23 years of South-North partnership within theological education


south-north partnership
sustainable leadership
diversification gap
credibility gap
intercultural partnership

How to Cite

Winter, M., & Kessler, V. (2023). 23 years of South-North partnership within theological education. Scandinavian Journal for Leadership and Theology, 10, 262–276. https://doi.org/10.53311/sjlt.v10.79


In our globalized world, cross-cultural and inter-continental partnerships are becoming the norm, making bridge-building an essential element for achieving long-term success. We use the cooperation of over 20 years between Unisa, South Africa, and GBFE, Northern Europe, as a case study. GBFE is a network of thirteen colleges within Europe. This cooperation is unique because the stronger partner is from South Africa. This reverse asymmetry is in some sense post-colonial. In this paper, we analyze the question: “What are the benefits and the challenges of a South-North cooperation within theological education? Where is bridge-building essential for the long-term success of the partnership and what can be learned for other partnerships in reflecting on the bridges that were built in this example?” For analyzing this partnership, we make use of the metaphors of “bridge-building” and “swinging bridges”: Firstly, a swinging bridge between South Africa and Northern Europe; secondly, bridge-building between theory and practice, between academia and church; thirdly, bridge-building between different denominations and traditions. The case study is embedded into a general discussion about decolonization and the globalization of theological education.



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