|Illinois college signs pact with university in Liberia|
Bishop John G. Innis (center left) and James Polk sign a
partnership agreement between United Methodist University in Liberia and
Illinois Central College on
June 9. The Rev. Timothy Bias (left) and John Erwin witness the signing.
A UMNS photo by Paul Black.
By Paul Black*
June 17, 2008 | EAST PEORIA, Ill. (UMNS)
An agreement fostering collaboration between an Illinois community
college and the United Methodist University in Monrovia, Liberia, was
consummated June 9 in a signing ceremony.
The partnership between Illinois Central College and United Methodist
University formally "opens the door for student and faculty exchange for
collaboration," said John Erwin, president of Illinois Central College.
Bishop John G. Innis of Liberia, president of the university's board of
trustees, said global education is essential. "Education is redemption
for life," Innis said. "It is the key to meeting world challenges. The
world is for everyone, and it belongs to all of us."
Both Erwin and Innis credited the Rev. Timothy Bias, pastor of Peoria
First United Methodist Church, with bringing the parties together for
formalization of the agreement. Guy Goodman, a member of Peoria First,
accompanied Bias on a trip to Liberia last fall.
"Guy was an emissary for us and in mission for the church," Erwin said.
"A global perspective of education serves as a bridge to cross an ocean
and builds understanding. When students are informed, they are more
competent, and when they are more competent, they are more valuable."
Innis also thanked Bias. "He's a good friend," the bishop said. "He goes
around the world and sees possibilities to be in partnership with one
Bias noted that part of the work of the church is bringing people
together for the transformation of the community and the world. "Many
times, you get involved and you can't see what it is going to look like,
especially in the middle," he said. "One day, you'll look back on this
day and say, 'that's what that was all about.'"
Illinois Central College, based in East Peoria, has 11,000 students with
more than 185 programs of study on three campuses – the main East
Peoria campus, a downtown Peoria campus and a North Peoria campus.
United Methodist University was established in 1998 and serves students
from Liberia, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire. The university includes the
College of Management and Administration; the Gbarnga School of
Theology; the Winifred J. Harley College of Health Services; the College
of Liberal Arts and Fine Arts; and the Joseph Jenkins Roberts College
of Education. It has 1,600 students.
*Black is the director of communications for the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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