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News from the WFTL/CTSA Liaison

08/25/2023 10:44 AM | Rufus Burnett, Jr.

Hello Members and Friends,
My name is Rufus Burnett, Jr. and I currently serve as a member of the WFTL/CTSA liaison. I am here to update you on some of the developments with the World Forum on Theology and Liberation.

During our time together in Minowaking (Milwaukee) the WFTL International Committee met and decided to join the WSF (World Social Forum) in Kathmandu, Nepal. Soon after that meeting, the Secretariat was notified that the WSF organizers decided to move the forum up by one month. The new dates are the 15th through the 19th of February 2024. This latest date is the second of two changes from summer 2025 to March 2024 and now to February 2024. As detailed in the liaison’s annual report (available here), the WFTL is no longer relying on the WSF to dictate its primary work and is building bridges with and beyond the WSF. The CTSA liaison is one of those bridges.

Over the course of the remainder of this year and next year, I will be posting regularly to inform the CTSA membership of this new chapter in the history of the WFTL as well as details about our participation with in the WSF 2024. One highlight is the WFTL’s new partnership with Palestinian liberation theologians.

On October 28, 2023 the WFTL will host a webinar entitled: “The Current Situation and Challenges for the Palestinian people and Palestinian Liberation Theology.”

The webinar seeks to take up the following question and will feature the panelists below:
What are the more urgent concerns for the Palestinian people in the current time? How do these concerns challenge and enrich theological reflection on liberation?

Mitri Raheb is a prominent figure in Palestinian theology. He founded and is the first president of Dar-al-Kalima University, in Bethlehem. Rev. Raheb served as the pastor of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem from 1987 until 2017. He was elected as the President of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land from 2011-2016. Among his publications: Bethlehem Besieged: Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble (2004). Augsburg Fortress Publishers. Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible through Palestinian Eyes. (2014). The Politics of Persecution: Middle Eastern Christianity in the Age of Empire. (2021).
Varsen Aghabekian, an expert in right-based community practice (RBCP), has been engaged in several NGOs engaged in policy development, on matters of Al-Quds/Jerusalem, education, youth, women and management. She holds a Ph.D. in Administrative & Policy Studies-Education from the University of Pittsburgh/USA (1988) and a M.Sc. in Nursing Management from Indiana University/Purdue University (1983). Among numerous positions, she served as Manager of Capacity and Institution Building at the office of the President (2006-2009) and as the Executive Director of Jerusalem Capital of Arab Culture in 2009. She also was elected the Commissioner General for the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights in January 2016. Among her publications : Palestinian Christians: Emigration, Displacement and Diaspora (2017). Middle Eastern Women: The Intersection of Law, Culture and Religion (2020). The Saga of Survival: Armenian Palestinians, the British Mandate and the Nakba (2023).

Stay tuned for more information on the webinar and a coming opportunity for CTSA members to meet the WFTL Secretariat, the primary coordinating group of the WFTL.


Rufus Burnett
WFTL Liaison



  • 09/05/2023 2:22 PM | Christine Firer Hinze
    Thank you so much, Rufus, for this report, which helps keep us members up to date on the work you are doing to represent and make connections between our Society and the WFTL. I'm learning a lot thanks to your sharing all this! Christine
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