Center for Public Theology Transforming Hope into Reality

Press Release
12 June 2015

Presbyterian Church Scholar Only Asian Member in Prestigious Global Project

- Tainan Theological College professor chosen to help elite global group improve humanity's quality of life.
- Special focus on human rights, genetic research, the environmental crisis, and political corruption.

Tainan Seminary professor Stephen Lakkis (賴信道教授) has been chosen as the only Asian member of a special international research group focused on improving life around the world. The group is funded by the Templeton Foundation, one of the most important and prestigious sponsors of theological research in the world. The foundation awards the annual Templeton Prize — often described as "the Nobel Prize for theology".

The University of Chicago and Germany's University of Bochum teamed up with the Templeton Foundation to run a global project looking at challenges to the quality of life around the world. The “Enhancing Life” project launched a global search to select the 35 best scholars from around the world to join this exclusive team. The scholars come from a wide range of disciplines: theology and philosophy, the social sciences, and the medical, biological and technological sciences. But despite their different talents and skills, these scholars will focus on a common task: to examine the vulnerability and endangerment of life, and to find ways to protect, enhance and enrich life around the world.

After a rigorous selection process, the results were finally announced in June. Tainan Seminary’s Prof. Lakkis was selected to join this unique group. He was the only scholar to be chosen from across all Asia.

Prof. Lakkis said, "This is an incredible opportunity for Taiwan to be involved in elite, global work to improve the lives and living conditions of so many people around the world."

Prof. Lakkis’s role in the group will be to look at nation-building in developing Asian countries. He and his team will pay special attention to human rights development, human genetic research, the environmental crisis, and the problems of political corruption.

Prof. Lakkis is a Lebanese-Australian, but has lived in Taiwan for almost 8 years. He leads the English Ministry at Taipei’s Suang-lien Presbyterian Church, and teaches at the Tainan Seminary, where he is also director of the Center for Public Theology Taiwan.

More information about the project and the chosen scholars can be found here: