Why the UofN? University of the Nations

Youth With A Mission

The University of the Nations was born out of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), a highly decentralized international movement of Christians from many denominations dedicated to presenting the person of Jesus Christ to this generation and to training and equipping many believers in that endeavor. As citizens of God’s kingdom, YWAM staff seek to love, worship, and obey their Lord, to love and serve His Body, the Church, and to present the whole gospel for the whole person throughout the whole world.

A statement of belief unites YWAM workers. “We believe that the Bible is God’s inspired and authoritative word revealing that Jesus Christ is God’s Son; that man is created in God’s image; that God created us to have eternal life through Jesus Christ; that although all men have sinned and come short of God’s glory, God has made salvation possible through the death on the Cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ; that repentance, faith, love and obedience are fitting responses to God’s initiative of grace towards us; that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth; and that the Holy Spirit’s power is demonstrated in and through us for the accomplishment of Christ’s last commandment, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.’ ”(Mark 16:15)

University of the Nations: History

Pacific & Asia Christian University (PACU) was founded in 1978 in Kona, Hawaii, USA. It was founded to train students in ministering the love of Christ and teaching others according to the command of Christ to make disciples of all nations, in all spheres of society. A development guide was written to create seven colleges/faculties and several multidisciplinary centres that would develop schools, seminars, and other training modules in these subject areas. A master plan for the campus was prepared by a team of planners and architects who carefully considered the best environment for implementing the founding principles of the university.

Schools were developed rapidly in many nations and on six continents. Many of these schools were linked with PACU. However, the regional and local names no longer reflected the worldwide scope and unity of the various higher education activities. The Board of Regents unanimously adopted the new name, University of the Nations (UofN), at their meeting in 1988. The name change took place officially on June 2, 1989.

The UofN is unique in its international missionary training scope with school locations in 160 nations and at 550 locations on all continents. Because national accrediting agencies have major differences in their systems, the UofN has not, at present, applied for any one nation’s accreditation.

Founding Principles of the University of the Nations

Founded upon biblical principles, the University of the Nations (UofN) fulfills its commitment to Christ and His Great Commission by equipping men and women with spiritual, cultural, intellectual, and professional training, and inspiring them to continually grow in their personal relationship with God while also seeking to make Him known among all peoples in all nations.

Viewing the world as both its classroom and venue for ministry, the University of the Nations is committed to teaching and developing Christian men and women called to “make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19-20). Special priority for service is given to nations, cities, and people groups which have had the least access to the message of the Gospel. An integrated approach to ministry, including evangelism, training, and the meeting of physical needs, is presented biblically and worked out practically.

The University seeks to broaden the scope of evangelistic endeavors by equipping students to serve in all spheres of society, in all nations, in response to Jesus’ declaration that we are the salt and light of the world. Learning to think biblically and discern spiritually, applying scriptural truth to every area of life, prepares students for going to the nations where they are called to serve.

The UofN approach to education is based on 2 Peter 1:5-8, which urges development of godly qualities, adding to faith: moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. This character development is an integral part of the curriculum and is imparted through lectures, learning assignments, interpersonal relationships, and daily life, throughout the entire University of the Nations experience.

While committed to educational excellence, the UofN achieves its goals through an emphasis on knowing and loving God and seeking His revelation and guidance. Students in every course participate in regular times of intercession and worship. God’s ways are lived out in student and staff relationships through forgiveness, openness, repentance, honouring the gifts and abilities of each person, unity, teamwork, hospitality, servant leadership and loving one another as commanded by Jesus.

Each course in every College of the UofN is a “multiplier for missions,” serving to increase the workers, resources, and ministries for the mission field. International in scope, the courses provide cross-cultural training related to the specific educational content, and are designed to be applicable in real-life situations. Field assignments with cross-cultural experiences for every student are a fundamental feature of the University training programmes.

Educational Strategy

The University of the Nations takes a global, cross-cultural, and flexible training approach. Approximately 17,500 students a year take one or more registered courses in over 97 languages at more than 550 locations on all continents. Our training combines elements of both formal and non-formal education, with a commitment to worshiping God in spirit and truth, making room for that expression in all that we do.

Universities first began as ministries of the Church, training leaders for the Church and society. In a similar way, the UofN seeks to train leaders from around the world who are called to the nations, whether they serve in the domain of the Church or in other domains of society. Whatever the context, the common goal of obedience to Christ’s commission to go and make disciples of all nations is the prime motivating factor in developing training in the form of seminars, courses, and conferences. Some of the key strategies employed towards reaching that goal are described below.

Learning by Doing

Intensive educational programmes, which require cooperation and sharing among the participants followed by the immediate field application of principles learned, is the essence of learning by doing. These programmes, as part of the overall educational strategy, are implemented in many nations.

Live-Learn Education

The live-learn philosophy is based on the idea of establishing a community where students, staff, and teachers live, eat, and study in close proximity for maximized learning opportunities. Jesus did this with the twelve disciples. Similar biblical examples occur in the schools of the prophets in the Old Testament and in Acts 19. These schools established a community of common values, in which “students” and “teachers” learned together and began to reach out to others to bring change in both individuals and societies.

We believe that learning takes place best in the context of relationships. The strong emphasis placed on building relationships among students and staff provides a secure atmosphere that optimizes the learning experience. Informal education occurs through the in-depth relationships developed in a live-learn environment. Non-formal education takes place in many ways, but it is most apparent when students are on field assignments or internships and face tough, real-life challenges. Formal education, with systematic development of concepts and presentation of information, typically occurs in the classroom, or with a tutor, or on the field. In all of these contexts students are encouraged to seek revelation, guidance and inspiration from the Holy Spirit.

The UofN live-learn concept is a community learning experience. It is based on the scriptural principle of a body of believers who are one in spirit and working together as a team toward the same objectives. For this reason, teamwork is emphasized at the UofN. Students are often taught to work in teams, such as medical or counseling teams, production and research teams, or traveling performing arts troupes. Teamwork implies a sharing of resources, ideas, talents and a working together in unity. The great variety of course-related activities provides a rich opportunity for relationships to grow among the students and staff.

Modular Education

The University of the Nations has developed a modular approach to education, which allows students to concentrate on only one course for an entire term. The modular system enhances learning by providing students with intensive and focused time on each topic. Typically, visiting teachers spend a full week or two on their area of expertise, which allows the students to focus upon and absorb one subject at a time.The concentrated study in one subject area during a twelve-week term prepares the student to work effectively in a subsequent field assignment following the lecture phase.

Another benefit of the modular system is the mobility it allows the students and faculty. For example, a communication student may take an introductory communication course and a photography course at one UofN campus, followed by a photography internship on the mission field. Then he or she may choose to take video and graphics courses at UofN locations in other countries. The student will not only acquire academic training, but also will gain the invaluable opportunity to live in the context of various cultures. These experiences impart a broader understanding of the world and how the student’s gifts and knowledge could best be applied to the needs in different nations. The mobility of UofN students also permits friendships among people of different nationalities, creating networks of international exchange.

The modular system allows for a different learning strategy. General principles across a whole subject area can be laid out first. Specific details are then introduced as needed to build a working knowledge and ability in the subject area. Thus the student moves “down” into more and more details as they are needed, but these are always in the context of the objectives and applications. This learning strategy has proven to be highly motivational for students because they relate the basic information to the overall purposes for attending the course.

Although the UofN modular system is less common, it can be correlated to other university systems. Comparing this innovative modular system with a traditional university programme, one modular course or term at the UofN is equivalent to three or four university courses in one subject area. Each full week of work in a course at the UofN can earn one credit upon satisfactory completion. A full 12-week term or course module equates to 12 credits. For example, a full 12-credit UofN modular course is equivalent to twelve “semester-equivalent” or sixteen “quarter-equivalent” credits in the USA university system. Sequences of modules can lead to various degrees at the Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s level.

We believe that modular education is ideally suited to implement the founding principles of the UofN.

The modules are designed to be:

  • God-centered: placing each subject in the context of, “In the beginning, God...”
  • Filled with the excitement of learning who God is, what He has done, and what He can do through us
  • Planned to integrate scriptural truths with academic subjects
  • Designed to cultivate natural potential, abilities, and spiritual attitudes that help the student respond to God’s call on his or her life
  • Open-ended, so that the creative dynamic of the Living God can be continually incorporated into the academic programmes
  • International in scope, viewpoint and applications

Resident and Resource Teachers

Because of the modular system, students benefit from the knowledge and skills of resident as well as visiting resource teachers whose values are congruent with those of the UofN and YWAM. Resource teachers come for one or more weeks to teach in their area of expertise. Some hold teaching positions at other colleges or universities, while some are authors, pastors, missionaries, scientists or other professionals. Known nationally or internationally for their competency in an area of subject matter, these resource teachers bring richness and diversity to campus life. With the inclusion of resource teachers, the quality of the course is not dependent on one teacher, but on many specialized teachers. In addition, the visiting teachers are available for private consultation in areas of particular interest to individual students.

School Leaders and Staff

The UofN’s modular schools are coordinated by school leaders and their staff, who are full-time volunteers with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). The school leaders facilitate the visiting resource teachers, often teach part of the course themselves, and work intensively with school staff to train them to be leaders themselves. They not only bring continuity and integration to the course, but also they strive to bring a high level of unity and interaction among the students. The staff coordinate extracurricular activities for the students, meet one-on-one with each student, and assign and evaluate learning experiences, and are available for consultation outside of class hours.

UofN Instructors

UofN instructors are resident teachers of a UofN campus or YWAM school. Some live at the location where the course is taught; others come from various locations around the world to teach for one to two weeks at a time. Many are internationally recognized teachers who often teach at various UofN locations, other institutions of learning, and at Christian gatherings.

Multi-Cultural and Cross-Cultural

A key characteristic of both UofN courses and UofN staff and leaders is the multi-cultural representation in the students and in the staff and leaders. The UofN not only values every person from every culture as created in the image of God, but also recognizes that each cultural grouping brings to the table unique gifts and expressions of the nature and character of God. Because of this core belief in the value and significance of the contributions from every culture, the UofN strives to not only keep the doors open to all cultures from all nations, but also to seek out and enroll students from every nation. Many courses are bi-lingual. Evidence of this value being worked out is seen in the reality of the mix of nations and cultures represented in the University of the Nations International.

Intercession and Worship

The UofN gives prominent place to intercession and worship as central to all that we do, both in and outside the classroom. Acknowledging God as the source of all wisdom and knowledge, we seek His revelation concerning all matters of life, expecting His guidance and direction in everything from course development to individual times with students.

Multiplier for Missions

As a “multiplier for missions” each UofN course, seminar and field assignment is intentionally designed to increase workers, resources, and ministries for the mission field. One of the University’s distinctives is the close link between classroom training and on-the-field practical application. This University both equips for and does missions in the context of the training programmes. Any student who receives a degree from the University of the Nations will have already participated in numerous mission endeavors. Taking seriously the teaching component of the Great Commission, we seek to train teachers who will go to the nations through the various areas represented by the Colleges/Faculties (Education, Health Care, Science and Technology, etc.). Learning the skills in these professions in the context of a biblical worldview becomes the means to the end of teaching the nations, applying biblical principles to all areas of life from economics and education to church life and conduct.

Board of Regents

The UofN Board of Regents consists of the international and regional coordinators of YWAM global ministries and networks. This Board has the responsibility to ensure that the University adheres to its founding principles and maintains the Christian values which characterize YWAM.

Chairman: David Cole

Advisory Board

University of the Nations Advisory Board

The UofN Advisory Board members provide the University with valuable information and counsel.Their experience and influential roles in society as well as their deep interest in the UofN vision and founding principles combine to give the UofN up-to-the-minute insight into the influences which are shaping the world. The members are from many nations and serve society through major roles in business, government, technology, law, banking and church leadership. They serve the UofN generously by sharing wisdom gained through decades of experience.

Advisory Board Members

Joseph Affholter, USA

David Aikman, USA

Mark Anderson, USA

David Ash, Canada

John Badoux, Switzerland

Jonathan Batt, USA

Thomas Bloomer, Switzerland

Larry Breitkreutz, Canada

Daniel Choi, Canada

Kun Mo Chung, South Korea

Chris Crane, USA

Darlene Cunningham, USA

David Cunningham, USA

Loren Cunningham, USA

John De Vries, Canada

Doug Fears, USA

Mike Gallagher, USA

Michael Green, UK

David Hamilton, USA

Gilman A. Hill, USA

Barry Hon, USA

Nabil Iskander, Egypt

Hal Kepner, USA

David Lindsey, USA

Jim Manthei, USA

David Matsuura, USA

Greg Newman, USA

Robert Norsworthy, USA

Bob Perry, USA

Wes Reinheller, Canada

Eric Russell, USA

Friedrich Schock, Germany

Markus Steffen, Switzerland

Wee Sung Tang, Singapore

Jorma K. Virtanen, Finland

Dan Wiebe, Canada

Chong Ho Won, USA


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