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WCC moderator receives honorary doctorate from Norway university

WCC moderator receives honorary doctorate from Norway university

Photo: Peter Williams/WCC

15 December 2017

Dr Agnes Abuom, moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from VID Specialized University, one of Norway’s largest private universities.

Abuom, from the Anglican Church of Kenya, was nominated for her academic achievements with a focus on mission and development work. According to her nominators, “her work also undertakes a practical approach to diaconia and management” and she “has shown how academic knowledge can be translated into practical action with a clear theological and diaconal approach.”

Abuom holds a doctorate with a diaconal perspective, focusing on the role of NGOs in development work. She first studied at the University of Nairobi then, as a result of political persecution, she later travelled to Sweden, where she earned her doctorate at Uppsala University in missiology using the thesis "The Part of nongovernmental Agencies in Advancement".

Abuom was elected unanimously by the WCC 10th Assembly to serve as moderator of the WCC Central Committee. She is the first woman and the first African in the position in WCC’s history.

Abuom has also served on the WCC Executive Committee, representing the Anglican Church of Kenya. She is also a development consultant serving both Kenyan and international organizations coordinating social action programmes for religious and civil society across Africa.

Abuom was the Africa president for the WCC from 1999 to 2006. She has been associated with the All Africa Conference of Churches, National Council of Churches of Kenya and WCC member churches in Africa, as well as Religions for Peace.

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit congratulated Abuom on receiving the honor, noting that she has consistently worked for just peace through challenging crises and conflicts.

Tveit said: “The honorary doctorate awarded to Dr Agnes Abuom is well-deserved recognition of her service for just peace in all her ministry in Africa, as well as for the whole ecumenical community locally and globally. It also shows how significant she has been and still is in combining impressive knowledge, personal experience, a true spirit of diaconia and rare management skills that enable diaconal efforts to be expanded and sustained.”