Friday, February 8, 2008

President Brenneman to lead delegation to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates


GOSHEN, Ind. – Goshen College President James E. Brenneman will lead Goshen College board members and supporters on a trip to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Feb. 19 to March 5, to foster understanding across cultures and spread the college’s influence in the world.


“This trip promises to be an extraordinary opportunity to build individual and institutional relationships across borders, cultures and religions as delegation members interact with a broad range of Muslim leaders shaping the destinies of their nations,” Brenneman said. “Participants will serve as ambassadors of our college motto, ‘Culture for Service,’ and promote greater understanding of the faith and values of Goshen College and Mennonite Church USA. We also hope to increase Goshen College’s reach and influence in the world.”


President Brenneman’s spouse, Terri Plank Brenneman, will accompany him. Assisting on the trip will be David E. Martin, a 1988 Goshen College alumnus and the founding chief executive officer of M-CAM, Inc. of Charlottesville, Va., along with Vice President for Institutional Advancement William Jones and Director of Major Gifts Jim Caskey.


Brenneman said 16 members of his “President’s Circle,” including Goshen College Board members Virgil Miller, Ervin Bontrager and Faith Penner, will take the trip.


President’s Circle members have invested their time, talent and financial resources to strengthen Goshen College and support its core values, mission and strategic goals. Through their contributions to the college’s Christ-centered academic experience, they have facilitated the preparation of students for successful careers and vocations that allow them to transform lives and change the world. President’s Circle members donate a minimum of $25,000 annually in unrestricted funds for the college to respond to opportunities and to needs as they arise.


“All President’s Circle members are passionate learners and global citizens committed to communicating across boundaries as bridge builders and translators of Goshen College’s faith and values. Some of them also do business with people in the region being visited,” said Jones.


The delegation will leave the United States on Feb. 18, spend two full days in the United Arab Emirates, spend 11 days in Egypt and return to the United States on March 5, Jones said.


The itinerary of the trip, which is still being finalized, is expected to include meetings with religious leaders, elected officials, representatives of international organizations, university professors and peace advocates, and visits to significant business and tourist destinations in the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.


The trip was organized by Martin based on the international business relationships and friendships he developed with two business leaders in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates – Moustapha Ismail Sarhank and Steffen Schubert.


Sarhank is an Egyptian scholar in the interdisciplinary field of leadership, psychology and religion and the honorary chairman of Sarhank Group for Investments, which does business in the United States, the Middle East and Europe. Schubert, a German banker, is a financial expert whose most recent major accomplishment was starting the Dubai International Finance Exchange in the United Arab Emirates.


Starting in April 2007, Goshen College administrators began discussions with Martin, Sarhank and Schubert about the possibility of a President’s Circle trip to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.


Martin, Sarhank and Schubert spoke at Goshen College on Sept. 8, 2007 at a forum organized around the goal of fostering better relationships between the West and the Middle East. About 125 people attended the forum titled “Doing Business in the Muslim World: Are Western Leadership Concepts Appropriate in Islamic Cultures?”


Brenneman said he and all President’s Circle members “share the belief that fostering better relationships between individuals – and countries – in the West and Muslim countries will require setting aside stereotypes and developing a higher level of mutual understanding and trust. We view this trip as part of that process.”


– By Richard Aguirre




Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview with President Brenneman or to request a photo, contact Jodi Beyeler, director of the campus news bureau, at (574) 535-7572 or, or Richard R. Aguirre, director of public relations, at (574) 535-7571 or


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit

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Goshen College
1700 S Main St
Goshen, Indiana 46526
phone: +1 (574) 535-7569
fax: 535-7660