Monday, March 24, 2008

Study Abroad Trip to Italy 2008

The following is a press release from Regent University about the Studies Abroad Trip that I led last year and the the one scheduled for later this summer:

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Regent University's School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship's (GLE) fourth study abroad trip is set for June 20-29. Titled, "In the Footsteps of St. Benedict, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi," the 2008 tour will take participants to Rome, Montecassino and Assisi, Italy for a 10-day period.

In 2007, Dr. CornĂ© Bekker, GLE associate professor, led participants in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul and ministry of St. Francis of Assisi through Rome and Assisi, Italy. According to Bekker, students were given the unique opportunity "to explore the global leadership of the two pivotal figures in the history of Christianity through lectures, visits to archaeological sites and in-depth discussions." "I was intrigued with not just the study of Paul’s leadership during his time in Rome, but especially so, the idea of studying the leadership of both Francis and Clare of Assisi," said Ph.D. student Catherine Self. Whether standing in cathedrals or sitting under trees at various historical sites, participants discussed and explored in great detail the significance of each site as well as the leader-follower relationship and leadership formation and succession in regard to the Apostle Paul and St. Francis of Assisi. Through this opportunity, participants were able to examine principles of effective global leadership from a biblical and theological perspective.

"Reading the Scriptures and church history documents in their original setting and seeing them come alive to the students was very inspiring. It is a most rewarding experience for a professor to see students grow in their understanding and arrive at greater insights on the possibility of Christian leadership that can change the world," stated Bekker. Italy was chosen for the 2007 trip because Sts. Paul and Francis, both known as radical reformers in Christian history, "offer insights into principles and models of authentic and orthodox biblical leadership that changed their world," stated Bekker.

"It is helpful to see these sites when considering how the Apostle Paul and St. Francis of Assisi served God, ministered to others and inspired followers. It adds a fresh perspective for understanding these individuals’ leadership styles," said Louis Morgan, Ph.D. student. While academic credit was available for this trip, some participants chose to take the trip for their own personal growth. In preparation for the 2007 trip, all participants were asked to read prescribed text books on Paul and St. Francis that dealt with the theology, history and leadership of these figures.

"Under the leadership and teaching of Dr. Bekker, the lives of Paul, Francis and Clare became as real to me as the people I encounter today. His understanding of Mediterranean culture and the social, historical and literary influences of the era fleshed out what are otherwise just black letters on the white pages of a book," said Self. "To suggest that God blessed me through this study is an understatement of what was an experience of a lifetime." In addition, she stated that for others who choose to participate in future study abroad trips through GLE, "it is a simple first step of faith that may be the beginning of a life-changing journey."

Registration is now open for the 2008 study abroad trip. Visit for more information and to register for the 2008 tour.