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Promoting, Partnering, Provoking

The Nagel Institute works to link Christian scholars worldwide

by Phil de Haan ‘84
Spark Spring 2014

Brazil scholars

The logo for the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity is an adinkra symbol from Ghana, one of many such Ghanaian symbols often used on fabric or pottery.

The one chosen by the Nagel Institute, the akoma ntoaso, looks a little like four shovels linked by a circle, but is in fact symbolic of linked hearts.

It represents understanding, agreement, trust and partnership and thus, said Nagel Institute director Joel Carpenter, “is a most fitting emblem for an institute which aims to link Christian scholars worldwide.” adinkra Nagel

Although the elements of the akoma ntoaso are not actually shovels, that metaphor is also apropos for the Nagel Institute, said Carpenter. For eight years now, the institute has been doing yeoman’s work with partners around the globe as it tries to promote a deeper understanding of world Christianity, to partner with Christian scholars and study centers, and to provoke a reorientation of Christian thought in the North Atlantic.

“Our three P’s,” Carpenter said with a low chuckle. “They have been with us since the beginning and they guide us still.”

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