The Logos and Cosmos Initiative builds on the Big Issues in the University Project (2017-18), which aimed to identify big issues that IFES groups were grappling with around the world, and to identify what resources were needed to address them. Regional consultations brought together staff, academics and students from different countries to share and learn about the issues and questions facing Christians in their universities. In the process, participants also learnt how to better integrate their Christian and academic lives and reflected on how to effectively engage the whole university.
In order to help address the issues and opportunities raised by the Big Issues in the University Project, IFES made an application to the John Templeton Foundation (JTF) for funding a project to increase the engagement of the sciences with theology amongst university students. Eventually, funding was received for a five-year project, which began in September 2020, which focuses on mentoring and building the capacity of a new generation of young leaders, called ‘Catalysts’. We have called this the Logos and Cosmos Initiative (LCI).
Initially, the LCI will focus on the IFES regions of Latin America and Francophone Africa. Please pray with us as we see Catalysts take theology and the sciences conversations in directions that are particularly relevant to Majority World contexts.
The executive summary of our grant application to the John Templeton Foundation can be found below.
Executive Summary of the LCI’s grant application to the John Templeton Foundation
Science And Theology Entrepreneur Incubator: increasing engagement of science and theology among university students In Latin America and Francophone Africa
The future of healthy global interactions between the sciences and theology will be influenced by the experiences of students in secular universities. A JTF 2017-2018 planning grant discovered a significant desire in the IFES community for a project focused on the dialogue between the sciences and theology. An additional gift was provided by JTF for a workshop to discuss and redesign this proposal. This project will help answer two big questions: how do the character, content, and approaches to science-theology discussions in the majority world compare to the western world? And what is an effective approach to develop entrepreneurs and enterprises?
We propose a project that engages students, scholars, and IFES staff with theology and science in Francophone Africa and Latin America. Entrepreneurs will be identified in those regions. These Entrepreneurs will be nurtured and developed through an approach that develops knowledge, skills, character and experience. Our aim is to encourage synergy in each region. We anticipate ideas will be shared based on common language, similar cultural contexts, and geographical closeness.
There are two phases to the project: (1) Between 20-40 Entrepreneurs will be selected in Year 1 to enter the program. They will progress along Tiers, with competition and evaluation throughout the process. (2) Successful Entrepreneurs will receive funding at Tier 2, 3, and 4 to implement their projects. Effective projects will be scaled up or adapted to other contexts. Ongoing throughout the project is evaluation and identification of global funding opportunities for JTF and partner organizations. The major impact will be raising up a new generation of leaders who will influence science and theology discussions in the majority world, and establish enterprises that have a lasting impact. This will generate discussions that are contextually relevant and give insights into science and theology discussions for the western world.