungan is responsible for the scholarship programme of UEM. Further information on the programme can be found here.