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Nature of International Development

The goal of international development is found in the Hebrew concept of shalom—right standing with God, with other humans, and with God’s creation. According to the biblical story, all of these relationships have been corrupted by hideous intentional evil. Believers are responsible to work toward restoring God’s original design for the world and its inhabitants. In Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Bosch, 1991, 400), South African missiologist David Bosch wrote:

Those who know that God will one day wipe away all tears will not accept with resignation the tears of those who suffer and are oppressed now; anyone who knows that one day there will be no more disease can and must actively anticipate the conquest of disease in individuals and society now, and anyone who believes that the enemy of God and humans will be vanquished will already oppose him now in his machinations in family and society.

The roots of human problems lie deep within socio-cultural, socio-economic and political systems, and science and technology systems. WCIU seeks to equip students to understand these systems, to identify the roots of pervasive problems associated with human need (economic, political, cultural, mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual), and to address such problems effectively. Development is a dynamic process of change and growth, and is most effective when generated from within a socio-cultural system. Development that aims at transforming societies provides not only options and resources for physical and social betterment, but also hope and answers for spiritual questions and needs. Only through such development practices can lasting change be achieved.