The president of an Adventist university in Mexico, Raul Lozano, has accepted the call to head up Pacific Adventist University (PAU) on the outskirts of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
In his acceptance letter to the General Conference, Mr Lozano said he and his family had carefully considered and prayed about the appointment, which he described as a surprise and a great honour. “It is my desire to collaborate with all my strength, influence and speech in the finishing of the preaching of the Gospel so that Jesus our Lord may return soon,” he said in his letter.
Mr Lozano currently heads up Linda Vista University in Chiapas state, Mexico, an Adventist institution that graduates bachelor and masters students in education, business, science, theology and information technology. Mexico is part of the Church’s largest world region by membership, the Inter-American Division, where 3.7 million people are officially listed as Adventists. A move to the South Pacific Division has necessitated the involvement of the General Conference world headquarters.
Mr Lozano is married with three young adult children. The decision to leave the children in Mexico was a difficult one. “However, they supported my wife and me in accepting the call because they share our spiritual commitment,” said Mr Lozano in an email to Record.
“I believe there will be a lot of new things at PAU,” said Mr Lozano. “I especially look forward to meeting the people and coming to know them. Nonetheless, in a sense the people at PNG should be not much different than Mexicans, so I look forward to meeting their needs as the believers and human beings they are.”
Mr Lozano will have big shoes to fill. Outgoing vice-chancellor Professor Ben Thomas has served at PAU for nine years, the last six of those in his current position. In that time student numbers have more than doubled, with 2017 enrolments expected to exceed 1200 at the Koiari Park campus. Professor Thomas has overseen multiple building projects—classrooms and accommodation—as well as formalising links with Atoifi School of Nursing in Solomon Islands and strengthening PAU’s research and pastoral programs.
“It has been a tremendous and rewarding journey that we have undertaken together,” said Professor Thomas. “I am honoured to have been able to work with the people of the Pacific in such close collaboration. PAU’s success over the past six years is a direct result of the strong leadership team that is in place and the tremendous support that is received from the staff, students, and the church community.
“Dr Raul Lozano is expected to arrive at PAU in early February, and I look forward to introducing him to key players in PNG and ensuring a smooth transition.”