Meeting people from all around the world at the GIT gathering gives us a chance to make friends globally. This means that we have a chance to have deep conversations with people from many different countries.
As Cate Burton from New Zealand said, “it provides us an opportunity to have in-depth conversations with people from all over the world about issues that we previously only read or heard about on the news. To meet real people from such places, and hear their stories, is challenging and profound.”
In the class discussions, and gathered around table for coffee and food, we all become aware not only of one another’s culture, but also our own. We learn that for some of us, our country’s history has been one of dominance and oppression.
As Marleen Blootens from the Netherlands commented, “this can be a painful experience.” So, we learn to listen to other people’s story, and realise the painful history that some of our brothers and sisters have gone through at our own privileged expense.
The importance of GIT is not only to listen, though, for we are part of a global body, and like each of our own bodies, we have to move, we have to act. The impact of GIT also teaches and inspires us to move, to be part of a movement to the fullness of life. This is a broad statement, because the fullness of life encompasses everyone and everything. As our time continues, students hope that we learn how to faithfully discern our own call to justice, peace and transformation both locally and globally.
This fourth GIT runs 5-28 July at the Biblical University of Latin America in San José, Costa Rica. The GIT is an intensive short-term academic programme designed to give theological students and faculty from all over the world an opportunity to learn, teach and do theology in an inter-contextual and ecumenical way, situating the theological task in local, regional, and world contexts.
–Joanna Hipp, WCRC intern and student at the GIT