Ecumenical Institute at Bossey

The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey is the international centre for encounter, dialogue and formation of the World Council of Churches. Founded in 1946, the Institute brings together people from diverse churches, cultures and backgrounds for ecumenical learning, academic study and personal exchange.

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New accreditation agreement announced for Ecumenical Institute at Bossey

New accreditation agreement announced for Ecumenical Institute at Bossey

From left to right: Prof. Dr Andreas Dettwiler, dean of the Autonomous Faculty of Protestant Theology of the University of Geneva, Prof. Dr Jean-Dominique Vassalli, rector of the University of Geneva, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary, and Fr Prof. Ioan Sauca, director of the WCC'€™s Ecumenical Institute at Bossey.

17 February 2011

A groundbreaking agreement was announced Wednesday making all students attending the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Institute at Bossey eligible to receive an accredited certificate from the University of Geneva.

Since 2000, the institute and the university have been working together to find a solution for the growing number of students, particularly from the global South, who come to Bossey from schools that are not internationally accredited so that they can return home with a recognized academic certification for their studies at the Ecumenical Institute.

Praising the new agreement, Andreas Dettwiler, dean of the Autonomous Faculty of Theology at the University of Geneva, quoted the 3rd century Alexandrian philosopher Origen: “Are you on the way? If you are, then you are going in the right direction.”

“Doing theology means always being ‘on the way,’” Dettwiler said. “Religion can be used for better and for worse. Bossey is valuable for its academic rigour and sensitive approach. We both need each other.”

Founded in 1946 to develop leaders for the ecumenical movement, the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey has worked with the University of Geneva through its theology faculty since 1952. Bossey students who qualify have been eligible to receive academic credits from the university.

“Our cooperation with Bossey is among the oldest partnerships we have and is very important to us,” said University of Geneva rector Jean-Dominique Vassalli of the 452-year-old university. “This [agreement] is an extraordinary opportunity for us as we seek to be more international,” he added.

Until this agreement, students registered solely at Bossey for a one-semester programme received only an Ecumenical Institute certificate -- which was valuable within the church and the ecumenical movement but had no academic value.

The two new certificates are a Complementary Certificate in Ecumenical Studies for students from accredited schools and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Ecumenical Studies with continuing education credits for those from non-accredited schools.

The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey continues to offer master’s and doctoral courses in ecumenical studies in cooperation with the university.

In addition to the accreditation, the agreement will help Bossey expand its offerings, said Fr Ioan Sauca, director of the Ecumenical Institute. “Bossey will be able to organize shorter-term programmes on issues that confront our churches and societies today.”

Those courses, developed in partnership with the university’s theology faculty and other institutions with expertise in a certain topic “could be organized either in Bossey or in other parts of the world, as needed,” Sauca said.

Website of the Ecumenical Institute

Free high resolution photos of the signature ceremony available upon request.