On 29th of May 2015, at a colorful gathering in Dubai, attended by over 1000 guests, the Middle East & South Asia Graduate School of Theology , MESA_GST, formally launched its affiliation with International Institute of Theological Studies-: IITS, UAE , founded in 1990, thus creating a historic opportunity for Christian Leaders in the Gulf to continue with their graduate studies while remaining in their normal employment.
With effect from 30 May 2015, the first two-year programme on Pastoral Psychology and Counseling programme was launched. This would continue with classroom lectures each month during the last week of the month plus ongoing assignments, tutorials and research monitored live via an e-portal. This programme is headed by Prof.Lakshman Madurasinghe , the Founder of IITS and Director of Studies Middle East.
The programme contains the following: Mandatory and Specialized modules to help build competent. Committed Christian Leaders to serve the growing needs of the church.
Introduction to Psychology and Counselling ; Ethical framework in Counseling ; Mental health and Psychopathology- DSM IV and ICD 10; Advanced Counselling skills ; Neuropsychological fundamentals for Counsellors; Church Leadership and Industrial Psychology ; Crisis and Grief Counselling; Pre-Marital and Marital Counselling; Ministering to the depressed $ sick person; Nutrition and Clinical Psychology; Forensic Psychology & Criminology ( Prison Counselling); Spiritual oppression and prayer ministry.
The special delegation that visited Dubai for the grand opening that coincided with Pastor.Ashish Thomas’s 50th birthday celebrations ( Senior Pastor of Dubai City Church) , comprised the following Members of MESA-GST Senate. His Eminence Dr.Gunasekeran Samuel, Anglican Archbishop of South India; Prof.Lakshman Madurasinghe , Member of Senate and Director of studies for Middle East and VP of The Neuroscience Research Centre Sri Lanka; Dr. David Balasingh, Member of Senate and Academic Director , MESA-GST, South Asian Missions Impetus ; Dr.Sam Thevabalasingham, Member of Senate , Chairman Every Home Crusade and Director Direction magazine.
Pastor.Ashish was also conferred with a Doctor of Divinity degree (Honoris Causa) for his contribution to Theological education and Church mission in the region.