GBHEM Commemorates Three Education Milestones in Argentina

Published On: January 3, 2018
IAMSCU and UCEL board members at the 25th anniversary celebration in Argentina.
IAMSCU and UCEL board members at the 25th anniversary celebration in Argentina.

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) traveled to Argentina to celebrate three milestones within United Methodist global education—the opening of GBHEM’s Regional Hub for Leadership, Education and Development (LEaD Hub) for Latin America and the Caribbean, the 25th anniversary of the University of the Latin American Educational Center (UCEL), and the 2017 board of directors meeting for the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities (IAMSCU).

Regional LEaD Hub

Dr. Cape and Claudia Lombardo Image
(L) Rev. Dr. Kim Cape and Lic. Claudia Lombardo at the opening of the Buenos Aires LEaD Hub.

At GBHEM’s August 2017 board of directors meeting, the agency was approved to launch additional regional hubs for global education. Between 2008 and 2016, GBHEM established five hubs around the globe: Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America. These hubs help GBHEM support leadership, education, and ministry according to the needs of each specific context.

The LEaD Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean was officially opened December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina in conjunction with the regional offices of the General Board of Global Ministries and The Upper Room. The new offices are located in the former home of a historic seminary, ISEDET at Camacua 282. The collaboration from the three agencies, with the Methodist Church in Argentina and other churches and agencies in the Latin America, not only keeps a historic site in use, but it also provides an opportunity for programmatic unity. The staff of Global Ministries, The Upper Room, and GBHEM have been working on a series of innovative programs, including the use of The Upper Room for missionary and educational activities throughout the continent.

“We are extremely fortunate to count on the higher education and ministry expertise and experience of Claudia Lombardo as the executive director of our hub,” said Rev. Dr. Kim Cape, general secretary at GBHEM. “Through its hubs, GBHEM can adapt to changes and implement actions more rapidly, responding with more efficiency to various demands from stakeholders, and creating processes that are more sensitive to contextual differences,” added Amos Nascimento, associate general secretary for Global Education and New Initiatives at GBHEM. “With regional hubs for leadership, education, and development on five continents there is now a decentralized global structure that meets specific education and leadership development needs of the United Methodist Church worldwide.”

UCEL 25th Anniversary

UCEL choir performed at the anniversary celebration and dinner.
UCEL choir performed at the anniversary celebration and dinner.

More than 25 years ago, GBHEM began working around the world to lay the foundation for a global network of schools and institutions providing quality Methodist education. The fruits of the United Methodist Church’s work can be seen in the 25th anniversaries of Africa University, IAMSCU and UCEL and the 20+ Methodist institutions of higher education and 27 theological institutions created in Africa since 1988. UCEL was established in 1870s as an elementary school for children in Rosario, Argentina. Over its nearly 150-year history, the school continued to develop and expand its educational offerings to include high school and college. In 1992, UCEL and GBHEM partnered to help the school establish its present university status.

The university commemorated the occasion with a week of events, culminating with a celebration for the administration, faculty, donors, associations and partners. Members of IAMSCU’s board of directors were also in attendance for the celebration. GBHEM’s former general secretary, Rev. Dr. Roger Ireson, and former associate general secretary for the Division of Higher Education, Dr. Ken Yamada, were an instrumental part of UCEL’s establishment as a university.

Addressing the university community in Spanish, Cape reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to global education, “Cuando un misionero ayudó a fundar el Colegio en Rosario in 1874, nuestra Junta de Educación estaba aquí con ustedes! Cuando el Colegio se transformó Universidad en 1992, GBHEM estaba aquí con ustedes! Cuando IAMSCU tuvo su conferencia en Rosario en 2008, GBHEM estaba aquí con ustedes! Nosotros estamos aquí con ustedes hoy! [Translation: When a missionary helped you to start the college in 1874, our Board of Education was here with you! As the college became a university in 1992, our General Board of Higher Education and Ministry was here with you! As IAMSCU held its conference in Rosario in 2008, GBHEM was here with you! We are here with you today!]”

IAMSCU Board of Directory

Amos Nascimento (GBHEM) visits with children at William Morris School with the IAMSCU Board of Directors.
Amos Nascimento (GBHEM) visits with children at William Morris School with the IAMSCU Board of Directors.

IAMSCU’s board of directors held its annual meeting in Argentina in conjunction with the opening of the Argentina LEaD hub and UCEL anniversary celebration. The meeting was dedicated to review the IAMSCU conference held in Puebla, Mexico, in May 2017 and start planning for the next conference. The 2017 conference theme was “Tearing Down Walls: A Pathway to Peace, Healing, and Humanity.” The IAMSCU Board of Directors will soon issue an official statement on immigration.

The board also discussed the new focus on education at the elementary and high school levels, as well as the university level. This new focus reflects a priority of the GBHEM Board of Directors after its visit to Africa in 2017. “GBHEM recognizes the need to build educational and ethical foundations as early as possible,” explained Cape, giving an example of what she had witnessed at schools like the Nyadire Mission in Zimbabwe, Colegio Ward in Argentina, and the Lydia Patterson Institute in the U.S.

The IAMSCU board had an opportunity to visit two primary and high schools in the area—the Escuela William Morris and Colegio Ward—as well as the headquarters of the Methodist Church of Argentina (Iglesia Evangélica Metodista—IEMA). These schools are shining examples of partnerships with IAMSCU and GBHEM to form generations of thriving, diverse, and passionate Christian leaders by teaching them to be peace-makers as early as possible.  

IAMSCU Board of Directors and Colegio Ward School students.
IAMSCU Board of Directors and Colegio Ward School students.

The IAMSCU meeting included a transition of leadership. With a change in Dr. Marcio de Moraes’ university affiliation (now immediate past president of IAMSCU), the board elected Rev. Dr. Tom Wolfe, president and chief executive officer of Iliff School of Theology, as the new acting president for the organization. Wolfe is a former member of GBHEM’s board of directors, past University Senate president, and was the IAMSCU vice president.

For more information about IAMSCU and GBHEM’s global education initiatives, visit

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.

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