The Eurasian Diaspora Study Centre at Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary (UETS) in Kyiv, Ukraine, opened on May 22nd, 2012. Senior bishops of the Evangelical churches, the rectors of theological schools, scholars and representatives of public organizations of Ukraine were in attendance. Dr. Ted Yamamori and Dr. Joy Tira, both representing The Lausanne Movement, were the special guests of the event. During the opening ceremony the participants shared their experiences of ministry in diaspora, and outlined the challenges and opportunities of this ministry.
More than 20 million Ukrainians live outside of their homeland. 7 million of them are migrant workers in 37 countries on all continents. In addition to that, due to its geographical location, Ukraine has become a magnet for immigrants from other countries, making up the numerous Russian, Hungarian, Azerbaijani, Chinese, Korean, and other diaspora groups. Studies show that those who live in diaspora are especially open to the Gospel. However, at the same time, the diaspora ministry requires a special approach and trained missionaries.
Establishment of the center is due to a desire to bring the Gospel to people of diaspora. The main objectives of the Center are:
- the study of the problems and opportunities of the Diaspora,
- strategic development of special resources and training programs for Kingdom workers who serve diaspora in Eurasia and beyond,
- motivate and mobilize Eurasian churches to understand diaspora missiology as a new paradigm of doing missions
Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary will serve as a research base for the center. Rev. Ivan Rusyn (Master of Missiology) and Dr. Tatiana Klinchenko (PhD in History) will provide leadership for the center. Dr. Ted Yamamori (Senior Adviser, The Lausanne Movement), Dr. Sadiri ‘Joy’ Tira (Senior Associate for Diasporas, The Lausanne Movement), Dr. Hun Kim (Korean Diaspora Research Centre, Oxford, UK) and Dr. John Stanley (PhD Cand., Asbury Theological Seminary) will serve as visiting faculty for the Center.
The mission of the Eurasian Diaspora Study Center at UETS is in line with the mission of The Lausanne Movement, as well as the Global Diaspora Network.