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Meet new Intercultural Studies Professor Dr. Ryan Klejment-Lavin

Dr. Ryan Klejment-Lavin (right) poses with James Thompson (center) and Intercultural Studies Dean Dr. Ed Smither after commencement. Klejment-Lavin served as Thompson's advisor for his online M.A. in Intercultural Studies.

May 28, 2024

After 24 years of service, Dr. David Cashin retired from full-time teaching last spring. Following an extensive search, the Intercultural Studies program invited Dr. Ryan Klejment-Lavin to join them as a new faculty member. Get to know Dr. KL through the Q & A below.

Where did you grow up? How did you come to faith in Christ?

I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. I was brought up in the faith and our family initially attended a Baptist Church and then later a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. I professed faith in Christ at a very young age, but spent a period of rejecting the faith, and then recommitted my life to the Lord in high school. Long story short — God hunted me down.

Tell us about your family.

My wife Carolyn and I met at Houghton University during undergraduate studies. We began dating during a semester in Tanzania and got married three weeks after graduation. We’ve been married for 17 years and have two sons: Noah (10) and Finnian (almost 7).

Where have you served in the world? In what capacity?

We spent a total of 13 years serving in Indonesia and South Korea. In Indonesia we worked with Food for the Hungry, helping to support and facilitate Christian community relief and development projects. In South Korea, we helped found Footstool Missions Center, an organization that focuses on supporting missionaries in the 10/40 Window. I directed Footstool until joining the faculty at CIU. Also, I’ve served short term in a number of places including the Dominican Republic, China, Japan and inner-city Pittsburgh.

What are you teaching at CIU?

At the undergraduate and graduate levels, I teach Discovering the Mission of God, World Religions, Cultures and Worldview, Community Development, and Practical Skills. I also assist the Ph.D. Intercultural Studies program as a research methodologist.

What areas of missions and intercultural studies do you enjoy studying the most?

I really enjoy the mixture of cultural anthropology, religion, and contextualization. I love to learn about new cultures and to learn about new paradigms for understanding how we as humans organize, create, and express ourselves. I also am fascinated by religion as a concept, and religions as specific entities. As a Christian, I look for ways to effectively communicate the gospel in both cultures and religions.  

 What do you consider to be the most critical issue in global missions today?

I believe the global trends in migration and the global refugee crisis are changing the levels of connection between unreached people groups and reached people groups. In the United States, our “Samaria” is expanding, and unreached people groups are coming here. The critical issue for the global church will be how we respond to increasing migration and the refugee crisis.

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