The Association for Theological Education in South East Asia (ATESEA) established the South East Asia Graduate School of Theology (SEAGST) in 1966 as part of its faculty development program for its member schools. In cooperation with the member schools of the Association, SEAGST has conducted programs of advanced theological studies and granted the degrees of Master of Theology (M.Theol), Doctor of Pastoral Studies (DPS) and Doctor of Theology (D.Theol).
The success of the SEAGST was based on the ‘cluster system’ where the member schools pooled their resources together, both human and financial to optimize their support for quality standard of theological education. Moreover, the original intention of the SEAGST was and still is to provide a contextualized approach to theological education that is meaningful to Asia and its context.
To date, the SEAGST has produced hundreds of MTheol and DTheol graduates who now occupy important positions of leadership in the seminaries, churches and other church-related institutions in the region.
Currently, due to the increasing number of schools that can offer the M.Theol. program, the ATESEA General Assembly decided in July 2009 to focus the ATESEA’s academic offering mainly on the D.Theol program, under a new name and structure. On September 6, 2009, the ATESEA Executive Committee approved the new name of the school as ATESEA Theological Union (ATU).
The mission of ATU is to enrich the intellectual and spiritual development of Asian theologians, responsive to the emerging opportunities facing the theological schools in Asia and beyond.
Academic Excellence. ATU offers quality theological education for the professional development of teachers for the theology faculties and of leaders for Christian ministry in the church and society, under the supervision of competent professors both within and outside Asia.
Contextually Asian Theology. ATU encourages the construction of contextual and Asia-oriented theology by providing opportunities for research and reflection on the significance of the Christian faith in dialogue with other living faiths, cultures and traditions of Asia and contemporary challenges.
Community and Diversity. ATU provides opportunities for the interchange of the graduate students and faculty members among the different participating Centers for Theological Excellence of ATESEA, thus enhancing regional consciousness and fellowship across the barriers of race and cultures.
The Centers for Theological Excellence of ATU
ATU will administer the D.Theol program in any of the following Centers for Theological Excellence (CTE) recognized by ATESEA:
1. Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (Silang, Cavite, Philippines)
2. Divinity School of Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
3. Divinity School of Silliman University (Dumaguete City, Philippines)
4. Duta Wacana Christian University (Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
5. Lutheran Theological Seminary (Hong Kong)
6. Myanmar Institute of Theology (Insein, Myanmar)
7. Sabah Theological Seminary (Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia)
8. Satya Wacana Christian University (Salatiga, Indonesia)
9. Sekolah Tinggi Teologi Jakarta (Jakarta, Indonesia)
10. Seminari Theoloji Malaysia (Seremban, Malaysia)
11. Tainan Theological College and Seminary (Tainan, Taiwan)
12. Trinity Theological College (Singapore)
The above schools have been selected as the Centers for Theological Excellence in view of the following criteria:
1. Strong program in at least one area or field;
2. Strong in faculty (2 resident professors in the field, 2 from neighbouring seminaries with doctoral degrees);
3. Strong in financial capacity (hosting school provides 35% of the student’s budget; ATESEA – 40%, sending school – 25%),
4. Relevant library resources, and
5. Commitment to participate in the program for at least 5 years, on a renewable basis.