The year 2021 found us yet again needing to adapt our programme due to the uncertainties created by the global pandemic. This meant creating multiple contingency plans, extending registration deadlines until the last possible moment, and taking a hybrid meeting approach, with the final physical locations for Summer ODC 2021 being in Osijek, St. Petersburg, and Almaty, in addition to an online option for those facing travel difficulties.
“The church in Central Asia needs theological, biblical and missiological scholars. ODC is contributing greatly to solve the problem.”
The 2021 Summer Osijek Doctoral Colloquium had 32 participants: 25 students and seven mentors. ODC students came from eleven countries: Belarus, Costa Rica, Croatia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and the USA. This network builds bridges across denominations, countries, ethnicities, and gender. We firmly believe that the boundary-crossing ecumenical friendships created by ODC will have a transformative impact on the region, strengthening the local church and the Church universal and acting as conduits for peace and restorative justice.
“The sessions with mentors were full of benefits. In this time, I could discuss about where I was stuck and mentors gave me very helpful advice, which helped me to advance with writing. Also, the seminars were a great benefit. They helped me to better understand academic work and gave me new opportunities to improve my doctoral thesis. The time for presentations when we discussed about every colleague topic was so helpful. This helped me to think more academic and to discover many new ideas.”
The ODC programme was led by Programme Leaders Peter F. Penner and Anne-Marie Kool, who were responsible for the overall aspects of the program, including the mentoring process. Taylor Denyer served as Programme Coordinator, assisting with database entry, correspondence, report drafting, and various secretarial tasks. Katharina Penner served as Digital Librarian, coordinating the CEEAMSPrints programme and setting up the Moodle learning platform.
“The greatest benefit was feeling part of the academic community. The mentors were simply great, easy approachable and open for offering support. I enjoyed as well the fact that as a first year PhD researcher I got the chance to meet more advanced colleagues and receive know-how from them. The presentations of the mentors were helpful as well. The library and the solar infrastructure in Osijek are great. Good accommodation and good food. I really appreciate the fact that I was alone in the room. I think that that is very much needed when you have to study.”