Winter 2003
Volume 7 Number 2
 

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Hispanic Theological Initiative News

This past summer, Latino and Latina theological scholars from the U.S. and Puerto Rico gathered at Princeton Seminary for a workshop and lectureship sponsored by the Hispanic Theological Initiative (HTI). Miguel Diaz, a Cuban American and assistant professor of systematic theology at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida, lectured on Latino/a anthropology and its communal vision of reality. He was also awarded a book prize for his book On Being Human: U.S. Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives.

HTI director Joanne Rodriguez, right, with dissertation-year awardee Hjamil Martinez Vazquez

During the four-day workshop, HTI celebrated the opening of a new dissertation series at the Seminary’s Speer Library. Doctoral dissertations written by graduates of the HTI scholars program will be cataloged in the series, which librarian Steve Crocco says will bring new patrons to the library. “A great library is made up of interesting collections and interesting patrons, and we’re excited about both coming to our library,” he said.

Zaida Maldonado Pérez, formerly director of HTI and now on the faculty of Asbury Theological Seminary, told guests that the North American Latino/a community is “at an important crossroads. The growth rate projects Latinos/as as the most numerous minority in the United States in the next few decades. And at the very core of life in Latino/a communities stands the religious community, which for a majority of Latinos/as provides meaning, hope, and cultural identity.”

HTI’s mission is to train scholars and teachers to sustain that community, and, according to Maldonado Pérez, the number of such religious leaders is negligible at U.S. seminaries and universities today.

Joanne Rodriguez, a graduate of Princeton Seminary, succeeded Maldonado Pérez as director of HTI in June.

HTI also jointly sponsors an annual lectureship with Princeton Seminary. This year’s lecture was given on December 3 by Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, assistant professor of religious education at the Claremont School of Theology and this year’s HTI dissertation award winner .

HTI is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and has been housed at Princeton Seminary since 1999.


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