Categories
Articles

European study tour complements classroom learning for CMU business students

A two-week study tour to Europe provided Redekop School of Business (RSB) students with an opportunity to experience what they have studied in class.

Spending one week each in Western and Eastern Europe, participants learned about Europe’s economic, political, and social integration; met with various business, government and academic institutions; learned about Canada’s role in the global economy; and discovered ways the European Union (E.U.) utilizes its role to foster peace and development across the continent.

Tour participants stand in front of the Eurotower, home of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.
Tour participants stand in front of the Eurotower, home of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.

“The purpose of the tour was to see firsthand the significant changes taking place in Europe, that we discussed in class, and the challenges of integrating 28 countries within the E.U.,” says Jeff Huebner, Associate Professor of International Business. “On a tour like this, students see that the themes, issues, and topics we talk about in class are highly relevant,” he says.

RSB, a program of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), develops the potential of future business leaders to bring together sound business practice with commitments of faith, generosity, and service.

Tour participants included a group of Canadian and international students and a member from the business community in Manitoba. The tour began with a week in Western Europe—visiting Belgium, Germany, and France—founding members of the E.U. The group visited various European institutions including the E.U. Council, Commission, and Parliament in Brussels; met with Canadian trade officials negotiating a new Canada-E.U. trade pact; visited the Frankfurt stock exchange and the European Central Bank; and participated in cultural activities in Paris.

The group also met with Titus Horsch, MEDA Europe Director and his wife Anita, who is a Canadian Mennonite Bible College alumna. Huebner has partnered with MEDA in various areas including on previous study tours to Latin America.

The week in Eastern Europe was spent visiting the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia that have undergone significant changes in transitioning from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) to joining the E.U. a decade ago.

Highlights of this portion of the tour included meetings at the Lithuania parliament to discuss the country’s role in recently leading the E.U. Council presidency; briefings on Latvia’s transition to adopting the Euro currency this year; observing NATO fighter jets flying overhead and pro-Russian protests over the annexation of Crimea; and spending a day with students and faculty at LCC International University, an academic partner institution of CMU.

LCC University was the first English-speaking Christian university established in the FSU. Participants heard about LCC students’ perspectives on life in Eastern Europe and shared about Canadian life and culture.

LCC Group
Tour participants gather with students from LCC University in Klaipėda, Lithuania.

For investor Norm Klippenstein, the visits to LCC University and with Canadian diplomats in Eastern Europe were highlights. Visiting LCC around the time of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, Klippenstein says the conversations with Ukrainian and Russian students at LCC were priceless.

“LCC, with some 600 students, of which 60 and 80 are Ukrainian and Russian students respectively, provides a natural place for dialogue on these important peace issues,” he says. “The Canadian Ambassador’s candid reflections on the region’s history added to our understanding of the challenges the countries face.”

Huebner is working to enhance the international study tours offered by RSB and integrate them into the wider community, including the business community. Tours are offered each year, alternating in focus from business in Europe to economic development and microfinance in Latin America. Financial assistance is available for students through RSB travel grants.

Huebner is passionate about connecting students with real world experiences.

“What I enjoy most is opening the eyes of our students to the wider world that’s out there that has a lot of different needs,” he says. “We can use business in a lot of non-traditional ways such as combining it with development and missions, to make a positive difference in the world.”

The next RSB study tour, looking at microfinance in Central America, is being planned for spring 2015. If you are interested in participating, contact Jeff Huebner for more information.

 

Categories
General News

CMU students travel to Latin American to research microfinance

Students from CMU’s Redekop School of Business (RSB) have just returned home from the first RSB study tour to Latin America.

From April 29 to May 13, six students and a supervising professor traveled to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic to explore how microfinance—providing small loans and financial services to the economically poor—is being used to fight poverty.

“It’s exciting to see the students experience first-hand how their business skills can be used overseas in non-traditional ways,” says Jeff Huebner, Associate Professor of International Business who led the tour.

RSB business students Lauren Cassie and Joni Sawatzky with a MiCredito loan client

Before leaving Winnipeg, the students spent four months studying microfinance and writing research consulting reports for two partner organizations operating in Latin America, MEDA/MiCredito and HOPE International.

 They presented their research to the staff of these organizations, visited microenterprise clients and loan group meetings, and learned about the challenges and opportunities of doing business and development abroad.

“Textbooks just don’t convey stories as well as standing face-to-face with actual people in the story,” says Lauren Cassie, a fourth-year business major from Lorette, Manitoba.

For Cassie, a highlight of the study tour was making the connection between her classroom learning and the outside world.

“Visiting with individual clients and hearing how they had been personally impacted by the microfinance loans was awesome.”

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) is one of the organizations RSB has partnered with, through their affiliate MiCredito in Nicaragua.

“We’re delighted to see some of today’s best and brightest young people get a firsthand exposure to a microfinance institution in action,” says Bob Kroeker, MEDA regional director of resource development.

“This gives us a chance to introduce a new generation to the impact of creating business solutions to poverty.”

RSB offers study tours annually that are open to students, CMU alumni and supporters. Next year’s study tour will be to Europe in May 2014, with the theme of Business in the European Union.

IMG_2848
Janessa Klassen, Jeff Huebner, MiCredito loan client with his family, Rony Doerksen, and Ethan Heidebrecht in Nicaragua
Categories
Faculty - Gordon Matties

Announcing the 2014 Tour! April 28 to May 19.

The itinerary for the 2014 tour is almost ready to be posted. We’ll be visiting more sites in the West Bank/Palestine, including biblical Shechem (modern Nablus), Sebaste (capital city of ancient kings Omri and Ahab), Jacob’s well, among others. Click on the link on the right side of the page to go to the tour website or to view last year’s itinerary. Faith Today magazine did an interview with me about the tour. It turns out to be a fine advocacy piece for why people should consider taking an “academic” study tour led by a professor rather than a generic tour. One good reason: someone I know is leaving today for a tour to Israel, and is not visiting the Palestinian territories at all. Not even Bethlehem. I find it odd that a Christian group would not visit Bethlehem or any other sites in Palestine. To read the article click here: Faith Today.

Photo: Gordon Matties. A window in the staircase at the Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth.

Article source: http://cmustudytour.blogspot.com/2013/05/announcing-2014-tour-april-28-to-may-19.html

Categories
General News News Releases

CMU Professor Leads 2012 Study Tour to UK

February 27, 2012 – Irma Fast Dueck and Students to Explore Contemporary Edge of Christian Ministry – “What does Christianity look like ‘deep down on the edge’ of today’s contemporary society?  How are innovative ministries reaching out to people in modern society? On CMU’s Deep Down on the Edge Study Tour, participants are given the chance to explore these questions while discovering the fierce physical landscape of the isle of Iona, visiting urban ministries in Glasgow and London, and attending the 37-year-old Christian arts festival in Cheltenham, England. 

“The Deep Down on the Edge Study Tour will explore Christianity on the edge, both physically and spiritually,” says CMU Professor of Practical Theology and tour organizer Irma Fast Dueck.

The United Kingdom study tour runs from August 24 to September 8, 2012. Open to undergraduate students, graduate students, and auditing participants, the study tour will explore wild physical, social, and theological Christian landscapes in Great Britain.

“Innovative ministries in Great Britain continue to flourish on the margins of the mainline church – on the Isle of Iona through the work of the Iona community, through urban ministries in Glasgow and London, and through the Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival,” notes Fast Dueck. “When I attended the Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival, there were thousands of Christians there,” she says.  “It was great to see so many people from different faith groups and cultural backgrounds who were committed to peace and justice and communicating the Christian faith.”

The study tour begins at the Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival in Cheltenham. The Greenbelt festival hosts a rich programme of music, visual and performing arts, comedy, and discussions on spirituality.

“I don’t think students at CMU will have experienced anything like this in North America,” says Fast Dueck. “The festival explores Christian faith and life in fresh and creative ways, through speakers, music, and art, pushing at the edge of what might considered ‘mainstream.’”  

After Cheltenham, the tour group will examine the theme “deep down on the edge” in the urban settings of London and Glasgow, exploring ministries that are on the fringe of the mainstream church and society. 

The tour will end on the Isle of Iona in Scotland, a fierce physical landscape where the line separating the material from the spiritual is described as being “tissue paper thin.”

On the Isle of Iona, students will be given an opportunity to explore Celtic Christianity, a faith hammered out on the margins of Britain and Europe and on the edges of Christendom.

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university offering undergraduate degrees in the arts and sciences, business, communications and media, peace and conflict resolution studies, music, music therapy, theology, and church ministries, as well as graduate degrees in Theological Studies and Christian ministry. Located in Manitoba, CMU has approximately 1,700 students at its Shaftesbury Campus in Southwest Winnipeg, Menno Simons College in downtown Winnipeg, and through its  Outtatown discipleship program. CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).  

For tour information, contact: Professor Irma Fast Dueck ifdueck@cmu.ca

Categories
Faculty - Gordon Matties

Announcing Next Tour April 30-May 21, 2012


I am beginning to plan the itinerary for my seventh study tour. I love leading these tours and experiencing the delight of tour participants as they encounter the people and places of  Israel and Palestine, and immerse themselves at the same time in biblical texts and ancient sites.

I do my best to plan a tour in which participants meet the people of the land and learn to appreciate the contours of Middle Eastern landscapes.

Stay tuned for a link to next year’s itinerary. Until then, have a look at last year’s tour website at the link to the right of this post. Please contact me if you have an interest in joining a Christian tour like this one. You’ll find my contact information on the tour website.

In various posts from now on I’ll be presenting some of my favourite photos. The one at the top of this post is a collection of hand-blown glass from a glass factory in Hebron. This stop is well off the beaten path–a shop that doesn’t get many tourist buses passing by. Hebron, of course, is rarely visited by tourist groups. Yet it has the famous ancestral burial site, the Cave of Machpelah (Genesis 23), where we also find the best example of Herodian architecture in the whole land.



Do consider joining me as we head off the beaten path now and then.

Article source: http://cmustudytour.blogspot.com/2011/02/announcing-next-tour-april-26-may-17.html

Categories
Blogs Faculty - Gordon Matties

Announcing Next Tour April 26-May 17, 2012


I am beginning to plan the itinerary for my seventh study tour. I love leading these tours and experiencing the delight of tour participants as they encounter the people and places of  Israel and Palestine, and immerse themselves at the same time in biblical texts and ancient sites.

I do my best to plan a tour in which participants meet the people of the land and learn to appreciate the contours of Middle Eastern landscapes.

Stay tuned for a link to next year’s itinerary. Until then, have a look at last year’s tour website at the link to the right of this post. Please contact me if you have an interest in joining a Christian tour like this one. You’ll find my contact information on the tour website.

In various posts from now on I’ll be presenting some of my favourite photos. The one at the top of this post is a collection of hand-blown glass from a glass factory in Hebron. This stop is well off the beaten path–a shop that doesn’t get many tourist buses passing by. Hebron, of course, is rarely visited by tourist groups. Yet it has the famous ancestral burial site, the Cave of Machpelah (Genesis 23), where we also find the best example of Herodian architecture in the whole land.



Do consider joining me as we head off the beaten path now and then.

Article source: http://cmustudytour.blogspot.com/2011/02/announcing-next-tour-april-26-may-17.html

Categories
Blogs Faculty - Gordon Matties

Biblical Archaeology Review

In 1978 I participated in an archaeological dig at Lachish. The site is mentioned in only 22 verses in the Bible. Yet it is one of the most important archaeological sites for understanding ancient Israelite history in relation to the imperial powers seeking to dominate the region at the time.

For me, archaeological sites are not simply “ancient stones.” They are storied places. People lived in these sites, worshiped their gods, raised families, and much more. Each site is alive with memory.

One of the ways tour members can prepare for a tour is to acquaint themselves with some of the ancient sites. Biblical Archaeology Review‘s website is a good place to visit now and then. There’s a wealth of information available there, even without subscribing to the magazine.

Here are a few examples. On this tour we will be visiting the Shrine of the Book (at the Israel Museum) as well as the ancient site of Qumran, where those scrolls were discovered. The scrolls have been in the news recently, as Jordan has asked Canada to return those scrolls currently on display in Toronto to Jordanian control. The News section of the website provides a link to the CBC news report on this item. Even more, BAR’s website includes a special section called “The Dead Sea Scrolls and Why They Matter.” BAR tends to be a bit controversial at times. But that’s part of the fun of archaeology, which is a cross between science, detective work, and creative imagination.

While I was working on the archaeological dig at Lachish, Gabriel Barkay was the junior archaeologist on the site, working under the supervision of now retired archaeologist David Ussishkin. On the BAR site I found an audio lecture by Barkay on “Ten Key Points on Authenticity of Artefacts.” Parts of this lecture may not make sense unless you’ve had a little experience with archaeology, but it is interesting nonetheless!

Do enjoy exploring BAR’s website. You might even want to download a free e-book. Excellent options might be “Israel: An Archaeological Journey,” or “The Dead Sea Scrolls: What They Really Say.”

Article source: http://cmustudytour.blogspot.com/2010/01/biblical-archaeology-review.html

Categories
Blogs Faculty - Gordon Matties

City of David: Archaeology is Political

The tires were slashed and windows smashed in the small Suzuki four wheel drive vehicle we were driving. I was with an Italian friend of mine. It was his car. It had blue West Bank license plates, so we thought we would be fine. But we looked like strangers, and therefore suspicious. Silwan was still “hot” in 1991, just after the first intifada. And it remains a contested area today. The major archaeological sites there (the City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and the Pool of Siloam) are situated at the centre of a heated controversy. Visitors with eyes wide open discover very quickly that archaeology is political. But most of the 500,000 annual visitors to the site don’t get it.

Silwan has long been an Arab village on the hill just south of the Old City of Jerusalem, within spitting distance of the Temple Mount area, or the Haram es Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). The area has been continuously inhabited (more or less) for 5000 years. After all, who wouldn’t want to live on a hill near a year-round spring? Among the earliest inhabitants of the area were Jebusites, who, according to the books of Joshua and Judges, could not be conquered (Josh 15:63; Judg 1:21). Hundreds of years later, the city became King David’s capital, according to the story in 2 Samuel 5. But even then, the Jebusites continued to live alongside of the first Israelite population in Jerusalem. In the late 19th century the City of David area became a settlement for Yemenite Jewish immigrants. Although Jews and Arabs have lived in the area off and on over the centuries, in recent decades archaeology has been drawn into the conflict.

There are two organizations, both interested in archaeology, that are telling the story of Silwan. One of these writes on its website: “Buried under the village lands, 5000 years of history bind the stories of ancient nations and rulers with the present life of the local residents. Dozens of excavated archaeological strata tell the complex multi-cultural saga of Jerusalem.

We, a group of archaeologists and residents of Silwan, invite you to hear the story of ancient Jerusalem and of life in the village today. Our tour sheds light on the role of archaeology in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in the discourse of the future of Jerusalem. We will offer a different perspective: archaeology without an ownership, one that bridges between periods, cultures and nations; archaeology which involves the local residents and examines the past as a shared asset regardless of religion or nationality.

We believe that archaeology in Silwan/”City of David” has the power to change the dynamics of the conflict and promote tolerance and respect for other cultures, past and present, for a better future for both the local residents and the whole region.”

Browse through the alt-arch.org website for treasures like these: a history timeline, survey of excavations in Silwan (all of which will be relevant for our visit), principles of a peaceable archaeology, and much more. There is a very fine short essay on the Yemenite Jewish settlement in the late 19th century, and another on the current Jewish settlement in Silwan. These two pieces are must reading prior to a visit to the City of David. Of course all tellings of the story are selective, as this piece at the Jewish Virtual Library website illustrates. The story is accurate, but incomplete. The Wikipedia article on Silwan seems to present a broader perspective.

The problem, as those essays point out, is that the City of David archaeological site has become attached to a partisan agenda. I won’t say more here. You can read the articles. Or, read the articles listed at the bottom of the Wikipedia page on Albert Glock, an archaeologist who was murdered on January 19, 1992 in Palestine. I attended his funeral.

Elad, the organization that now runs the City of David archaeological park, has created an wonderful website about the City of David excavations. The home page includes a slide show with uplifting accompanying music. Pick your language and enter an educational smorgasbord of interactive maps, virtual tours, a 360 degree interactive panoramic photograph (read the instructions first), etc. Don’t miss any portion of this website. There are menus across the top and bottom of the page. Because it’s such a rich page, may take a while to load.

For more on the City of David, see Bible Places, and the Israeli Foreign Ministry Archaeology page.

This hasn’t been a long blog post, but the content of the websites toward which I’ve directed you should keep you busy for a few hours. I am looking forward to another visit to Silwan and the City of David this spring!

Article source: http://cmustudytour.blogspot.com/2010/01/city-of-david-archaeology-is-political.html

Categories
Faculty - Gordon Matties

Church of the Nativity

What I like most about visiting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is not seeing “the star” in the floor of the grotto that supposedly “marks the spot” where Jesus was born. It’s being in a place where followers of Jesus have worshiped and commemorated the nativity since the second century.

The pillars in the photo at the left are mostly from the original fourth century church (Photo Creative Commons License Christopher Chan). To read about the church, have a look at the Sacred Destinations website. Here’s a sample:

“In 326, Constantine and his mother St. Helena commisioned a church to be built over the cave. This first church, dedicated on May 31, 339, had an octagonal floor plan and was placed directly above the cave. In the center, a 4-meter-wide hole surrounded by a railing provided a view of the cave. Portions of the floor mosaic (my photo below) survive from this period. St. Jerome lived and worked in Bethlehem from 384 AD, and he was buried in a cave beneath the Church of the Nativity.

The Constantinian church was destroyed by Justinian in 530 AD, who built the much larger church that remains today. The Persians spared it during their invasion in 614 AD because, according to legend, they were impressed by a representation of the Magi — fellow Persians — that decorated the building. This was quoted at a 9th-century synod in Jerusalem to show the utility of religious images.

Muslims prevented the application of Hakim’s decree (1009) ordering the destruction of Christian monuments because, since the time of Omar (639), they had been permitted to use the south transept for worship.

The Crusaders took Jerusalem on 6 June 1009. Baldwin I and II were crowned there, and in an impressive display of tolerance the Franks and Byzantines cooperated in fully redecorating the interior (1165-69). A Greek inscription in the north transept records this event.”

To read more about the Church of the Nativity, CLICK HERE. See also the Photo Gallery at the Sacred Destinations website.

Article source: http://cmustudytour.blogspot.com/2009/12/church-of-nativity.html

Categories
Faculty - Gordon Matties

NOVA: The Bible’s Buried Secrets


Every tour group to the Holy Land, unless it is a short ten day tour, runs the risk of experiencing archaeological site fatigue. My guide, Khalil, happens to love ancient water systems. After the sixth or so water system some of us began to tease Khalil. Over the days, however, we discovered, in spite of ourselves, that we had gained an insight into life in ancient Israel/Canaan. Water is a precious resource that must be protected. I am tempted to digress by mentioning why water continues to be a contested resource in Israel Palestine. But more on that in another blog.

For now, let me say that archaeological site fatigue can be remedied in two ways. One depends on the guide, who should be able to bring the site to life by telling stories that link the site to the biblical and historical record. A second depends on the tour participant. I suggest prospective tour participants do some reading and viewing to discover what archaeology contributes to our understanding of the ancient world, and of the biblical text.

For a very fine exploration of that topic, one can hardly do better than to watch NOVA’s (PBS television) “The Bible’s Buried Secrets.” That web page offers a variety of interactive pieces, including short articles, timelines, and videos on interesting topics like “Moses and the Exodus,” “The Palace of David,” “Archaeology of the Hebrew Bible,” and more. Every one of the links on this page is worth having a look at.

NOVA’s must-see two hour television program has been divided into 13 chapters, each of which can be viewed separately. If that link doesn’t allow you to view the videos, you can watch it by CLICKING HERE. When one episode is done, click “next” at the top left of the screen.

Becoming informed about archaeology will provide you with a few resources that allow you to be able to ask the right kinds of questions on the site, and to understand better why the “ancient stones” are relevant to a tour like this.

Article source: http://cmustudytour.blogspot.com/2009/12/nova-bibles-buried-secrets.html