Martin Accad Lead Faculty / Director of IMES
Martin Accad has been serving as director of the Institute of Middle East Studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary since 2003, having served as well as Academic Dean of ABTS for 5 years between 2004 and 2008. He joined ABTS in 2001 after receiving his DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford for a dissertation on the interpretation of the Gospels by Muslims of the 8th to the 14th centuries. Before that, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon, and an MPhil in Eastern Christian Studies from the University of Oxford.
Accad’s academic career has been influenced from the beginning by current affairs. He defended his doctoral dissertation on September 11, 2001 and found himself immediately thrust into the teaching of Islam for the sake of better Christian-Muslim understanding. In 2006, he was invited by Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena (CA) to take up the faculty position of Islamic Studies.
Accad has published numerous articles and book chapters in the fields of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations, including: “Christian Attitudes toward Islam and Muslims: A Kerygmatic Approach“; “Mission at the Intersection of Religion and Empire”; “Loving Neighbor in Word and Deed: What Jesus Meant”; and “Trinity” in the IVP Dictionary of Mission Theology.
With a rich multicultural background in his own family, a Lebanese father and Swiss mother, Accad views himself as a bridge between cultures: an interpreter of Arab-Middle-Eastern complexities to a western audience, and of western complexities to an Arab audience. He also grew up through the Lebanese Civil War from 1975-1990 and understands the lethal potential of religions on human relationships. But conversely as well, he has experienced and witnessed the redemptive and transformational power of the teaching and model of Jesus of Nazareth both for individuals and communities.
Martin is married to Nadia, an active advocate for the poor and most marginalized by the mainstream in Lebanese society, and they have two amazing children, Mia and Alexandre, who have more cultural mix in their background than their own parents can keep count of.
Jesse Wheeler Support Instructor / Director of MEI
Jesse Wheeler is Projects Manager for the Institute of Middle East Studies (IMES). In addition to providing critical administrative support for IMES, Jesse directs the Middle East Immersion (MEI Lebanon) summer internship program and serves as managing editor for the IMES blog. In addition to serving as Support Instructor for the MENA History, Politics and Economics module, Jesse facilitates the Induction and Research Methods modules, as well as the Middle East Consultation course for the MRel in MENA Studies program. Jesse holds a Master of Divinity with special emphasis in Islamic Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in History specializing in international and Middle Eastern history with a minor in Political Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jesse, his wife Heidi, and their son Nimer live in Beirut, Lebanon and see it as their personal (as well as institutional) mandate to help bring about positive transformation in the thinking and practice between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East and beyond.
In a prior life, or so it seems, Jesse has ministered to children and youth in both Nazarene and Korean Presbyterian churches, worked as Teaching and Research Assistant for Martin Accad and J. Dudley Woodberry, and served as the Islamic Studies Administrative Coordinator for Fuller Theological Seminary. Jesse has also spent a good deal of time teaching English as a Second Language (currently Introduction to Theological English for ABTS), playing guitar, and watching far more ‘sci-fi’ than is appropriate for a grown adult male. In addition to IMES Lebanon, Jesse blogs at intothenoise.tumblr.com.