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Columbia Theological Seminary professors invited to conference in Rwanda

Dr. Tim Hartman and Dr. Ralph Watkins to participate in the Rwanda Peace and Justice Conference July 25-28

by Columbia Theological Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Dr. Ralph Watkins

DECATUR, Georgia — Two Columbia Theological Seminary professors have been invited to participate in an important peace and justice conference in East Africa later this month.

Dr. Tim Hartman and Dr. Ralph Watkins will be attending the Listening and Leading: The Art and Science of Peace, Resilience, and Transformational Justice Conference in the Republic of Rwanda July 25-28.

Organized by the Aegis Trust, the conference will include internationally known scholars, peace practitioners, educators, policymakers, and community builders committed to reconciliation, forgiveness, peace, and transformational justice as a path to a resilient and just tomorrow. They will look to deepen their knowledge of the art and science of peace and mark the 30-year date since the genocide against the Tutsi and the country’s emergence from devastation to be a global leader on peace and reconciliation.

Hartman and Watkins will be part of a group of 20 North American clergy and theological leaders recruited to be part of this important gathering.

Dr. Tim Hartman

Hartman is an Associate Professor of Theology at Columbia Seminary, where he has been since 2014. He is the author of two books: “Theology After Colonization: Kwame Bediako, Karl Barth, and the Future of Theological Reflection” (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) and “Kwame Bediako: African Theology for a World Christianity” (Fortress Press, 2022/Langham Publications, 2021), and has published articles in Modern Theology, Black Theology, and Cross Currents. He is an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and served in a congregation in Los Angeles and a new church development in Baltimore. He previously served as the board chair of Emergent Village and of Amahoro Africa. During his yearlong sabbatical funded by a Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant, he served as Visiting Scholar in the Desmond Tutu Center for Religion and Social Justice at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa.

Watkins, the Peachtree Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Columbia is known as “The Scholar with a Camera.” Teaching at Columbia since 2012, he does work at the intersections of spirituality, photography, documentary film and social justice. He is the author of six books, and over 30 chapters and articles. He is a speaker, workshop leader and panelist. His television show, “Talk it Out with Dr. Ralph Basui Watkins,” was one of the top-rated shows on the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting network from 2012-2016.

He is also the producer/director of four feature documentaries: “She is the Pastor” (2012), “Our Journey to Palestine: A Story of the 43rd Delegation of Interfaith Peace Builders (2013),” “Africana Theology and the Roots of Our Faith: A Journey Through Egypt” (2018) and “Seeing the Future of the African American Church in the Rainbow” (2023). He has been awarded a Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant, Collegeville Institute Sabbatical Residency Grant, Governor’s Teaching Fellowship, Lilly Teaching Fellowship, Fulbright Hayes Fellowship for study in Ghana, a Wabash Teaching Fellowship, and various awards and grants to study in Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Ghana.

About Columbia Theological Seminary

Columbia Theological Seminary “exists to educate and nurture faithful, imaginative, and effective leaders for the sake of the Church and the world.” As a diverse, graduate educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia Seminary offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, please visit

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